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Getting Started

Young man looking at a laptop

Life at college and university is quite different than life at high school, and it is not always easy to know what to expect. It can be difficult to sort through all of the information that is available from different colleges and universities and to narrow it all down to the important details. This guide aims to bring together all of the information that you need in one place – to help ease this transition and put you on the path to success at post-secondary school.

For Students

Making the transition is an exciting and scary process, and even though it may be difficult, it’s important to take ownership of the process and work to become independent. When you arrive at college or university, the professors and staff will want to hear from you directly and not from your parents. Now is the time to gain the knowledge and tools that you need to take control of this exciting time in your life and to become a true self-advocate.

Steps for Using the Guide:

  1. Read all of the Resources sections to understand how students with disabilities are supported at post-secondary school and what you can expect when you get there.
  2. Read about your preferred colleges and universities in the Colleges and Universities sections. Follow the links and use the contact list to further your research and get more information about what’s important to you.
  3. Complete the individual school checklist for each institution in which you are interested.
  4. Visit the campuses of your top choices.
  5. Complete the final checklist to compare schools.
  6. Choose where to apply, and which college or university to attend.

For Parents, Guardians, Guidance Counsellors and Other Support People

The process of transitioning to post-secondary school can be a challenging process.  Many students will need a fair amount of support while making this transition, and that’s normal. At the same time, it is the person that is making the transition – the student – who needs to take ownership of the transition. This guide is here to help parents and educators learn about resources and supports available to students with disabilities, in order that they can help guide students through this process. It is also very important for students to learn this information themselves, and to prepare themselves in order to access accommodations and advocate for themselves once they reach post-secondary school.

Tips for parents in supporting your child through this transition:

  • Help your child write out a list of everything that they will need to prepare for post-secondary.
  • Help your child create a time line and checklist of important dates and deadlines.
  • Allow your child/student to work on the list independently, and provide support if requested.
  • Let your child know that you believe they are ready for this change, and are capable of making the transition independently.
  • Consider that if you are doing everything for your child, perhaps it’s not the right time for this transition.