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High School Accommodations to College

You did it! Congrats on graduating high school and being accepted to college. Whether you are beginning a 2-year program or a 4-year program this is an exciting time. All of this excitement is sure to be followed with a little bit of uncertainty. This feeling of anxiety and uncertainty is completely normal. Everyone who is going into college has these feelings (even if they don’t admit it)!

Whether your anxiety is through the roof or you are feeling overall at ease, here are some things you should know about accessing accommodations in higher education. 

  1. If you had an IEP or 504 plan in high school, you are eligible to apply for the same or similar accommodations in college. Some accommodations from high school may not be possible or applicable on a college campus, but there are also accommodations that were not needed in high school (examples: single room, ability to register early to have space in between classes to account for extra times on tests etc.)  These accommodations will not automatically transfer over from your IEP or 504 plan and require an application through the disability services office at your college. There are many students who utilize the disability services office on a college campus and often there is a lengthy processing time. For this reason, as soon as you know what school you will be attending, make an appointment, or call to speak with someone in the office on how to begin your application. Many applications will require documentation from a medical professional, so it is important to leave ample time for this process. You may also want to reach out to your high school counselor, special education teacher, or another 504/IEP team member for documentation or assistance.

  2. After you have been approved, ask an employee in the disability services office, what the procedure is for notifying your professors of your approved accommodations. Please be aware that, if you have been approved for accommodations, it is unlawful for a professor to deny your accommodations or to ask you to disclose your disability. Click here to read more about your rights in higher education on  If you feel like your rights have been violated then we encourage you to reach out to the disability services office or to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice or with the Office of Civil Rights

  3. Unlike in high school, if you want to use your accommodations, you have to talk with your professor and disclose that you are a student who is associated with disability services. You do not have to disclose your diagnosis but the professor needs to have an understanding of your approved accommodations. Again, it is important that you follow all of the protocols from your institution’s disability services office.

While this is not an extensive list of how to prepare for your higher education experience, this is a great starting point for those wanting to transition their high school accommodations to college. This is also a great way to begin to feel prepared and to have a support team waiting for you once you arrive on campus. If you have questions or concerns about accommodations in higher education, college life, or navigating the social world of college, then click here to book a consultation with clinician, Danielle Feerst, OTR/L. In addition, you can connect with us on our Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Written by Madison Gies, Summer 2020 Intern

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