Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities

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Life after High School: A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments

Student Guide | Parent Guide | Resources

Strategies for a Successful Transition from High School to College

College Guide 98 kb (WORD) | College Guide 72 kb (PDF)

Before You Decide on a School

Begin the Search Early

Consider How You Will Navigate the Campus

It is really important as a student with a visual impairment to actually walk around the college you are considering and to explore the environment in which the school is located. Is it a rural university that is primarily self-contained on one campus like the University of RI? Consider your O&M skills and how you will navigate large areas of open space to get from class to class, particularly if you are planning to attend an institute where you may not know many other people initially. Or are you considering an urban campus spread out over several city blocks, like Brown University or Boston College? If so, are you comfortable in your ability to perform safe and efficient street crossing on potentially busy downtown streets? Are you competent in the use of public transportation, such as buses and subways?

After You Decide

If possible, visit the college and address specific issues you will face as an incoming freshman:

First Semester Course Selection
For your first semester as a college student you may want to consider a lighter course load. The transition from high school to college may go very smoothly or it may present some unexpected challenges for you. Taking only the minimum required credits to maintain full-time status or even considering part-time status, will give you the opportunity to make this adjustment without overwhelming yourself academically. Be mindful that in college, professors expect students to complete the majority of their course work independently outside of the classroom. Be certain you understand the workload each class will require and be certain you can meet those requirements.

Academic Accommodations
Most colleges have a disability services center or office with staff to assist students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations to meet the requirements of their courses. Prior to your first semester you will want to make an appointment to learn more about the supports available to you and any requirements to request supports. This office will also be able to assist you with accommodations for housing if you choose to live on the campus.

Living Arrangements
If you plan to live on-campus: If you plan to commute:

Your First Few Weeks as a College Student

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