The transition to college involves many steps, from learning about what is involved in the application process to selecting a school to making the actual move itself. We offer these guidelines to provide a framework for some of the steps.
Research Requirements for College
While the requirements for each college are a bit different, the following should be considered:
- Which courses are required for graduation from the student's high school? Are any additional courses required by a particular college?
- When are SATs or Accuplacer offered?
Visit College Campuses
- Make a list of the colleges and universities that you're interested in.
- Visit the campus of the schools you're most interested in and schedule tours and interviews for when you're there.
- Talk to current students at the colleges you're interested in and find out what they have to say. If possible, plan to spend the night in the dorm to get the full experience.
- There are many factors in choosing colleges, including location, curriculum, living arrangements, extracurricular activities, and disability support services. Think about what's most important to you and plan accordingly.
Prepare in High School
- Participate in a college course during high school, if you can. This will help you to learn more about the expectations in college, while also giving you a bit of a headstart. It is also a great thing to be able to share during your interview or on your application!
- Try to develop a well-rounded experience in high school, so that in addition to your grades, you have done some volunteer or paid work, participated in clubs or afterschool activities, and demonstrated leadership or civic awareness.
Develop Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination Skills
- Know what accommodations you need and be able to articulate them to others.
- Open the communication channels with your professors, as well as the Disability Resource Center on campus. It's better to have your supports in place BEFORE you need them, rather than waiting for a crisis.
Learn About the Financial Aspects of Higher Education
- Find our what scholarships and grants are available for students who are blind or visually impaired, both through the college and through other sources. There are a number of online resources with information about this. Click here to learn more.
Contact Rehabilitation Agencies
- Your VR (Vocational Rehabilitation) counselor may be able to help to provide some assistance, either with funding or with recommendations of other available resources.
Learn What Resources Will Be Available on Campus
- Is there a Disability Resources Center? If so, what services do they provide?
Navigating the Campus
- Identify the key locations on campus, such as the cafeteria, dorm, and classrooms.
- Spend time with an Orientation and Mobility instructor well before the start of the school year to be sure that you're comfortable wth the routes. You'll have plenty of other things to be thinking about once classes start, so being comfortable traveling independently on campus will be very helpful.
Enjoy the experience and don't be afraid to ask for whatever help or support you need!