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GETTING READY FOR COLLEGE: SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS
By mid-April most high school seniors know which college they will be attending.
It is then time for those wanting special accommodations in college to get the
Special accommodations can include extended time on tests, a note taker, early
class registration, and perhaps a special tutorial program.
Here’s how to go about receiving special accommodations:
First, it is necessary to get accepted into the Special Services program of
the school. Though each school may use a different name for their program, the
function is the same. And it is through the program that accommodations are
Each college has a different set of requirements for entry into its program.
These are always available from the Special Services Office and often available
on the school’s Website.
Send the prescribing physician a copy of the requirements. Once he or she receives
them, the process can begin. Sometimes the requirements are not excessive and
only need documentation such as a letter from school and the doctor, including
the diagnosis. Other schools are very difficult. I recently saw a letter from
a college specifically saying that a 504 designation in high school will not
be considered at all when evaluating an application. It is probable that some
schools want to include as many students as possible if they need support while
other schools aim to keep students out. Hence the difference in requirements.
Get started early. Some colleges require a full battery of psychological tests
if these have not been done within two years. I don’t think this is reasonable,
but there is no way around it. They take time and are costly, but must be done.
If the process gets started in April or May, it will be possible to have the
material available for presentation to the school by June or July. But time
goes by quickly, students take vacations, and psychologists are busy. So it
is important to begin and avoid procrastinating!
Frequently a student will tell me that they don’t want special accommodations,
do not need them, and do not want to apply. I always recommend that they apply
for the program, because in fact, they don’t know what they will need.
I point out that nothing has to be used, but it is nice to have the privilege
available if the need occurs. There is nothing I can do beyond making the recommendation,
and sometimes it is even accepted.
This is the time to get started.