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Preparing for the College Transition

Welcome to Delaware State University! Whether you are a current or recently graduated high school student preparing for college or are the parent or guardian of a high school student, you know that finding a college or university that is an overall good fit is essential to success.

The next four years are going to shape you (or your student) in ways you may have never known. Students will be challenged academically and receive transferrable skills that will make them successful for the day after graduation. Deciding on the best college or university can be daunting for any student. Students with disabilities have additional factors to consider when searching for the right “fit” for their higher education experience.

Students – Following the steps and strategies below can help set you up for success in college.

  1. If you do not already, work to understand your diagnosis/impairment and areas where you experience barriers to success. Your parent or guardian, high school guidance counselor, and/or teachers are a great resource for you as they have worked alongside you and can share a unique perspective.
  2. When touring college campuses, ask about the Disability Office (where it’s located, hours). Remember: How the tour guide speaks of the office and supports the needs of students speaks volumes!
    • Look for the different tutoring options that the university offers. Be sure to learn about their hours, services, and even online tutoring options!
  3. Look for colleges that tick all the boxes! For example, does the college or university
    • Have your desired major?
    • Offer the type of extra-curricular activities you are interested in? (e.g. sports, clubs, Greek life)
    • Have a good reputation for supporting students? (e.g. tutoring options, counseling center, professional development options)
    • Offer an environment that is inclusive and diverse?
    • Have a Disabilities Office that you feel confident will work with you to identify and eliminate barriers to access?
  4. Get to know the Disability Support Services office early. If possible, connect with them before the semester starts, learn about the services that they provide, and be involved!
    • In the college setting, it is the student’s responsibility to register or request services.
  5. Practice being an expert on YOU!
    • Make sure you understand your disability. Be aware of academic and/or residential environments that have caused barriers for access. Think about accommodations that you feel would give you equal access.
    • Practice having conversations about what it is like to be you as a learner.
    • Remember that you are the adult in a college setting. College is a time where most* responsibilities fall to you. Ask for advice early and often but remember you get to make the decisions.
    • Although a parent or guardian may have been involved before in the IEP/ 504 meetings within the K-12 setting, in college it is important that you be the person to request your own accommodations. If you would like a parent or guardian to come to a meeting with you that is completely your choice.
  6. Identify your support system. Every student, regardless of disability status, needs a support system while they are navigating college for the first time. This could include a parent(s) or guardian, previous teachers, family members, friends, mentors, college administrators, counselors, etc. Once you identify them – use them!