Navigating College with a Disability
Even with protocols in place, students with disabilities often have challenges in school. When it’s time for college, they may feel as if things won’t go well. That’s not necessarily true. According to a report by the National Center for Special Education, only 34% of college students with disabilities complete four years of college. Although students with disabilities may have to work a little harder, they can excel. It takes a little research and figuring things out, but with a little faith, all things are possible. Here are a few tips:
Everything starts with choosing the right college. While cost plays a major role, it’s important to know which colleges and universities make special efforts to accommodate students with disabilities. Know their track record. Anything can look good on a brochure or website – it’s important to go and look at the school to see the steps they have taken to make it inclusive. If possible, speak to other students with disabilities on campus to see how they have adjusted and their experiences while on campus.
- Disclosing your status
The school can’t make adjustments or accommodations if they don’t even know about the disability. Each student’s needs are unique, so the administration must have time to put the necessary protocols in place. Most campuses have an entire department dedicated to ensuring students with disabilities are not only treated fairly but have all the tools and aids needed to succeed. Scheduling a meeting with the disabilities department can help put things in motion where there won’t be any lapse in services.
It’s no secret college is expensive and students with disabilities may have additional expenses. Fortunately, there are tons of scholarships and grants available to help offset these costs. Depending on the type of disability, Medicaid or another government program may be available to help pay for school. The student disability office should have additional information and resources to help find funding.
One of the greatest things about life is opportunity. On campus, there are various organizations and activities available that offer social interaction for students with disabilities. This helps with the transition to life as a college student and in making new friends. Knowing there are organizations and clubs that have students who face similar challenges can be comforting.
Will navigating college with a disability be challenging? It may have a few additional curves along the path, but with the right support and resources, students with disabilities can have the same enriched college experience as any other student.