Post High School Transition

It is important to note that when applying to college, students with disabilities who carry either an IEP (Individual Educational Plan) or 504 Plan are generally reviewed under the same admissions criteria as other applicants. Disability offices or support services are separate and distinct from admissions unless specifically noted. Colleges and universities offer a wide variety of support levels for students, with costs that vary as well. Similar to other special interest areas, in addition to researching the general academic program, students with disabilities must investigate each individual college for their support services program to determine eligibility and personal fit.  

Other important points to be aware of:

  • A student may not receive the same accommodations in college as he/she received in high school. High schools are governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), while colleges are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.)   It is up to the individual college or university to determine a student’s accommodations. 
  • Students with disabilities seeking testing accommodations on standardized tests such as the PSAT, SAT or ACT must complete the corresponding applications for accommodations through College Board and/or ACT (separate applications). Accommodations granted for standardized exams are determined strictly by testing documentation, not an IEP/504 plan, and the College Board and ACT standards are more similar to a postsecondary environment, not high school.
  • The student determines whether or not to disclose a disability to the college or university to which he or she is applying.
  • A student’s disability is not indicated on the student transcript or any standardized testing reports.
  • If disclosing a disability, it is advisable that the student be prepared to speak to the nature his or her specific disability and learned strategies for success. 
  • A college or university may not discriminate on the basis of a student’s disability.
  • A student must disclose his/her disability in order to receive accommodations.
  • Students with disabilities should complete a VESID (Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities) application in order to determine eligibility for services and supports, including potential financial supports for college.

For specific information on colleges for students with disabilities, read The Princeton Review’s: K&W Guide to Colleges for the Learning Disabled; also visit http://www.going-to-college.org/