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What Questions Should I Ask the Student Disabilities Office?

When it comes to advocating for yourself in college, you want to ask Disability Services the right questions. Here's what our expert recommends.

Eric Endlich, PhD
Psychologist and Founder

Top College Consultants
If you’ll be seeking accommodations or support services for a disability or learning difference in college, it pays to do advanced research on what will be available at each school on your list. Here are some key questions to ask the disability staff at the colleges you’re considering attending:

  • How do students apply for academic accommodations? How long does it take for them to be approved?
  • What documentation do you accept for accommodation requests?
  • How recent must the documentation be?
  • How often do students need to reapply or meet with your staff to maintain their accommodations?
  • How many staff members do you have? What’s their background/training?
  • Who has the most expertise in my disability?
  • How many students (or what percentage of the student body) do you serve?
  • What are the most common disabilities you serve?
  • What are some of the most common accommodations for testing, classrooms, assignments, or elsewhere?
  • Will I be able to receive the same accommodations and services I received in high school?
  • What additional specialized services or supports are available for students with disabilities (e.g., mentoring, coaching)? What fees are involved?
  • What’s the process for communicating accommodations (e.g., extended time on exams) to professors? What happens if a professor won’t grant an accommodation?
  • What workshops do you offer?
  • Are waivers available for certain academic requirements (e.g., foreign language courses, minimum course load)?
  • What resources do you have in terms of assistive technology?
  • Do you track outcomes (e.g., retention, graduation, employment) for students with disabilities? Can you provide this information to me?
  • Who provides tutoring, and how are tutors trained?
  • Are there special scholarships for students with disabilities available?
  • Is priority registration available?
  • Is special housing available (e.g., single rooms)?
  • Are there any support groups or clubs for students with disabilities?
  • How is disability incorporated into the institution’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts? 
  • Are you considering establishing a disability cultural center or taking other steps to promote positive disability identity?
  • In what ways are the principles of universal design for learning (UDL) employed at this institution?
  • What has this institution done to become more accessible to students with disabilities?

Want more advice from Dr. Endlich? Read his article on Learning Disabilities in College: 7 Things to Know and Do

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