Transition to Postsecondary Education

An Open Letter to Parents of Students with Disabilities About to Enter College

Jane Jarrow is the president of Disability Access Information and Support (DAIS), an important resource to the higher education community. Jane has over 30 years of experience and is a leader in the field of disability and higher education. She is actively involved in presenting and training professionals on matters specific to individuals with disabilities and postsecondary education. 

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know your Rights and Responsibilities

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has developed several online resources to assist students and high school educators in understanding their rights and responsibilities as it pertains to higher education. This resource is geared for college-bound students. A few key points from this link focus on: differences between high school and college in regard to the law; example of academic accommodations; disability documentation typically requested; and discrimination policy. While this website has been created for students to understand their rights and responsibilities as a college-bound student, parents may find the information beneficial.

Helping Students with Disabilities Successfully Transition to College

Elizabeth Hamblet, a learning specialist at Columbia University (NY) has many years of experience working with students with disabilities transition to college; she has worked at the high school level and at other higher education institutions.  On this website viewers can find a wealth of resources such as information for families and students and current college students.

Going to College – A Resource for Teens with Disabilities

This website was created by Virginia Commonwealth University. Going to College is a comprehensive online learning tool that students, who are considering a postsecondary education, can use while they are in high school. High school educators can incorporate this tool into their students’ transition goals on the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Parents or other family members supporting their college-bound student can encourage and talk about many of the activities included in the modules. Going to College is broken into three distinct sections – 1. My Place; 2. Campus Life; 3. Preparing for College. Students can complete various activities and watch videos of college students sharing their experiences as a student with a disability. This website allows students to learn how multi-faceted the college experience can be - from deciding on a college to having the right tools and strategies in place to successfully complete a college education.

Disability Disclosure in an Academic Setting – After High School

This resource offers information to assist individuals with disabilities in making decisions about disclosing their disability to disability services providers and other college faculty/staff members.

Transition Guide - Postsecondary Education and Training

This resource is one of many and is part of the "I'm Determined" Project, a state directed project funded by the Virginia Department of Education, focusing on providing direct instruction, models, and opportunities to practice skills associated with self-determined behavior. This project facilitates youth, especially those with disabilities to undertake a measure of control in their lives, helping to set and steer the course rather than remaining the silent passenger.

Faces of Learning

Faces of Learning is an interactive website students can utilize to gain a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Students will also be able to discover their unique learning style, and as a result, “better ways to work and learn.”

Postsecondary Educational Options – Information Sheet

The Learning Disabilities Association for America (LDA) created an information sheet for individuals interested in exploring their post high school options. Many options for advancement for high school graduates exist besides the traditional college route; several of those options are listed on this website from vocational schools to adult basic education classes.  In addition to the information in this link, visitors to this website can also search for LDA state and local affiliates. 

College – Preparing for College and Succeeding in College

The Washington Do-It site provides useful information on concepts such as Universal Design or examples of possible accommodations for students with various disabilities. Many people – college professors, disability service coordinators, students, parents - can benefit from using the resources available on the University of Washington’s Do-It site. The College Resource section of the website provides information specifically for students on preparing for college and succeeding in college. Like many transition-related websites, high school teachers and parents may encourage their students to take advantage of the tools available on this website. Not only are resources about transitioning from high school to a four-year university or college listed, suggestions on a successful transition from community college to a four-year school is provided. Disability Service providers at the community college could recommend that students connected with their office review this website.

Transitioning to College and/or Work

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) provides an array of resources for children, teenagers and adults with LD. Parent and teacher resources are also included on the website. One section of the website has a page devoted to transitioning to college and/or employment. This page has a list of links that direct users to many topics including different types of colleges; easing the transition to college or work; types of college support services; and a comprehensive checklist to bring along when visiting college.  Students, parents and high school teachers would benefit from accessing many, if not all, of the links on this page. While NCLD’s emphasis is tailored to individuals with LD, the links on this page in particular could assist students with other disabilities.

Navigating College – Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Navigating College is a project of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.  This book (created by people with Autism) provides new or incoming college students, particularly with an Autism Spectrum Disorder insight from individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders who have been to college.