Strategies for Success

Develop knowledge about oneself

  • Learn about the nature of your disability
  • Understand personal and academic strengths and weakness
    • nature of disability & impact on learning, academics;
    • self-esteem, self-perception, confidence.

Assess Interest, Aptitude and Achievement

  • Develop and assess academic, vocational, social, and personal interest potentials
  • Take courses in many disciplines
  • Master basic skills including:
    • mathematical computation
    • writing and composition
    • computer use
    • making public presentations
  • High school preparation & courses set your foundation;
  • Identify & utilize current and available accommodations;
  • Be aware of postsecondary requirements—admission AND graduation.

Explore life experiences

  • Try a variety of school activities, social functions, volunteer and paid jobs
    • disability may currently have or may have previously had an impact on opportunities, level of involvement;
    • create and/or maximize opportunities.

Seek Non-restrictive Career Counseling

  • Explosion of technology has created an ever-widening range of the inventory of occupations available to people with disabilities
  • Obtain realistic information about employment trends
  • Obtain accurate information about educational requirements
    • important to have an understanding of options, alternatives;
    • recognize impact of others on you—perceptions, assumptions, prejudices;
    • avoid the tendency to shy away from or be counseled out of an area.

Base decision-making about post-secondary education on a variety of criteria

  • Admission requirements--applicants with disabilities must meet the criteria set
  • Programmatic requirements--colleges are not required to alter programmatic requirements if a course in question is fundamental to the nature of the course of study
  • Training available
  • Field of study
  • Reputation of the institution
  • Size and diversity of student body
  • Intellectual and social environment
  • Cost
  • Availability of financial aid, work-study positions, scholarships/internships
  • Quality and type of support services
  • Types of auxiliary aids and accessibility
    • lowered expectations in high school may be harmful…short-term “fix”;
    • curricular preparedness, skill building, & meeting established standards with accommodations (v. waiving requirements);
    • be aware of requirements:  course, department, degree;
    • note the expectation of your increased level of personal responsibility;
    • differences between high school & postsecondary (see: “Differences”);
    • comparison factors:  who is now the “average” student (SAT, high school gpa);
    • assess your ability to work, be involved in other activities AND study;
    • make contact with Disability Services to identify appropriate accommodations.

Develop self-advocacy skills

  • Become comfortable in describing to others the nature of your disability, your abilities, and your academic needs
  • Be informed about legislation with which colleges must comply that protect your rights
  • Ensure that you secure appropriate professional documentation of your disability
    • Orientation
      • orientation & mobility on-campus
      • information/materials in alternate format
      • pace of tour, conversation, etc. & your comprehension
    • Housing
      • proximity to other buildings on campus
      • housing preferences (note difference between “preference” and “need”)
      • accessibility (building, restroom, elevator, alarm system, etc.)
    • Financial Aid
      • other resources
      • impact of enrolled number of credit hours
      • continuous enrollment and academic progress issues regarding federal
      • financial aid

Source:  OK-AHEAD Transition Guide (www.okahead.org)
Adapted from U.S. Department of Education Document, Heath Resource Center, and American Council on Education