Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City

How College may Differ from High School for Students with Disabilities

What’s Different

  • High schools may help identify students with disabilities; in the college setting, students with disabilities must identify themselves to the disability services or appropriate office and actively request disability accommodations as needed.
  • High schools frequently provide educational or psychological testing for the diagnosis of disabilities; however, colleges/universities are not required to provide that same diagnostic testing.
  • In high school students with disabilities may be placed on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs); in college IEPs do not exist. Instead, colleges/universities typically prepare Disability Accommodation Letters for students with disabilities, and these Accommodation Letters communicate to the course instructor what disability accommodations should be provided for the student.
  • In college, students with disabilities will usually be asked to provide some type of documentation of their disability before receiving disability accommodations.
  • Colleges/universities must ensure that any disability accommodations provided do not interfere with essential learning requirements of a course or academic program, or jeopardize the health or safety of others.
  • Colleges/universities must hold students with disabilities to the same academic, technical, and behavioral standards as their non-disabled peers.
  • In high school, parents may be more actively involved in making decisions for the student with the disability. In college, the student is responsible for making any decisions regarding his/her education and parents may only make decisions for the student if a consent or release form has been signed.
  • Colleges/universities are not obligated to provide personal care attendants for students with disabilities.
 

What’s the Same

  • Both high schools and colleges/universities have faculty and staff that want students with disabilities to succeed!
  • Determination and hard work are essential foundations for academic success!
 

What’s Awesome

  • Going to college can help individuals with disabilities gain confidence and facilitate personal growth.
  • Jobs can come and go, but a college degree is yours forever!