Just because you have a disability, it doesn’t mean your life has ended. It doesn’t mean you can’t do certain things or have big dreams. It doesn’t mean you can’t smash those academic goals and have the career you want. If you’re strong-willed and ready to take on this new challenge, then nothing will stop you. And it may comfort you to know that more students with disabilities are applying for college than ever before.

As someone with a disability it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the idea of the challenges ahead and how certain things will be done, especially if you’re planning to be away from home – in truth, your parents are probably more worried than you are!

But, with some careful planning and common sense, there’s no reason why you can’t smash those education goals and have the college experience you deserve. Want to know more? Read on to discover what you need to know about attending college with a disability.

Get your finances in order

College isn’t cheap (your parents will attest to that) so you must have some sort of understanding of your personal finances before you move away from home. Understand your disability benefits and how much money you can expect to receive – find out whether SSD will pay for college by clicking the link. You may also want to consider learning how to budget and how you’re going to prioritize your spending. Are you able to get a job? If so, check out your employment options as soon as possible.

Research the accommodation

Are you confident that the student rooms can accommodate your needs? If you’re in a wheelchair for example, are the doorways wide enough? Do you have clear and easy access to the bathroom? Are there stairlifts or ramps available and are these regularly maintained? Feel free to write down as many questions as you can and present them to the accommodation team. They’ll be more than happy to help you find the right accommodation and get settled in.

Check out the college facilities

Do you know where your lectures and classes are going to be? Is there a lift you can use? If you have an assistance animal, are you permitted to bring them into class with you? Good facilities shouldn’t just be a priority in the classroom but also in the social areas of campus. It’s important that you can fully enjoy all aspects of college life, so don’t be afraid to research, visit as often as you like and ask questions!

And finally, understand what support you may get

Every college or university should have some sort of disability support service in place to help the students who need it. Find out when you can access their services and what kind of presence and influence they have on campus. If possible, reach out to alumni who may be willing to share their experience of the support they received at college. And don’t be afraid to take your findings to the staff!

 

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