Transitioning to College
Transitioning to college can be a huge change on many levels. Food, friends and family are just the beginning of the differences. Likely you had many systems in place which helped you become the success that you are. Maybe you had weekly therapy appointments, a specific way of preparing food, defined sleep schedules, tutors, school day schedules or medication refills that were all perfectly orchestrated to keep you on track. Maybe your dad woke you up each day or your academic counselor went over all of your assignments with you each day. It’s important to think about what worked at home and set up as many similar supports here in Boston to keep yourself on track.
Consider in detail the following areas of focus for transitioning from high school to post-secondary education for students with disabilities ( sourced from the Transition of Students With Disabilities
To Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators U.S. Department of Education
Keys to Success: Attitude, Self-Advocacy And Preparation
The attitude and self-advocacy skills of students with disabilities may be two of the most important factors in determining their success or failure in postsecondary education. Students with disabilities need to be prepared to work collaboratively with the institution’s disability coordinator to enable them to have an equal opportunity to participate in an institution’s programs and activities. To ensure that students with disabilities possess the desired levels of self-advocacy to succeed in postsecondary education, [parents and guardioans] may want to encourage students to:
Understand their disabilities. Students with disabilities need to know the functional limitations that result from their disabilities and understand their strengths and weaknesses. They should be able to explain their disabilities to an institution’s disability coordinators or other appropriate staff. As part of this process, students should be able to explain where they have had difficulty in the past, as well as what has helped them overcome such problems and what specific adjustments might work in specific situations. To assist students in this area, high school educators can encourage high school students to be active participants in their IEP or Section 504 meetings.. practice explaining their disabilities, as well as why they need certain services, to appropriate secondary staff or through role-playing exercises to prepare them to engage in such conversations with confidence in a postsecondary setting.
Accept responsibility for their own success. All students, including those with disabilities, must take primary responsibility for their success or failure in postsecondary education. Students with disabilities, in particular, are moving from a system where parents and school staff usually advocated on their behalf to a system where they will be expected to advocate for themselves. An institution’s staff will likely communicate directly with students when issues arise and are generally not required to interact with students’ parents. In general, students with disabilities should expect to complete all course requirements, such as assignments and examinations. Students with disabilities need to identify the essential academic and technical standards that they will be required to meet for admission and continued participation in an institution’s program. Students also need to identify any academic adjustments they may need as a result of their disabilities to meet those standards and how to request those adjustments. Students with disabilities need to understand that, while federal disability laws guarantee them an equal opportunity to participate these laws do not guarantee that students will achieve a particular outcome, for example, good grades.
Learn time management skills. Although a primary role of high school educators is to provide monitoring, direction and guidance to students as they approach the end of their high school career, staff also need to prepare students to act independently and to manage their own time with little to no supervision. High school educators can assist students by identifying resources that will help them learn time management and scheduling skills.
Acquire computer skills. Because postsecondary students use computers to complete a multitude of tasks, from registering for classes to accessing course material and obtaining grades, it is essential that students learn to use computers if they are to be prepared for postsecondary education. Ideally, students with disabilities need to start using computers as early as possible in school to increase their familiarity with, and their comfort level in using, computers. Students with visual impairments, hearing impairments, learning disabilities or mobility impairments may have problems with inputting data or reading a computer monitor. Assistive technology can help certain students with disabilities use computers and access information.
Get involved on campus. To help students avoid the isolation that can occur away from home during the first year of postsecondary education, high school educators should encourage students to live on campus and to become involved in campus activities. Attendance at orientation programs for freshmen is a good first step in discovering ways to get involved in the postsecondary education environment.