Suggestions for Parents and Students
After being accepted to Susquehanna University, parents and students should start preparing for college life. As a student with a disability, it is imperative that all the issues surrounding college attendance be anticipated. Even the most independent high school student may not be prepared for the changes in work load and responsibility that are expected in college.
Suggestions for Parents
Share and discuss all psychoeducational test data and academic history. Students should have a clear understanding of their academic strengths and needs to better understand how these disabilities may affect learning in the classroom. Help the student to articulate their expected needs to professors and other staff.
If appropriate, contact a physician in the Selinsgrove area if choosing to change the monitoring/prescription process for medications. Students should be reminded that sharing or selling controlled substances, such as Ritalin, Adderal, Concerta, Stratera, etc. is illegal.
Help the student arrange or order e-texts, books-on-tape, software or hardware (Palm Pilots, laptops, PC), etc. Contact the coordinator of disability services as soon as possible when requesting e-texts or audio books as soon as the student's course schedule is confirmed.
Purchase assistive technology, appropriate computer equipment, special alarm clocks and software. Make sure that the student has enough time to learn new software so they are ready for the first day of class.
Put together a list of names and resources for on-campus and off-campus services, such as campus security, the Health Center and coordinator of disability services. Eliminate or adjust curfew to allow the student time to adjust to this new freedom.
Set up a bank account and instruct students how to use it.
Discuss expectations about grades, attendance and drug and alcohol use.
Discuss the family health care plan and how the student can access health services.
Suggestions for Students
Contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as the need for accommodations is known. After a schedule is confirmed, some accommodations may include requesting e-texts from a publisher or obtaining simple classroom accommodations such as extended testing time.
Gain a full understanding of academic strengths/needs and practice articulating them as would be done towards a professor or other staff member on campus. It is important to know that learning difficulties may directly affect writing, reading, test-taking and note-taking skills.
Set realistic goals and priorities for course work. This might mean, e.g., limiting involvement in extra-curricular activities or taking a reduced course load during the first semester or when taking particularly demanding courses. College-level work and related assignments are often much more difficult and time consuming than in high school.
Speak with professors early in the semester about accommodations and difficulties with the class.
Develop a semester calendar and weekly calendar listing all of assignments and due dates.
Consider taking difficult courses during the summer when time can be spent focusing exclusively on those courses. They can be taken at Susquehanna in the summer or, with the prior approval of the student advisor and Office of the Registrar, at another college. The credits will be transferred so long as a "C-" or above is earned in the course. (Grades do not transfer in from other schools, but credits do. This will not affect your grade-point-average at Susquehanna.)
Create a balanced schedule by taking more demanding classes with less demanding classes.