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Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

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Home Resources Tool Kits Post-Secondary/College Tool Kit Starting the college transition

PART 9. What are tips for starting the college transition? 

Starting Spring and Summer of High School Senior Year

  • Register with your college’s disability services office, providing them with a copy of the most recent Evaluation Team Report (ETR) and Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  The college disability office may require a letter from your medical professional that provides your official diagnosis of autism and any other medical conditions and how they may impact your functioning in school and/or living on campus. This letter can help pave the way for receiving accommodations.

  • Schedule a meeting with the disability office to ensure you are properly registered with them, that they have all the documentation they need and to find out which accommodations and services you can receive and how to access them. Establish who your main contact is including if you have a disability staffer you can turn to for counseling.

  • If your college does not offer an accommodation you feel you need, ask if it is possible. Check out this list of potential accommodations to help you think of things you can ask for. [See accommodations list below]

  • Watch for various forms the college/school is likely to ask you to complete over the summer, usually through a secure online portal with a user ID and password. They are likely to send you reminders via email.

  • If you are requesting housing accommodations like having a single dorm room (rather than having a roommate), ensure you are clear on the process and what you need to do. This usually involves both the disability and housing offices.

  • Ask Disability Services if they offer priority registration so that you can register earlier and get the classes you need.

  • Find out when class registration for the first semester is and who you can meet with for advice on courses to take, and online registration and useful web pages to help you plan. Registration for fall semester may be early in the summer depending on the school.

  • Think about your capacity for class load in terms of how many and which kinds of classes you can handle, especially at the beginning when you are adjusting to school. Do you have a timeline for how fast you want/need to graduate that will be a factor in your number of credit hours per semester? How many credit hours minimum per semester you need to take in order to satisfy you loan or scholarship requirements?

  • Find out if your school offers counseling services which can be helpful during stressful times including the transition, how to access them and whether there is a cost or a limit to how many sessions are provided.

  • Find out when college orientation is held and if you need to register for specific events. If college is out of town, check on dorm accommodations for the orientation or if your family will travel together and stay in a hotel.

  • Consider transportation to and around campus. If you do not drive, will you take public buses? Are there campus shuttles? You can also practice using an Uber or Lyft service.

  • Get to know your campus, practice how you will get there and to your specific class locations once you know them. Plan your routine and how long it takes to walk from building to building.

  • Decide on your meal plan. Will you eat all your meals in campus dining halls or will you want to have some food in your dorm? Check out the varied dietary options and where they are offered.

  • Start shopping now!  What are things that may be of particular importance to make college life more comfortable and successful? Perhaps this means making sure that you have an area rug for the dorm room if your teen is extremely bothered by cold floors. Or this could be making highly organized binders and folders to help deal with possible executive functioning issues. Sensory toys and items like squeeze balls may be helpful.

  • Work on independent living skills, for example, doing laundry, budgeting spending money, taking any routine medications on a schedule and waking up on time. Try to keep your dorm room organized and clean so you can find things and feel comfortable.

  • If you have prescriptions, make sure you have a plan for getting them during the school year, especially if you are away from home. Also for making doctors appointments if there are specialists you see regularly.

  • Meet with your college’s Student Health Services to share your medical history and any issues you are concerned about. Is there information they should know about your medications, co-existing medical conditions, allergies, etc. ahead of time? Does the Student Health Service provide basic routine care such as for sinus infections, testing for strep throat, providing flu shots and do they charge for it? Is there a way to have medicine or soup delivered if I get a cold? 

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