From High School To College

Key Differences between High School and College for Students with Disabilities:

High School College
Applicable Laws
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • IDEA is about SUCCESS in school
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Title II
  • Section 504 Subpart E of the Rehabilitation Act
  • ADA and 504 are about ACCESS, success is up to the student
Required Documentation
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) and/or 504 Plan
  • School provides evaluation at no cost
  • Documentation focuses on
    determining if student is eligible for
    services under one or more
    disability categories in IDEA
  • High school IEP and 504 Plans
    expire after high school and are not
    sufficient. Documentation
    guidelines specify information
    needed for each category or
  • Students must get evaluation at
    their own expense
  • Documentation must provide
    information on specific functional
    limitations and demonstrate the
    need for specific accommodations
Self – Advocacy
  • School staff identify the student as
    having a disability
  • School staff has primary
    responsibility for arranging
  • Teachers approach you if they
    believe you need assistance.
  • Student must self-identify to
    Disability Support Services staff
  • Student has responsibility for self-
    advocacy and arranging
    accommodations with staff of
    Student Support Services
  • Professors can be open and
    helpful, but most expect students to
    initiate contact at the start of the
Parental Role
  • Parent has access to student
    records and can participate in the
    accommodation process
  • Parent advocates for the student
  • Parent does not have access to
    student records and cannot
    represent the student without the
    student’s written consent
  • Student advocates for self
  • Teachers may modify curriculum
    and alter assignments as outlined
    in IEP
  • Students are expected to read
    short assignments that are
    discussed and often re-taught in
  • Students seldom need to read
    assignments more than once,
    often listening in class is enough
  • Professors are not required to
    modify design or alter assignment
  • Students are assigned substantial
    amounts of reading and writing
    which may not be directly
    addressed in class
  • Students need to regularly review
    class notes and text material
Grades and Tests
  • IEP or 504 plan may include
    modifications to test format or
  • Testing frequently covers only
    small amounts of material
  • Makeup tests are usually available
  • Teachers often take time to
    remind students of assignments
    and due dates
  • Grading and test format changes
    (e.g.., multiple choice vs. essay) are
    generally not available.
    Accommodations in HOW tests are
    given (e.g., extended time, test
    proctors) are available when
    supported by disability
  • Testing is generally periodic and
    may be cumulative, covering large
    amounts of material
  • Makeup tests are seldom an option;
    if they are, students are responsible
    for requesting them in advance
  • Professors expect students to read,
    save, and consult the course
    syllabus that describes course
    expectations, assignments and
    grading scale
Study Responsibilities
  • Tutoring and study support may be
    a service provided as part of an
    IEP or 504 plan
  • School staff often structure
    students’ time and expected
  • Students may study outside class
    for as little as 0 to 2 hours a week
    and this may be mostly last-minute
    test preparation
  • Tutoring DOES NOT fall under
    Disability Services. Students with
    disabilities must seek out tutoring
    resources available to all college
  • Students structure their own time
    and assignments
  • Students usually need to study at
    least 2 to 3 hours for each hour in
  • Students manage their own time
    and complete assignments
General Differences
  • High school is an entitlement
  • High school is mandatory and
    usually free
  • Others structure your time
  • Permission is needed to participate
    in extracurricular activities
  • Parents and teachers remind you
    of your responsibilities and assist
    you in setting priorities and goals
  • College is a choice or privilege, a
    right to access
  • College is voluntary and costly
  • You manage your own time
  • The decision to participate in co-
    curricular or extracurricular
    activities is yours
  • Balancing your time and setting
    priorities is now your responsibility