How to Get Started for Students

Set up Interpreter and CART services:

The first step is to set up an initial intake meeting with the Coordinator of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. This meeting can be live, Skype, video, or relay call.

Please create a student portal and complete your intake form in advance of the meeting:

Boston University ODS Initial Request for Accommodations

Email to set up this appointment.

Once you have been approved for accommodations, a formal letter is sent to your Academic Dean. Your Dean will review the accommodations to make sure all fit within the academic standards of your school. Once they approve this accommodation, in most cases, you are all set until graduation.


If possible, please upload your most current documentation to your student portal.

  • Any of the following are acceptable:
  • An audiogram
  • Clinical summary from your physician
  • 504 plan/IEP can be helpful in coordinating services most appropriate for your needs.

If you are requesting accommodations beyond Interpreter or CART services, please see our documentation guidelines.

Help us get to know you!

To help us locate the best interpreting team, you can choose to submit a short introduction video in your primary language.

If you want to do this, please:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Tell us what you are studying
  • What you most look for in your interpreting team
  • What does not work well for you in terms of communication styles
  • You can send this video through your MyMedia account or an unlisted video hosting platform (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo…) or as an mp4 file to

Priority of Requests:

We do our best to fill all requests for services.  That said, priority of requests is given to academic commitments of a student.  The following criteria are used to determine all requests:

  • Classroom instruction/presentation
  • Required class group activity outside the classroom
  • Other academic needs; meetings with faculty, tutoring, etc
  • Other university programming

Semester Classroom Requests:

Before the start of each semester, please log into your ODS Student portal and select “semester request” to renew your services.  We do not begin booking providers until your semester request is provided.

You can renew your accommodations and services for the following semester as soon as you have registered for classes by opening your student portal and clicking on your “semester request”.

If you would like to request new or additional accommodations, you can also do this through the portal.  You will need to meet to discuss your new request.

Modify or add accommodations

If you would like to modify or add accommodations, please log into your student portal and select “Additional Accommodation Request” and follow the directions listed.

Event and Meeting Requests:

ODS can also cover your needs for one time events, such as appointments at BU Student Health Services, meetings with a professor, a BU show or performance, and/or class presentations.  Please email your request to: as early as possible, ideally two weeks

Please write “One-time request” in the subject line.

Provide as much detail as possible:

  • Who is the meeting with?
  • What is the meeting for?
  • How many consumers will be present?
  • When, dates and time?
  • Where is the meeting or event


Once your accommodations have been approved, in most cases, you are approved until you graduate.

  • Registering:  Please let us know as soon as you register for classes so we can start seeking and booking your providers.
  • Last-minute requests cannot be guaranteed, but we will try our best to fill each need.  
    • Please note: Sometimes, even with advanced notice, an appropriate team might not be found.  We will let you know at least 72 hours in advance if we are unable to secure a team.  
  • If you are absent, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can inform the providers in advance.
  • Communication with providers:  We expect you to have ongoing communication with your providers. Please exchange contact information and communicate directly about classroom needs, scheduling, etc.  If a conflict arises, we expect you to first try to resolve things together.  Feel free to bring us into the loop should those attempts prove unsatisfactory, or if there are other ways we can support you. 
  • Classroom Communication: Please connect with your professors before the first class to discuss any pertinent information related to working with interpreters/CART providers.  We will also send your professors information ahead of time, which you are welcome to read.

Suspension of Service

Suspension of services may result from behavior exhibited by the student that seems contrary to the need for services. This includes, but is not limited to: inappropriate behavior towards interpreters, continued absences from class, or disregard of the conditions agreed to upon initiation of services. Prior to the suspension of services, the Coordinator will provide written notification to a student of the suspension, outlining the reasons for suspension and the conditions required for reinstatement of services.  The following are conditions which may lead to suspension of services:

  • If a student misses three (3) consecutive class meeting times without at least 1 hour prior notice for each instance.
  • If a student is attending a class for less than half of the regularly scheduled sessions during no less than four consecutive weeks, regardless of notification of missed classes.
  • If a student does not abide by the agreed-upon policies and procedures for interpreting services established by ODS.

If a student engages in substantiated abusive behavior, physical or verbal, towards any interpreter. Such behavior will be considered in violation of the university policy and may be subject to disciplinary action by the university.

Provider changes and Feedback:

Assignment/Reassignment of Interpreters

The Coordinator assigns interpreters to academic courses based on the needs of the student and the availability,  background, and experience of specific interpreters. Most classes and events are team-interpreted to provide adequate support and coverage of the class/event and to avoid work-related injuries for interpreters.

The assignment of interpreters takes into consideration the following:

  • the academic background or experience of the interpreter,
  • the specific communication needs of the student/participant,
  • the purpose of the assignment (academic vs other),
  • course/presentation content and difficulty,
  • the availability of an interpreter for a particular course/event.

Specific student preferences will be considered when there is a compelling reason for the preference.  For example, an interpreter with past experience interpreting in a similar complex course may be more familiar with the language needed and therefore have be preferable.  However, there is no guarantee that a student will be assigned any specific interpreter for any particular class or activity.

Modification:  Students are able to update their preferred providers list. This can be done at any time by emailing your request to or by setting up a time to meet with the Coordinator.

ODS values transparency, so it’s important that you provide us with as much feedback as possible to help us understand what is going well and what might need to change.  Feel free to use our provider feedback form as well!

Conflict:  From time-to-time, conflicts or concerns may arise with your providers. We encourage you to reach out to your provider and express your concerns directly to them. Sometimes it may be as simple as asking them to articulate differently or to sign faster.  Our pool of providers are highly qualified professionals who have vast experience working in higher education settings. We find most issues can be easily resolved with direct, transparent communication.

If you need support after meeting with your providers(s), please reach out to us and let us know how we can best support you. We foster open communication and want you to ensure that you are receiving the best services possible.   

We welcome feedback regarding what is working well for you.

To help us better understand your thoughts, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to fill out this Provider Feedback Form.  You can also email us at to set up a time to come in. We look forward to hearing from you!

Removal and reassignment:

Removal of an interpreter is taken very seriously and is not common.  Requests for reassignment may be made by either the student or interpreter. Reasons for reassignment might include:

  • interpreter’s knowledge base/experience with subject
  • student tardiness, excessive absence
  • unwillingness to communicate (either student or provider)
  • difficulty of subject matter
  • breach of ethics
  • objectionable behavior (student or provider)
  • unresolved personal conflicts between the student and interpreter.
  • students’ lack of ASL fluency

Requests for, and ultimate, reassignment on behalf of interpreters or students must be made to the Coordinator ( in consultation with the Associate Director (

Employee/Guest Consumer

Boston University provides communication access and other reasonable accommodations for Faculty, Staff, and Guests.  


  • Employees should first contact the EO Office to formally request accommodations.  Please review the reasonable accommodation process:
  • Once approved, please contact the Coordinator of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services to discuss your needs and communication preferences. Please use the subject line “Faculty/Staff Request”

Please email your requests as early as possible, ideally 10 business days in advance, and provide as much detail as possible:

  • Is this a meeting or course?
  • How many people will attend?
  • How many consumers do you anticipate?
  • What is the topic of the meeting or course?
  • When is the meeting or course (dates, time, frequency)?
  • Where is the meeting or course?


  • Guests should contact, please use the subject line, “Guest Request”

Please email your requests as early as possible, ideally 10 business days in advance, and provide as much detail as possible:

  • Who is the meeting with?
  • What is the meeting for?
  • How many consumers will be present?
  • When is the meeting (date and time)?
  • Where is the meeting or event?