Planning For College
You must start planning and taking action your junior and senior years if you want to be admitted to college and receive accommodations.
- Plan to apply for admission to Armstrong in the fall of your senior year. Plan to apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA form by March of your senior year. If you are planning to live on campus, apply for housing as soon as you are accepted for admission.
- Call and schedule an appointment with the coordinator of disability services as soon as you are accepted for admission. If you apply for accommodations at the last minute, you probably won't have accommodations in place when school starts.
- If you currently use test accommodations, do the paperwork with your high school counselor during your junior year to receive accommodations when you take the SAT or ACT. These scores are very important for admission and you want the scores to reflect your abilities at their best. It is very frustrating to be denied admission because your SAT/ACT scores are too low. You must request accommodations and provide documentation to the testing agencies well in advance of test dates. Take the tests early and consider taking them more than once. If a SAT or ACT test prep class is offered at your high school, take it!
- Be sure that you understand what the admission requirements for different colleges are and that you meet them. At the post secondary level, students with disabilities must be "otherwise qualified "... that is, they must meet all admissions and academic standards. That means you must have the required high school college prep curriculum, GPA, and SAT or ACT scores. If you do not meet the admission standards for your first choice of schools, consider a two year junior college or technical school. You may be able to transfer to your first choice school later after you have demonstrated academic success.
- Understand that there are some significant differences in the law and policies when you go to college. There are no special classes for students with disabilities. You must identify yourself to the Office of Disability Services, provide sufficient documentation of your disability, and carefully follow our office procedures in order to receive accommodations. Documentation requirements in college are usually rather extensive and the IEP is not usually adequate by itself. You may need your school counselor to help you update documentation or you may need to arrange to see a private physician or psychologist to complete documentation before the end of your senior year in high school. Getting updated documentation quite often takes months, so don't delay!
- Work on academic skills, library research skills, note-taking skills, test-taking skills and writing skills. Prepare for your school work to be harder and take longer than it did in high school. Plan on spending at least two hours studying for every hour you are in class. Assume you will have to do much of your learning independently. Assume you will have to read textbooks more than once to master the material.
- Prepare to start advocating for yourself instead of having your parents do it. Professors expect to talk to you as an independently-functioning, responsible adult. The Office of Disability Services will give you an Advocacy Letter every semester and you will need to meet privately with each professor and discuss it in order to receive accommodations. Insightfully think about and practice discussing how your disability impacts you in an educational setting. You must ask for services and follow procedures in order to receive your accommodations, so make sure you understand what your responsibilities are.
- Be realistic about your disability. This is definitely not a good time to be in denial or embarrassed about your limitations and need for accommodations. College academics are definitely going to be more demanding and require you to be at your best. It can be a little hard to discuss your limitations with a professor at first, but it's a lot harder to live with the consequences of poor grades. You are putting a lot of time, effort and money into college. Use all the tools that are available to help you succeed. Come to terms with your disability, learn the skills you need to deal with your disability, get over being embarrassed and use the accommodations and services you need now to be successful. Your future depends on it! If you are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty adjusting to your disability, consider talking to a counselor at the free Office of Counseling Services on campus. On Graduation Day, no students regret using the accommodations and have diplomas in their hands. Many students who don't use accommodations fail academically and regret it.
- Work on your independent living, time management and organizational skills. If you are going to be moving out of your parents' home, practice handling adult responsibilities like checkbooks, bill payment, car maintenance, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and obtaining prescriptions now so you are not overwhelmed with new responsibilities when you get here.
- If you are on medication for a psychological disorder or receiving other specialized medical care and moving to the Savannah area to attend AASU, we strongly recommend that you find a physician here in Savannah, have your medical records transferred, and make an appointment to meet the new doctor before school begins. In the throes of a medical crisis, it can be difficult to go back home for a medical appointment and it can be very difficult to schedule a crisis appointment with a local specialist if you are not already on his or her caseload. We have basic primary care available on campus and the nurse practitioner at our campus clinic can help you find an appropriate physician in this area.
- Read your college catalog carefully. It is an important reference tool that you need to keep and refer to often. It contains information about admission requirements, academic standards, course requirements, the Honor Code, majors offered, and services available.
- Attend the freshman orientation program, Navigate, one day over the summer before you start classes here. Also plan to take the Strategies for Success class your first semester to learn about resources and skills you need to be a successful college student.