Preparing for College
Research demonstrates that people with disabilities believe that postsecondary education is a means to enhance their chances of:
- Obtaining and maintaining employment,
- Earning a higher annual income, and
- Creating a pathway to lifelong independence and a greater quality of life.
Preparing for College
Students with disabilities share many of the same decisions and preparations for college as all students who are considering higher education. Every student needs to consider the size and location of the college, the programs and majors available, extracurricular offerings, the diversity of students, and the availability of scholarships or financial aid. However, students with disabilities must consider other specific areas when determining an appropriate college or university program. Some of these include the availability of support services, campus accessibility, and documentation requirements to obtain services.
Preparation for postsecondary education includes learning the skills necessary to deal with both the academic and social challenges presented by college. Educators, families, and students may assume that if a student with a disability is academically capable of participating in postsecondary education, then further preparation for college is not needed...Unfortunately, without effective planning and preparation, students with disabilities can feel overwhelmed and unable to adapt to a postsecondary environment. Therefore, the transition to college must begin early in their education experience. Activities in middle school could include taking demanding courses in English, math, science, history, or foreign language; learning about high school programs that will help a student pursue academic and career interests; and working on developing strong study skills and learning strategies.
Understanding the Demands of College
Secondary students with disabilities seeking a college education (whether in a 2- or 4-year setting) become fully responsible for managing their college career once they are accepted into a program. In postsecondary environments there are:
- fewer contacts with instructors,
- expectations of higher levels of academic capability,
- fewer tests covering a larger amount of material,
- changes in the support systems that students previously had in high school,
- higher expectations to achieve independently, and
- changes in social and independent living demands...The reality of this level of responsibility is often not fully realized until the student is in college. However, the more informed a student is about the demands of college, the smoother the transition will be from secondary to postsecondary education.