Preparing for College

Transitioning from high school to college can be a confusing process, especially for a student with special needs. DCSEAC put together some information, resources, links and FAQs in hopes of guiding you and your student/s on the journey to college.

Be Prepared Early

·       Test accommodations for college level entrance exams need to be applied for separately from state standardized testing. It doesn’t happen automatically as part of your student’s IEP. Your case manager generally will apply, per your request, around December prior to the Spring testing dates when your student is a Junior.  You may also apply for accommodations privately via the ACT/SAT websites.

·       You will need current testing (less than three years old) documenting your child’s diagnosis. Please refer to the below links for detailed information about SAT/ACT accommodation requirements.  The below links will take you directly to the ACT or SAT websites with detailed information about accommodations.

·       Your student’s Case Manager is also a great resource of information about applying for accommodations, setting a timeline, and what documentation you will need. Make sure  to start the process early. We recommend planning ahead even as early as Sophomore year to make sure testing is current and accommodations are discussed before applying for ACT/SAT accommodations.

SAT and ACT Accommodations: IECA-ACT and SAT accommodations brochure

Prep Classes

·       Many ACT/SAT prep classes are offered in the area. Ask them if they also have programming for students with disabilities. Some offer private tutoring, smaller classes and programming for students with learning disabilities. Check with your high school’s counseling office for a list of recommended test prep agencies.

What happens to my student’s IEP in college? 

·       In higher education you no longer have an IEP; the laws of IDEA 2004 do not apply once the student is in college. However, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), colleges must provide “reasonable accommodations” to those in need. In other words, it’s up to you to document your learning disability and request accommodations from your institution. Inquire about each school’s disability programming to learn how that might look for your student’s individual needs.


Finding a College/University

·       We highly recommend touring one of Colorado’s local university’s disability programs to get an idea of what types of services are available — and how college looks different than high school to a student with disabilities.

Applying for Disability Services

·       Once your student is accepted into a college/university, then they may apply for disability services. You do not disclose a disability on a college application.  Not all schools have disability services, so make sure to research when you are applying. Make sure to make an appointment with the Disability Services program on your college visits as well. 

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