Resources for Parents

Resources for Parents

Letter to Parents: Transitioning to College

The transition from high school to college presents many challenges for all students and their families. It can be exciting and confusing, happy and stressful, fun and fearful. Those feelings are normal and are all part of the process of growth and change.

For students with disabilities there is the added challenge of figuring out the differences between the services they received in high school and the rights and responsibilities they will have as college students. There are some significant differences between high school and college.

The responsibilities of the University differ significantly from those of school districts. No "special education" system exists at the college level, but colleges do provide services to students with disabilities.

Your student will have responsibilities that they did not have as a high school student. In college, the student is responsible for initiating a request for an accommodation. To do so, the student must declare that they have a disability and must provide current documentation.

Colleges are not governed by the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act); however, colleges are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of disability and are required to ensure equal access for otherwise qualified students with disabilities. "Equal access" includes providing students with reasonable accommodations.

All students, including those with disabilities must meet the same academic standards. Accommodations are meant to "level the playing field," not lower standards. See the accompanying chart for details. 

Differences Between High School and College

Differences Between High School and College for Students with Disabilities (