High School to College: Accommodations vs. Accessibility-Are you Ready?

Advocacy is the key word for exceptional students transitioning to college. Students and parents will need to ask for any accommodations in college. These supports are not automatically transferred like an IEP is transferred from school to school.

Colleges and universities do not modify assignments or curriculum. Everyone must do the same work; however, the special education students are provided accommodations to access the curriculum.

College students will have access and support, but unless they request it, colleges will not be able to help. Students must prove they need accommodations. Usually, this is communicated before a student accepts or declines admission. Parents and students would be well served to set up a private meeting at the college during the initial tour to see if the department of disability (at the college or university) is a good fit for the student.

This is a basic list of the differences in modifications and accommodations from high school to college and is not limited to the following.

High School

Laws under IDEA; entitlement, modifications and accommodations are written into the IEP
Accommodations are provided based on need
Schools must provide assistance
Modified assignments in all classes based on IEP accommodations
Students have annual goals
Parent meetings are encouraged


Laws under ADA and there is no IEP
Only need to provide access to the curriculum
Class syllabus will not be altered; no modifications in curriculum
Students have a choice to attend each class but absences are not excused
Support for services at the department of disability on campus
No modified assignments
No parent meetings


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.