Academic Support

Disability Services

Transitioning to College

Transition from High School to College while still in High School

A. Find out about your disability

  1. Talk with your parents and high school special education teacher/guidance counselor to learn about your (specific) disability.
  2. Participate in Disability Awareness Training which includes information on the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (special education teacher, Developmental Disabilities Council, disability specific support groups, higher education disability support offices).
  3. Go to the library or access the Internet and obtain information about your disability.
  4. Talk to your parents and teachers about how your disability affects your future education and employment opportunities.
  5. Discuss the availability of community resources with your high school special education teacher and guidance counselor.

B. Actively participate in all transition related meetings (e.g., IEP, 504, IWRP, vocational assessment)

  1. Participate in Self-Advocacy Training (special education teacher, Developmental Disabilities Council, disability specific support groups, higher education disability support offices).
  2. Gain knowledge of due process procedures.
  3. Learn how to express your current and future needs, interests, and preferences.
  4. Realize it is okay to ask questions about anything you don't understand.

C. Prepare for the college entrance examination

  1. Determine which entrance exam is required for admission to the college of your choice. Get assistance from special education teachers, parents, regular education teachers and high school counselors.
  2. Study for your college entrance exam by enrolling in exam prep programs (e.g., ACT prep courses through the education cooperatives), accessing study guides, watching video tapes and working with computer programs.
  3. Pick up a test packet from your high school counselor's office and complete it.
  4. See the school district test coordinator and complete a request for accommodation form.
  5. Begin taking exams your junior year. This gives you time to retake exams as many times as necessary if you are not satisfied with your scores.

D. Develop a personal information file which contains:

  1. Copy of current information:
    1. Current school records
    2. Medical records
    3. Immunization records
    4. Social Security Card
    5. Psychological records
    6. Birth Certificate
    7. Copy of current IEP or 504 plan
    8. Copy of transcript
    9. Academic testing results
    10. Other information related to your disability
    11. Letters of acceptance from the school
    12. Any other information you think you might need
  2. Make sure that you make and keep copies of everything you send and receive and organize them so you can find the information easily.

E. Contact Kansas Rehabilitation Services to learn if you're eligible for services

  1. Talk to people who have received services from Kansas SRS (Kansas Vocational Rehabilitation Services).
  2. Contact agencies that could provide you with information related to receiving services from Vocational Rehabilitation and other organizations.
  3. Make an appointment with an SRS Vocational Rehabilitation counselor to determine if they can provide you with services.
  4. According to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended in 1992, SRS may provide the following support if you meet their employment-related eligibility requirements.
    1. An assessment for determining eligibility and your vocational rehabilitation needs.
    2. Counseling, guidance, and work-related placement: including job search and placement assistance, personal assistance services, etc.
    3. Vocational and other training that improves employability which may include payment for tuition, books, and any other training materials.
    4. Physical and mental restoration services including: corrective surgeries or therapies needed to correct or significantly modify a condition; hospitalization related to surgery or therapy; prosthetic and orthopedic devices; eyeglasses; special services (including transplantation and dialysis) and supplies necessary to treat stage renal disease; and diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.
    5. Assistance with paying costs incurred while taking part in a rehabilitation program.
    6. Interpreter and reader services.
    7. Recruitment and training services that will provide new employment opportunities.
    8. Rehabilitation teaching services & orientation and mobility services for persons who are blind.
    9. Occupational licenses, tools, equipment, and initial stocks and supplies.
    10. Transportation services directly related to receiving vocational services.
    11. Telecommunications, sensory, and other aids and devices.
    12. Rehabilitation technology services.
    13. Referral to other agencies as needed.
    14. Transition services that promote the accomplishment of intermediate objectives and long-term rehabilitation goals.
    15. On-the-job or other personal assistance services provided while the person is receiving services from Arkansas Rehabilitation Services.
    16. Supported employment services.

Please note: A complete copy of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act with the most current amendments should be available from your local Kansas SRS Office.

F. Apply for financial assistance

  1. Pick up a financial aid packet from your high school counselor's office.
  2. Complete the application, following instructions included in the packet. Mail as early in the spring semester of your senior year as possible.
  3. Request scholarship information from your high school guidance counselor.
  4. Request information on private scholarships through the college(s) you are interested in attending.
  5. Contact local service clubs and other organizations to see if they are awarding any scholarships.
  6. Contact state and national disability organizations.
  7. Search the local library and Internet for information on scholarships.

G. Select and plan educational choices

  1. Select the college(s) you are interested in attending and plan a visit.
  2. Investigate what services each college could provide through their disability services office or other office that handles disability accommodation.
  3. If the school you are interested in attending does not have a clearly designated office to serve students with disabilities you will need to request the name of the program or staff person who has the responsibility for accommodating students with disabilities on that campus. You can start this process by requesting the name of the ADA coordinator for that school. Every postsecondary institution is required by law to appoint an ADA coordinator.
  4. Based on your investigation, pick the college(s) you feel have academic programs that match your interests and that will provide you the support services you need to be successful in college.
  5. Request an application from the college(s) you are interested in or check to see if there is an online application.
  6. Fill out the forms and send them in or apply online.
  7. Have transcripts and other documents specified on the application sent to the Cowley College Admissions office.

Congratulations! You have picked a college and have been accepted! Now what?

A. Register with their disability support office or other office that handles disability accommodation

  1. Make an appointment to meet with a staff person.
  2. Provide documentation of disability. Make certain it is not over 3-5 years old for disabilities that are not clearly visible or that can change over time.
  3. Help decide what accommodations you will need (i.e. reader, note taker, books on tape, interpreter, assistive listening devices, etc.)

B. Make sure you have transportation

  1. How are you going to get to school? Is it reliable?
  2. Have a back-up plan for emergencies.
  3. Consider living on or near campus.
  4. Is public transportation accessible? How do these schedules fit with your classes?

C. Other supports not provided by the school

  1. Do you need personal assistant? Who will provide these services and how will they affect your schedule?
  2. Develop a back-up plan for times when your regular assistant is unavailable.
  3. Develop a contact list for such things as equipment repairs, interpreters for non-school activities, medical services, etc.

D. Register for classes

  1. Meet with an academic advisor to decide what classes you need to take.
  2. When planning your schedule make certain you will be able to get to class on time in the mornings if you receive personal assistant services. Provide yourself with enough time to get from class to class throughout the day.
  3. Plan for breaks if there are disability-related issues that will need to be handled during your school day.
  4. Register as early as possible if you need books on tape or interpreters.

E. Find your classes and make sure they are accessible to you

  1. Go to each classroom you will be in and see if it has the things you will need (i.e. tables, wheelchair access, etc.).
  2. If there is a problem with any classroom go to the disability support office and report the problem.

F. Obtain accessible text and materials for classes

  1. If you know you are going to need your books and materials in an alternate format request this as early as possible with the disability support office. This will help ensure that you will have your materials when you need them.
  2. Make sure you request the other services you may need for the class (i.e. note takers, tape recorder, interpreter, readers, etc.).

G. If problems arise

  1. If you have trouble with a course, teacher, or accommodation you should go immediately to the disability support office (or other designated office) to report it and to request assistance in getting the problem resolved.
  2. Learn about all the services that are on your campus that might be able to provide you with assistance (e.g., disability support office, tutoring services, writing lab, computer lab, counseling center, etc.).