… and some resources to help find the answers!
As the New Year begins, we all start thinking about goals for the year ahead. Young adults start making plans for after high school. Should they go on for more education? What options are close to home? Or, are they ready to move farther away from home? These questions can be challenging for all students, including those with diverse abilities.
The good news is, higher education choices are growing for transition students. Over the past decade, colleges have worked hard to become more inclusive. Many schools have made traditional classrooms more accessible with support services to help students with disabilities succeed, and stay engaged socially too.
Still, it takes time, research and conversation to find the best college match. It’s never too early for students and their families to start looking around and thinking about it. When a student is ready to start exploring, he or she will have a lot of questions.
Here are a few questions to get the conversation started, along with links to helpful resources to guide your decisions:
Why should I think about going to college?
Check out this documentary video trailer from ThinkCollege.net. This film shows how colleges are becoming more inclusive, and are recognizing what people of diverse abilities can bring to the campus.
Does my IEP and 504 Plan apply to college like it does in high school?
The short answer is no. IEPs and 504 Plans do not travel with a student from high school to college. However, laws still protect students from discrimination, and colleges must offer accommodations when they are needed. Learn more about the differences between high school and college accommodations at Understood.org, or on ThinkCollege.net.
My family is worried about how to help me through college. What do they need to know?
All parents worry when their kids move on from high school – especially after being very involved for so many years. This open letter from one mom offers some really helpful advice. And, here are some smart suggestions for how parents can help transition students, from PACER.org.
I want to stay close to home. Does COCC support students with disabilities?
At Central Oregon Community College, the office of Services for Students with Disabilities helps make college accessible to everyone. They offer help with anything from technology to bus shuttles. Ready to check it out in person? Call 541-383-7583 to make an appointment.
I’m ready to experience college farther from home. Where can I find the best options?
One great place to start is at the University of Oregon’s Accessible Education Center (ACE) in Eugene. They’ll guide you through services for learning, technology, and navigating campus. Interested in looking beyond Oregon? Here’s a list of top colleges nation-wide known for special needs accessibility.
How can I get help paying for college?
Every future college student worries about tuition and other costs. There are financial aid opportunities and scholarships aimed at helping students with disabilities. Goodcall.com offers a basic overview of paying for college, with many links to scholarship opportunities. AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org lists more opportunities, and explains different loan options too.
What’s the most important skill I need to succeed in college?
Experts agree that learning to self-advocate is the number one skill for success. Self-advocating means taking charge of your education, and making sure you get the services you need. How can you practice self-advocacy? By making phone calls and scheduling appointments for yourself. Self-advocacy also means talking to teachers and advisors, and asking questions. Advocating for yourself can be a challenge, but it’s an important part of succeeding in college!