Disclaimer-this college how-to manual is based on my personal experience and a bunch of books I’ve read. If you think something is wrong, or would like to add something, please leave a comment!
Obviously, the first step to attending college is serious and extensive research. As a person with a disability, not only do you have to consider all of the regular factors, but you need to plan for your accommodations and life away from high school.
Start the process by writing down all of the things you’re looking for in a college and all the accommodations you will need.
Part One: College Considerations
Today’s topic: location
I knew that I wanted to go to college in a metropolitan city because of the accessible transportation. If I went to a school in a smaller town it would have been harder for me to get to places like grocery stores, movie theaters, and shopping centers!
You also want to think about the climate. I use a wheelchair, so it obviously is hard for it to maneuver through snow. I do go to a college where snow is an issue though, but after talking to the ground services they very graciously agreed to make sure that my path class is always clear. Also, if you’re going to be at a large campus and have a long way to go to class, you need to plan for that. Are there tunnels or indoor walkways in case of rain or snow? If your campus is spread out and you need to use buses to get to class, make sure that they are accessible.
Finally, I know that no one really wants to think about this, but how close do you want to be to your family? Living away from your family is an important step in independence if it is possible for you, but being close also has its advantages. Even if your immediate family is far away, if you have other relatives close your college they are an important support system. I feel more secure knowing I have family members around in case I get sick or a different emergency happens.
I know that most of these considerations are probably obvious if you have a disability, but they just show the beginning of the large amount of planning that’s needed.
I’ll leave you today with a slideshow of the best colleges for people with learning disabilities from Huffington Post.