Transitioning to College

Transitioning to college can be exciting and stressful. College means students have opportunities to explore a new place, make new friends, learn new things and set their own priorities.

Going to college means a lot of big changes in a short time. That’s exciting — and challenging. The more prepared students are for college before arriving, the better off they (and their parents) will be.  Being prepared is especially important for students with disabilities.

Resources at this page can help students, parents and disability support providers begin to prepare for college and the workforce. (Ctr+Click to open links.)

Building Bridges Transitioning to College 2014-04-01: This WinAhead presentation discusses the differences between high school and college settings The presentation highlights the information students, parents and teachers must know for students to be successful in their educational college experience.

Transitions to College for Students with Disabilities:  This publication compares the differences between high school and college settings and looks at the information students, parents and teachers should know as a student makes plans to attend college. This publication is also available upon request in Text-only format. To request this format, e-mail

 Transition Planning for Nebraska Youth and Young Adults with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities: is a web-based series of materials and resources intended to assist in making decisions about supports for young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities as they move from high school to adult life.

EducationQuest College Planning for Students with Disabilities: This publication is for students with disabilities planning to attend postsecondary education institutions and their parents or guardians.

EducationQuest College Prep Handbook:College planning and career exploration information for 11th and 12th grade students.

EducationQuest Adult Learner Handbook: College preparation and career exploration for adult learners.

College Visit Checklist:  This checklist provides questions students should ask about a College’s disabilities services so that their educational or job training experience is satisfying rewarding and productive.

Transition of Students with Disabilities to Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School EducatorsFor students with disabilities, a big factor in their successful transition from high school to postsecondary education is accurate knowledge about their civil rights. The purpose of this guide is to provide high school educators with answers to questions students with disabilities may have as they get ready to move to the postsecondary education environment.

Tips for Transitioning to CollegeThis brief tip sheet presents some ideas for making the switch from high school to college easier and also discusses 21 tips for enhancing your opportunities for success in college.

An Open Letter to Parents of Students with Disabilities About to Enter College: Letter to parents from a professional who has worked with students with disabilities at the college level for more than 30 years, who, in this letter writes as a parent – to other parents, as someone who shares all their anxieties about their child with a disability going off to college.

Transition Year: Your Source for Emotional Health at College: Whether a student needs assistance in picking a school that is the best fit,  or is  looking for tips on managing stress once on campus, or wants guidance in making a smooth transition, this site has helpful  tools and information. The Transition Year site is an online resource center to help parents and students focus on emotional health before, during and after the college transition.

Transitioning Out of High School: A Quick Stats Fact Sheet: Fact Sheet of statistics highlights some of the challenges and opportunities facing high school students after graduation. (2007).

Are There IEP’s and 504 Plans in College?:  There are many misconceptions about the differences between high school and college when it comes to students with disabilities.  This short piece by Jim Rein, Former Dean, Vocational Independence Program, New York Institute of Technology answers the question whether IEP’s and 504 Plans are used in post-secondary education.

Do Colleges Look Less Favorably on Students With IEPs Than 504 Plans?:  Educational consultant Elizabeth Hamblet debunks the myth that  some colleges look less favorably on on applicants with IEPs than they do on applicants with 504 plans.   This is a useful read because colleges don’t ask about disabilities or IEP’s or 504 Plans.

What’s My Next Move?: leads students through a seven-step process that begins with a self-assessment of their career interests, helps them identify the education and skills they will need to qualify for a job in specific occupations, and ends with a comprehensive career plan that can be shared with high school guidance counselors, parents, teachers, and workforce professionals in the American Job Centers Network. Students who tested What’s My Next Move? found it easy to use and the resources it provides very valuable. While the intended audience is primarily high school students, the guide also can be useful to those seeking a new career direction and dislocated workers who are interested in developing new skill sets and making themselves more marketable.

