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College Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

October 14, 2022
Adult Life, Advocacy, College

All students with disabilities are eligible to receive accommodations in college. In order to receive them, a student must register with the college’s Office of Accommodations and complete the application process.

Obtaining accommodations in college is different than in high school, such as:

  • It is the student’s responsibility to obtain and maintain accommodations.
  • Depending on the college, the student may have to reapply for accommodations every semester or year.
  • Students will have to submit accommodation requests for each exam to their college’s accessibility office in order to receive certain testing accommodations.
  • Students should discuss the accommodations available at their specific college with an accessibility counselor during the application process.

Below is the process for students with disabilities to obtain accommodations. It takes time to put accommodations and assistive technology into place, and it is the student’s responsibility to provide necessary documentation in a timely manner.

How to Apply For Reasonable Accommodations

  1. The student decides what to disclose and what accommodations to request.
  2. The student then submits application and documentation to the college’s accessibility office.
  3. The student will meet with an accessibility counselor to discuss available accommodations.
  4. Once accommodations are agreed upon, the student will inform professors and teaching staff of which courses they are requesting accommodation.
  5. The student applies for specific testing accommodations 1-2 weeks before they are needed.
  6. Repeat as necessary.

Types of Accommodations Available to Students

As a beginning step to assist the student in advocating for their needs, here are some examples of accommodations that are frequently provided. For a full list of the types of accommodations available to students, be sure to speak with the accessibility office in the college. 

Common Accommodations

  • Extended time on assessments, e.g. quizzes, midterms, and final exams
  • Testing in an alternative location
  • Breaks during exams
  • Calculator or laptop access
  • A note-taker, reader, and/or scribe
  • Access to audiobooks
  • Accessible specific classroom seating/layout
  • Accessible specific housing/dorming 
  • American Sign Language interpreters

Accommodations That May Be More Difficult to Get

  • Extensions for specific assignments
  • Alternate test format (e.g. multiple choice, true/false, essay)
  • Tests and directions read out loud, or read and repeated
  • Reduced course load and extended time to complete degree requirements

Assistive Technology/Other Services

Auxiliary aids and services can take many forms, depending on the individual student’s needs.

  • Making audio recordings of classes 
  • Qualified interpreters 
  • Class materials in alternative formats, e.g. texts in braille, recorded, or as digital files
  • Access to voice recognition software
  • Access to text-to-speech programs
  • Regular meetings with an accessibility counselor/learning specialist
  • Alternate ways to evaluate, e.g. projects or oral presentations instead of written tests