Transition to College

Transition from High School to College can be especially difficult for students with learning differences.

College life presents the need for an entirely new routine that meets new academic and social challenges. Even accommodations and services in higher education are often entirely different than those offered in high school.

While the law requires that students with learning differences have equal access to education, that access can be hard to navigate. The offices of disability services that coordinate accommodations for students with documented disabilities are well-intentioned but often understaffed and overwhelmed by demand. In the face of inadequate services, students are required to become more self-sufficient. Self-disclosure and self-advocacy become the norm and, in some cases, the law.

A significant degree of independence is expected of college students. There are no IEPs, no altered standards, no guided study hall. High school students are eligible to receive services merely by attending public school, where districts are responsible for follow-through and the implementation of evaluations, learning plans, and accommodations. In College, students are expected to self-actuate.

Among the many new social and self-care responsibilities of college life:

  • Students must take full responsibility for initiating with the office of disability services and with their professors.
  • Students are responsible for their own personal care, including hygiene and medication.
  • Student are required to notify disability services in the event of a problem.

Among the many new academic responsibilities of college life:

  • Curriculum may not be significantly altered, as it could be in high school.
  • Students are required to meet all of the same entrance and academic requirements whether or not they request accommodations.
  • Professors needs only know about the accommodation, not the specific disability.

High school students could depend upon their schools and districts to initiate services and oversee personal care. In other words, the school finds you. Problems are readily identified and even anticipated by schools, teachers, parents, and learning teams. In college, the opposite is true. Students have to find what they need. They must locate disability services and notify them in the event of a problem. This means that the student must not only navigate campus disability services but be able to recognize and take action when a problem exists.

The level of self-awareness and self-advocacy required for college students is of a different magnitude than that required of secondary school students. This is where Focus Collegiate fills in the gaps to make a smooth transition from high school to college.

We identify and coordinate academic and social support services and:

  • Advocate for students with learning differences
  • Coach student development and self-advocacy
  • Act as a resource on disability awareness and accommodations
  • Provide academic coaching and tutoring

Sources:
2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transitionguide.html
ncld.org/transitioning-to-life-after-high-school
ncd.gov/publications/2004/Mar172004
2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html