Applying to a College or Program

Postsecondary applications must be timely, accurate and present compelling reasons to accept the student applying. This requires careful research to ensure that the program or school is a good match for the student's interests and abilities and that adequate time is allowed to meet or exceed all requirements and qualifications. For example, if a student is interested in a plumbing apprenticeship, he or she may want to demonstrate his or her interest by enrolling in a high school plumbing class and find a job as a plumber's helper or laborer for one or more summers before the application is due.

Applications should be letter-perfect--no typos or errors-- and submitted in advance of the deadline. Some schools and programs require interviews that are conducted on-site and usually include a campus tour. (If on-site interviews are not possible, arrangements can often be made for a local interview with an alumnus or alumna.) It is not unusual for a student to change his or her mind about a program or college after visiting the campus, so campus visits are highly recommended if possible.


The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
Assists students with disabilities to identify and prepare for postsecondary programs best suited to their individual needs and vocational goals. Occupational therapy practitioners can help design accommodations, or the environmental or activity modifications needed to support participation in a wide range of postsecondary education programs and activities.

Big Future - For Educators
Helps educators assist their students in planning for the future, relating to college and career plans. Big Future includes checklists, brochures, flyers and portfolios on a number of topics relating to college and career preparation including financial aid, college planning, academic portfolios and applying to college.

Checklists for College-Bound Students with Disabilities
Provides checklists for students with specific disabilities that describe resources and services to investigate, people to contact, info and more.

Differences between High School and College
Compares high school and college by a number of factors, such as level of responsibility, class size and format, faculty interaction, grades, resources and supports, attendance, time management and more.

Disability Rights Florida
Provides free and confidential advocacy system services for individuals with disabilities.

Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Publishes tests such as the PSAT, SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) tests that are required by many colleges and universities; contains relevant links and information on the documentation needed to take examinations with accommodations. Use the search feature to locate information on disability documentation, test takers with disabilities, or accommodations.

Existing National Postsecondary Sites
Provides a search engine to locate specific programs and includes a list of all postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities in the U.S.

Financial Aid information for Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary programs (CTP)
Explains how students with disabilities may be able to qualify for federal funding through CTP programs and include lists of eligible schools by state.

Florida Shines
FloridaShines is an informational hub for college and career topics. This website makes it easy to learn about degrees, register for an online course, get a transcript copy, or check out a book from any of Florida’s 40 state colleges or university libraries.

From School to College: A Transition Activity Calendar for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
This transition calendar lists tasks and activities (beginning in middle school) that students who are blind or visually impaired should complete in order to be ready to attend college after completing high school. Topics include taking the right courses, learning to use assistive technology, exploring career options and finding colleges with courses of study and campus life that match student interests and goals.

Going to College: A Resource for Teens with Disabilities
Offers three sections to resource students with disabilities interested in going to college: My Place, where students learn how to use their strengths, learning style and interests to set goals for college; Campus Life, where students can find out what to expect in college and what professors will expect from them; and Planning for College, where students learn what you can do now to prepare for and apply to college.

Major Differences Between High School and Postsecondary Disability Services
Provides a side-by-side comparison of disability services in high school and postsecondary education (IDEA and ADA).

The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET)
Coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance and disseminates information related to secondary education and transition for youth with disabilities in order to create opportunities for youth to achieve successful futures. Relevant resources include preparing for postsecondary education, postsecondary education supports and accommodations and self-determination for postsecondary students.

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) - COLLEGE AND CAREERS: 101 (pdf)
Demonstrates how secondary transition skills are integrated into College and Career Ready standards in English/Language Arts.

Set a Postsecondary Education or Training Destination and Map a Course to Get There (pdf)
This two-page handout developed by the PACER Center provides an overview of things for parents and students to consider in order to make a plan for a successful transition to postsecondary or training opportunities, including entrance exams, financial aid and engagement with other agencies.

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
Explains the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary institutions.

Think College! College Options for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Generates and shares knowledge, guides institutional change, informs public policy and engages with students, professionals and families in order to develop, expand and improve inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability.

To Do Lists for College-bound Students
Provides activities for students in high school