Advising and Course Selection

Self-disclosing to your academic advisor

  • What is important for him/her to know to better help you put together a manageable schedule?
    • more alert, do better in early morning
    • joints/body aches in early morning
    • topics re: ‘x’ trigger reaction (e.g. seizure, anxiety, post traumatic stress)
    • difficult topics require more time (e.g. math, foreign language)
    • need time to eat and take medication(s) at certain time(s) of the day
  • What factors/variables are important in choosing your classes?
    • class format (small group discussion vs. large lecture)
    • teaching style
    • exam format (essay vs. multiple choice)
    • amount of reading
    • number of credit hours (desired or manageable vs. advised or required)

Course selection

  • Is math an area of difficulty for you?
    • create a schedule that will allow more time for difficult topics—e.g. take fewer credit hours for that semester
    • discuss taking the course(s) in the Summer or J-term,  at another school (e.g. community college), through Independent Study & Correspondence, online course
  • How do you handle a lot of reading?
    • inquire how much reading is required for the courses you will be taking
    • get texts early and begin reading ahead
    • ask about e-books or other means of reading texts
  • What foreign language experience have you had?  Is it required for your major?
    • identify options & information (e.g. majors or colleges w/o language requirement)
    • alternatives to language, such as computer skills or cultural courses (substitution)
    • American Sign Language as a foreign language
    • degree options, B.A. vs. B.S.

Differences that matter

  • M/W/F classes are approximately 1-hour long; T/Th classes are approximately 1 ½-hours long.  What difference does that make for you?
    • number days/week of being in-class for continuity, practice, (2 vs. 3)
    • amount of time required to pay attention, be seated in class (1 vs. 1 ½ hr.)
  • What about large classes vs. small classes? Options for how to meet needs, i.e. permission from instructor for enrollment in full courses;
    • different course for same requirement
    • take in summer vs. fall vs. spring (be sure course is offered that semester)
    • ability to hear, see, focus, interact
    • ask about Priority Registration as appropriate option
  • How many credit hours do you think that you want to take?
    • rule-of-thumb is 1-hr in-class = 3-hrs out-of-class preparation
    • consider the impact on scholarships, financial aid, Voc Rehab, other
    • ask about Reduced Courseload accommodation
    • time considerations (years to graduate, cost) vs. level of achievement (GPA)
  • When are you most alert?  Is there anything that would affect you taking AM classes?  PM classes?
  • How much time are you allowing between classes? 
    • amount of time necessary to get to next class (look at the map!)
    • ability to get organized before beginning class, to re-focus
    • possible time necessary to prepare for class (e.g. read, write lab report, review notes, complete project)
    • desired time to relax, study, eat, take medication(s), etc.

Course style

  • Instructor style – how do you learn best (lecture, participation, read on your own)?
  • Test format – explain to the academic advisor or consider how you do on different types of tests (multiple choice, essay, short answer).
    • talk with instructor/department and/or look at a syllabus BEFORE enrolling in a course.  (Suggestion: Contact the department or the instructor to request a copy of a current or past syllabus)

Source:  “College 101: Students with Disabilities” –Oklahoma State University