Additional Resources

It is important for students with disabilities to take coursework in high school that is challenging. High school classes that are demanding and stimulate students are more likely to prepare them for college work.

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Preparing for College

College admission

Leaving high school without an Advanced Studies Diploma, Advanced Technical Diploma, a Standard Diploma or a standard Technical Diploma does not mean a student cannot attend college. It does mean that the student will need to follow any additional steps required to meet the standard for admission. There may be additional requirements to be admitted into a particular program of study. Colleges and universities have different requirements. It is up to the student to know what the requirements are and follow through with them.

Generally, to qualify for admission to a college, a student must have a high school diploma, its equivalent, or be 18 years of age or older, and be able to benefit from a program of study at a VCCS college. Besides an application, an official copy of the students transcripts is required. Transcripts are reviewed and some students will be required to take a college placement test to determine whether they are proficient in reading, writing and mathematics. In some cases the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), American College Test (ACT) and even WorkKeys scores can be used as placement tests. Non-curricular students are those students who take classes without completing a certificate, diploma, or degree program. These students need to complete an application for admission and fulfill the prerequisite requirements as outlined by a school. Students who are not seeking a degree or certificate might be able to take classes that do not require an English, reading, or math prerequisite without taking placement tests.

Reasonable Accommodations

A student with a disability should consider the need for reasonable accommodations in order to access postsecondary education and training. In order to receive accommodations or supports, students must self disclose that they have a disability and also produce appropriate documentation regarding the disability and functional limitations that will be addressed through accommodations. This information must be submitted prior to receiving accommodations. Students should consider speaking with someone in the college's disability services office or a person with the school who counsels students with disabilities to find out what documentation is required. As a rule an IEP or 504 Plan will not be enough documentation to receive accommodations. Students should also consider their need for these accommodations when taking placements tests.

Financial Aid

Receiving financial aid is another consideration that must be planned for in advance. The student will need to speak with a person at the postsecondary school to determine whether they may receive financial assistance from that school. Some students may be eligible for tuition assistance through another agency such as the Department of Rehabilitative Services or Social Services. Financial assistance might be based on the results of a placement test. The student is responsible for seeking out this information and following through on all applications and documentation that the particular school and/or agency require. Non-curricular students may not be eligible to receive Financial Aid because federal guidelines require students to be enrolled in an approved course of study. The National Council on Disability provides information on issues surrounding financial aid and disability.

Additional Resources

Transitioning into College

  • The Virginia Department of Education's I'm Determined priority project provides materials for teachers, students and parents regarding self determination during the transition process.

  • Going to College provides vignettes by college students with disabilities. The scenes surround the application process, self disclosure advice and examples of problem solving strategies for students as they make the transition from high school to college.

  • The HEATH Resource Center Clearinghouse has information for students on educational disability support services, policies, procedures, adaptations, accessing college or university campuses, financial assistance, scholarships, and materials that help students transition into college.

Higher Education Opportunity Act

The Higher Education Opportunity Act is legislation focused on expanding college access and preparing minority students for competitive and innovative jobs. To learn more about the Higher Education Opportunity Act, click on the following sites:

Americans With Disability Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) instructs postsecondary institutions "to provide any reasonable accommodation that may be necessary for those people with an identified disability to have equal access to the educational opportunities and services available to non-disabled peers, if requested" (PL 101-336; PL 105-17). The National Council on Disability offers information on postsecondary education and issues affecting access to education for people with disabilities.

Reasonable Accommodations
  • A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, activity or facility to enable equal access for qualified students with disabilities.

  • The Job Accommodation (JAN) provides a Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR). Users will discover multiple accommodation options that can be used in both work and educational settings.

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