Navigating College is a project of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and is an introduction to the college experience from those of us who’ve been there. The writers and contributors are Autistic adults, and we’re giving you the advice that we wish someone could have given us when we headed off to college.

Online Colleges Database: Online Colleges Database is a website and organization focused on providing post-secondary information for students and learners across the world. Some of the important topics covered in the guide include: Resources online learning for students and families with disabilities, best practices for meeting the needs of students with disabilities, technology supporting the community, how to evaluate and online learning programs, and many additional helpful resources.

Affordable Colleges Online: Another resource focused on providing post-secondary information for students and learners across the world.    ACO creates in-depth resources that address topics, questions and concerns related to higher education with an eye on affordability and accreditation. Resources include comprehensive guidebooks, student interviews, user-friendly search tools, federal datasets and other materials created and vetted by experts in their fields. 

So You Want to Go Back to School?: This document, written in July 2008 is a letter from the Asst. Secretary for Education addressed to returning service personnel, particularly those with disabilities.

Should I Disclose My Disability?: The decision to disclose a disability belongs only to the person with the disability. Disclosure is a very personal choice and should be done only after careful thought. If you have a disability, there are no requirements that you disclose your disability to anyone at any time, but in order to receive accommodations at work or in college, you must disclose. This Brief discusses the pros and cons of disclosure.

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and ResponsibilitiesThe information in this pamphlet, provided by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U. S. Department of Education, explains the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools. This pamphlet also explains the obligations of a postsecondary school to provide academic adjustments, including auxiliary aids and services, to ensure the school does not discriminate on the basis of disability.

Going to College:  This web site contains information about living college life with a disability. It’s designed for high school students and provides video clips, activities and additional resources that can help you get a head start in planning for college. Each module includes several activities that will help you to explore more about yourself, learn what to expect from college and equip you with important considerations and tasks to complete when planning for college. Share these with your parents, teachers and guidance counselor — you might just teach them a thing or two.

Going2CollegeThis web site offers users opportunities to explore career options, plan for college, identify potential colleges and locate financial aid sources. Information is available specific to each state where users can learn about local services and programs to help them  get to college.

Planning and Time Management Tools and Advice for College Students: Learning Specialist, Elizabeth Hamblet has provided resources that college students will find helpful for planning, time management and much more.  There is also helpful information for parents and students at the For Family & Students page.

Tips to Help College Students Get the Semester Off to a Good Start  A straightforward tip-sheet from learning specialist, Elizabeth Hamblet to  help students get organized at the beginning of the semester.  The tip-sheet is also available in PDF form.

Building Toward a Better Future: A College Planning Guide for Students and Their FamiliesInside this guide, you will find useful information and tips on preparing for college and becoming a successful applicant for college admission and financial aid. Prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Science

Best Colleges for Students with Disabilities: Prospective college students with disabilities will find that many campuses are equipped with offices and services that address accessibility, accommodation, and assistive technology for a diverse range of needs. Student services offices and disability coordinators at many colleges work to make campuses inclusive environments through specialized advocacy, support, and academic services.

Dr Phil for College Students: In this  flysheet, Learning Specialist, Elizabeth Hamblet, borrows three pithy responses from Dr. Phil McGraw to offer college students some practical advice about being successful in college. Ms. Hamblet is a consultant and Learning Specialist at Columbia University.

Auxiliary Aids and Services for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities Higher Education’s Obligations Under Section 504 and Title II of the ADAPrepared by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, this publication discusses the rights and responsibilities of the student with disabilities and the postsecondary institution with respect to providing auxiliary aids and services.

We Connect NowWe Connect Now is dedicated to uniting people interested in rights and issues affecting people with disabilities, with particular emphasis on college students and access to higher education and employment issues. One of the goals of this site is to help college students with disabilities to succeed in their studies by getting the information and support they need, both through resources, links, blogs latest news, studying existing laws and regulation and through personal contacts. Through this website people can also share and read other people’s stories as a source of support and comfort.