Future College Students
Choosing to go to college is a major decision. It can seem overwhelming and confusing.
There are a lot of questions to consider: What career do I want? Does this college have my major? Do I want to live near home or far away? How accessible is this college? Does it have the services I need?
It helps to have some clear information! Check out our topics and resources below. They'll help point you in the right direction and get you started. See the links further down this page designed for students with intellectual disabilities and autistic students , Student Veterans and Adult Learners who want to attend college, too.
Preparing, Finding & Choosing a College
- The NCCSD's Campus Disability Resource (CeDaR) Database has contact information for disability services providers at nearly every degree-granting college and university in the U.S. and its territories. Almost 600 campuses provided detailed information about disability resources, and there are numerous ways to search for information you need.
- The College Navigator at the US Department of Education can help give you data about majors and programs at each college or university that you’re interested in.
- The Community College Finder is helpful for locating 2-year colleges in your area.
- Peterson’s offers all students a series of questions that help you get a clearer picture of your interests and the type of college that you might want to attend. Click on the College Search menu item. Peterson's has information about suggested colleges that focus on students with LD or ADHD as well. The College Board search tool helps to narrow your choices.
- It's a good idea to check out disability resource offices on the phone or during campus visits. The Black, Disabled and Proud website has a tip sheet for campus visits and questions to ask about services
- The Department of Education has important information on how disability law applies to college . It's a must-read before you go.
Some Helpful Publications
- NFB Self-Advocacy in Higher Education Toolkit - Designed for blind and visually-impaired students, much of this material is helpful for all students to know.
- Parent Resources at the Black, Disabled and Proud website (not just for Black and African American parents)
- Beyond Transition - a workbook to help parents and students prepare for college
If you are in High School
Students on IEP's are eligible for Transition Services. Your school should begin helping you plan for college when you turn 16 - learn more about transition services at PACER Center .
Students on 504 Plans usually aren't eligible for Transition Services, but parents should check with the high school to see if they are offered. If not, parents and students should try Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) for possible assistance with transition to college, training or work. You can find your nearest VR office by searching at the Job Accommodation Network web page.
All students: You should also get updated documentation of your disability while you are still in high school if you need it. Check with your IEP or 504 Coordinator at school. Check our Two-Minute Training called Prove It! to learn more about documentation.
If you'll need accommodations or services for the AP exams, SAT or ACT , you'll need proof you were using those services in high school, and documentation proving you have a disability. You can contact the College Board directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
WorkforceGPS has programs and information about Summer jobs and other youth employment opportunities for all students.
Paying for College
There’s money out there in the form of scholarships and grants to help pay for tuition, books, room & board. It involves some work, but we make it a little easier with our Paying for College page.
Figuring Out Campus Accessibility
- or - "How Welcoming is my College to Students with Disabilities?"
While colleges and universities are required by law to make their buildings, programs and courses accessible, they are not consistent in how they do this. Some colleges are much better than others and have many student services. Others are behind the times or don't do a good job advertising what they have.
You can usually tell how "welcoming" a college is to students with disabilities by checking out its website. Look for a "Disability Resources or Services" link on their homepage; a few schools have this. That will take you to a page that has more information about the programs and services it has for students with disabilities.
With some colleges, it can be harder to find that information on disability services, even if they have a Disability Resource office. You can look in the Student Services, Campus Life, or similar sections of the campus website. You can also search in the website's Search box for "disabilities." You'll usually find a link to the office that way. If all else fails, try looking for the Dean of Students office; they can usually help you.
Other students with disabilities might be good resources as well. Check out DREAM to connect with students in college to learn about their experiences. Know that each person's experience might differ, but you can still gain valuable information.
You have a right to apply to any colleges you like, no matter how welcoming they may seem. If you are accepted at a college, you have a right to reasonable accommodations to participate fully in classes and programs. Learn more about your rights from the Department of Education .
Our Disability Resource Center page gives you more information about what to expect when you work with that campus resource.
If you are thinking about supplementing disability services by hiring an academic coach, there are some resources on our "Academics" page for current college students.
College Living Experience (CLE) provides wraparound post-secondary support in the domains of academics, career development, social skills, and independent living skills with executive function support throughout each domain. We tailor our program to fit the needs of our students with learning differences with comprehensive one on one support. CLE’s customized program creates the foundation for a successful launch into adulthood on a college or career path.
The Think College project promotes postsecondary options for students with intellectual disabilities. Their website offers resources and publications to help you prepare for education and career beyond high school.
Check Think College's College Search feature.
The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network has a guide called "Navigating College " that may be helpful for students with many different kinds of disabilities.
For Families: Experts in the Autism Spectrum field at College Autism Spectrum offer information, training and support to students and parents as they navigate the college setting.
Their list of programs for autistic students is a handy one-stop resources.