Most people share common experiences when making the transition from high school or work to college. Many college students find that they meet new friends and professors, sometimes miss their old friends and families, and have to take time to learn their way around campus. If you were to survey college students of all ages and walks of life, they would likely mention these kinds of experiences. Students with disabilities, however, have an additional need to consider; they must ensure they have the supports and accommodations to be successful college students.
To start the process of learning more about offices for students with disabilities at all the colleges in NC, use CFNC.org to review colleges online, or call toll-free 866-866-CFNC (2362) to speak to a representative. We can help you navigate the website and answer questions about planning, applying and paying for college.
If you have an IEP (Individual Education Program) or a 504 Plan in high school
In college, unlike high school, it is the student's responsibility to contact the disability support services at the college. Not all offices have the exact same name, but if you call the admissions office on a college campus, someone should be able to assist you. Students will likely not be asked to disclose any information about their disability during the admissions process, but if services or accommodations are desired, the student will need to meet with the appropriate disability support professional and provide all documentation requested by that person. Most colleges require an evaluation within three years prior to entering college.
If you have an intellectual/developmental disability
Until recently, students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities had no expectation of attending college. Postsecondary options with meaningful outcomes for these students are flourishing in many parts of the country, including North Carolina. Specialized non-degree college programs at universities and community coleges are designed for students who want to continue their education and prepare for a career. Eligible students participate in college activities and typical college classes, with support from educational coaches. Some programs are residential (i.e., students live in college dorms) and most programs include jobs on campus to develop employment skills.
Resources for Next Steps:
College Guide for Students with Disabilities: Details about how college disability support offices provide services to students.National Center on Secondary Education and Transition Website: Hands-on guides and links that focus on transition for students with disabilities.Think College Website: National resource for students with I/DD, families, and professionals that provides tools and strategies for getting started. NC Postsecondary Education Alliance Website: Current information on PSE options for students with I/DD and information about the NC PSE Alliance.Overview of NC Postsecondary Education Options for Students with I/DD: Description of options for students with I/DD currently offered at NC colleges.