4 Steps to Receiving Accommodations at College

Posted on January 28, 2016

It’s the beginning of a new semester and your classes are demanding. You started a new medication for an anxiety disorder that makes you SO thirsty all day long and your professor doesn’t allow beverages. Plus you’re absolutely dreading the presentation you were just assigned and want to run for the door. Sound like you? Then you may be eligible for help for Accommodations at College.

Accommodations at College

Most universities have an office of accessibilities that arranges accommodations for students with disabilities including mental health challenges. It’s important to use all the tools available to set yourself up for a successful academic career.

Take these 4 steps to get the accommodations you need:

1.   Sign up.  Once you sign up at the school's office of accessibilities, it becomes an incredible resource and the golden key to getting accommodations and extra support. Most schools have a formal request form that will need to be filled out by a doctor or other licensed practitioner.

2.   Know what to ask for.  Many schools do not have a comprehensive list of reasonable accommodations that a student can look through.  Therefore, it is important that your doctor or other licensed practitioner place the things that they feel would be helpful to the students accommodation request form.  Below is a common list of reasonable accommodations that can be requested.

  • Prearranged or frequent breaks
  • Preferential seating, especially near the door to allow leaving class for breaks
  • Beverages permitted in class
  • Use of audio recorder/note-taker
  • Early availability of syllabus and textbooks
  • Exams in alternative format (e.g., from multiple choice to essay, oral presentation, role-play, or portfolio)
  • Use of assistive technology
  • Extended time on exams
  • Individual examination rooms

3.   Follow up with each professor, if necessary.  You never need to tell your professor why you are requesting accommodations (unless you want to), all they need to know is that you are eligible to receive the specific accommodation.  However, depending on your school sometimes the office of accessibilities will contact your professors for you.  

4.   Renew each semester.  Based on the college, you may need to renew academic accommodations each semester.  Some school requests this renewal because the student’s accommodations may change from class to class.

Accommodations at College