High School to College Transition

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Differences Between High School and College Students with
Disabilities

(from Assistive Technology for Education http://bit.ly/IEPvs504Transition)

APPLICABLE LAWS:

High School
• IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
• Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
• IDEA is about Success

College
• ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II)
• Section 504, Rehabilitation Act
• ADA Is about Access

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION:

High School
• IEP (Individual Education Plan) and/or 504 Plan
• School provides evaluation at no cost.
• Documentation focuses on determining whether student is eligible for services based
on specific disability categories in IDEA.
• School is required to seek out and identify students with a disability, and acquire
testing for documentation.

College
• High school IEP and 504 are not sufficient. Documentation guidelines specify
information needed for each category of disability.
• Student must get evaluation at own expense.
• Documentation must provide information on specific functional limitations, and
demonstrate the need for specific accommodations.
• Up to student to self-identify and seek services and testing for documentation.

SELF-ADVOCACY:

High School
• Student is identified by the school and is supported by parents and teachers.
• Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the school.
• Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance.

College
• Student must self-identity to the Student Disability Services office.
• Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to
the student.
• Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you
need assistance.

PARENT ROLE:

High School
• Parent has access to student records and can participate in the accommodation
process.
• Parent advocates for student.

College
• Parent does not have access to student records without student’s consent.
• Student advocates for self.

INSTRUCTION:

High School
• Teachers may modify curriculum and/or alter curriculum pace of assignments.
• You are expected to read short assignments that are then discussed and often re-
taught in class.
• You seldom need to read anything more than once, sometimes listening in class is
enough.

College
• Professors are not required to modify design or alter assignment deadlines.
• You are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing which may not be
directly addressed in class.
• You need to review class notes and text and material regularly.

GRADES & TESTS:

High School
• IEP or 504 plan may include modifications to test format and/or grading.
• Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material.
• Makeup tests are often available.
• Teachers often take time to remind you of assignments and due dates.

College
• Grading and test format changes (i.e. multiple choice vs. essay) are generally not
available. Accommodations to HOW tests are given (extended time, test proctors) are
available when supported by disability documentation.
• Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of
material.
• Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, you need to request them.
• Professors expect you to read, save, and calculate exactly what is expected of you,
when it is due, and how you will be graded.

STUDY RESPONSIBILITIES:

High School
• Tutoring and study support may be a service provided as part of an IEP or 504 plan.
• Your time and assignments are structured by others.
• You may study outside class as little as 0 to 2 hours a week, but this may be mostly
last-minute test preparation.

College
• Tutoring DOES NOT fall under Disability Services. Students with disabilities must
seek out tutoring resources as they are available to all students.
• You manage your own time and complete assignments independently.
• You need to study at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class for each hour in class.