College Prep for Students With Disabilities
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 95% of students with disabilities (ages 6 to 21) attended traditional school in 2007.
To be considered disabled under the American with Disabilities Act, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- You must have a physical or mental impairment that "substantially limits one or more major life activities," such as seeing, hearing, walking, learning, and others.
- You must have a history of such impairment.
- Others must perceive that you have such impairment.
As a student with disabilities, you have a legal right to free public education (up until high school) that meets your individual needs. Above the high school level, a school is only required to be accessible and to provide reasonable accommodation (through additional programs or services).
Students with disabilities who are interested in going to college should keep the following in mind:
- Schools cannot discriminate on the basis of disability, so don't let your disability discourage you from applying.
- Schools must accommodate your disability at no additional cost to you.
- Scholarships and grants for students with disabilities can help pay educational costs. Find out what's available.
The College Outlook
Contact the schools you're interested in applying to:
- Ask about the programs they offer for students with disabilities.
- Schedule a school visit, so you can drop by the office dedicated to disability services, meet with the staff, and get answers to your questions.
Let each school know about your special needs when you submit your application. Don't be alarmed if the school asks you to supply records about your disability. The school will need to make appropriate arrangements before you arrive on campus.
Depending on your disability, "reasonable accommodation" may include a reduced workload, a flexible or limited schedule, skilled instructors, or other assistance, such as Braille textbooks or note-taking services.
Want to Know More?
- Understand your rights and responsibilities as a student with disabilities.