10 Things to Look for in an Accessible College Campus - MobilityWorks be_ixf;ym_201910 d_15; ct_100

10 Things to Look for in an Accessible College Campus

Accessible College Tips

For students entering their first year of college, the experience of higher education can be overwhelming. There’s a new environment to adjust to, new friends to meet, a new roommate to live with and above all, a new campus and classes to navigate. All students want to choose a college that provides them with a fantastic education and experience. However, students with disabilities have to be sure to pick a college whose campus meets their accessibility needs too. College can be an amazing experience, but choosing a school which best fits your needs makes sure that it is. Below are ten things to look for when researching an accessible college campus, to help during the selection process.

  1. Aide Programs
    Some schools have excellent aid resources, which will really impact your ability for a quality education. For example, many schools offer the opportunity to receive and use guide dogs, which can help immensely when going around a huge campus every day. Make sure to understand how requesting these services works, as they may often have to be done each semester before classes begin.
  2. Technologies
    Check to see the kinds of technologies the school offers as a learning assist. Although they are required to meet minimal standards, many offer additional resources which can be very important in your success. For example, assistive listening, reading, and hearing assistants can be crucial in helping you use and understand the course and its books.
  3. Look for other Students who are in a Wheelchair on Campus Currently
    Before you visit the school, you should be able to find statistics online of how many students needing accommodations currently attend. While you’re there, be on the lookout for anyone you see who fits this description. The more people who are there, the more likely it is that the campus will be navigable for you.
  4. Access to Buildings, the Library, Dorms, and Dining Halls
    Research or ask about the accessibility of a variety of places you will need to visit. It is vital that there is access to every place you need and want to go, no matter the time of day (or night). It’s also a good idea to take a visit around school off campus, to see if there are any places you will be able to go when you need to escape your studies.
  5. Go on a Tour
    When you go on a tour, you’ll notice how accessible buildings are and how easily you are able to navigate the rest of campus. Make sure to go into buildings that may not be part of the tour, because the guide may sometimes stick to the newer buildings which are more likely to have accommodations.
  6. Policy on Accommodations
    Make sure to understand the school’s accommodation policy, as some universities might meet bare minimum needs which may not necessarily be enough for you. Also check to ensure that if you ever encounter a problem, there is someone to call who will be able to help you fix it. For example, if an elevator is out of order, see if there’s someone you can call who can operate on it, or offer a different solution so you are able to get to class.
  7. Web Resources
    Ask if there are resources available online at their library, in case you aren’t able to get out there yourself one day, or won’t have time between classes. Another good idea is to check and see if there is anywhere online to submit a request when certain accommodations are not currently available.
  8. Disability Services Office
    Visit the Student Disability Services Office and try to talk to a few different people if possible. You should be able to get a feel for how far a school is willing to go to meet your needs (and how much has already been done) by talking to the advisors in this office.
  9. Extracurricular Groups for Support
    Some campuses may have a club or other organization which is comprised by (or run by) other students with disabilities. This can be an extremely useful resource to take advantage of, as they can offer support and suggestions if you run into a problem. If there isn’t one, ask if and how students are able to start on campus clubs, as this can be a really cool thing to run and add to your resume!
  10. Budget Accommodates Students with Disabilities
    Schools list the prices of their tuition and accommodations, but be sure to double check that these include any accommodations you may need. While basic access should already be integrated at the school, anything extra you may need sometimes comes with an additional price tag. You’ll want to be certain of this before being able to fully compare universities.

Schools list the prices of their tuition and accommodations, but be sure to double check that these include any accommodations you may need. While basic access should already be integrated at the school, anything extra you may need sometimes comes with an additional price tag. You’ll want to be certain of this before being able to fully compare universities.