The Catholic University of America

 Transitioning to CUA

  • Postsecondary education is a stepping stone that provides:
    • an opportunity for students to experience their strengths and weaknesses in a new environment,
    • an environment that gives students equal access to all opportunities on campus,
    • an chance for students to develop the skills needed to go out independently into the world 
  • When and where to begin
    • Start Early- It is recommended that students start to look at colleges late Sophomore year or early Junior year.
    • Seek Out Financial Resources- The DSS office should be able to point you in the direction of scholarships and other resources.
    • Research Assistive Technology-Talk with VR or the DSS office about AT resources in your area.
    • Summer Transition Program Options- Consider attending a summer transition program the summer before entering college (some are also available to rising juniors). The DSS office has a list to assist you.
  • How to prepare students for the transition
    • Level of Coursework
    • Computer Skills (inc. AT)
    • Self-Advocacy Skills
    • Know the Documentation/ Understand the Disability
    • Be Able to Explain the Disability
    • Attend IEP meetings
    • Know the Schools Policies & Procedures  (including the student conduct code and FERPA laws)
  • Knowing what to expect: students role
    • Students are expected to be their own advocate. Understand their disability so that they can explain it to others.
    • Understanding: Students must become proficient at realistically assessing and understanding their weaknesses, strengths, needs and preferences.
    • Communicating: Students must be able to communicate information about their disability to others, including instructors and service providers.
    • Students must request accommodations and disclose them to their professors, after meeting with DSS.
    • Students should develop routines and structure before coming to college.
    • Students should develop effective time management skills. In college, time management, organization and general study skills take on an even greater importance.
    • Students with work closely with academic advisers to determine an appropriate course load.
    • Students should know and follow attendance policies and understand the consequences if they choose not to attend class.
  • Transition difficulties for students
    • Lack of advocacy skills
    • Lack of adequate academic preparation
    • Lack of adaptability with college level accommodations
    • Lack of assistive technology training and skills
    • Lack of appropriate documentation
    • Lack of time-management and organizational skills
    • Lack of independence and over-reliance on others for decision making and problem solving
  • Looking at services: questions to ask
    • What level of support do you provide?
    • Is there a fee for services?
    • Is there a separate orientation?
    • How do I apply for services?
    • What are your documentation requirements?
    • What happens once I apply?
    • How often will I need to meet with someone?
    • Who provides tutoring? Is there a fee?
    • What kind of tutoring is available?
    • Are there special courses that I can take?
    • What if I need special housing?
  •  What is an accommodation?
    • An accommodation allows a student to complete the same assignment or test as other students, but with a change in the timing, formatting, setting, scheduling, response and/or presentation.
    • It does not alter in any significant way what the test or assignment measures.
    • They are in place to “level the playing field”
  • Accessing services while at CUA
    • Each semester, the student needs to complete a request form to obtain an accommodation letter.
    • In college, it is the student’s responsibility to disclose his or her disability to instructors. 
    • Students must meet with their professor(s) to go over the accommodation letter
    • Depending on the accommodations, there may be additional paperwork required.
    • Prior to each test, the student should notify the professor of their desire to use the accommodations.
  • What if students don't want to use services right away?
    • Each student has the right to not use accommodations if they do not want them right away or at all.
    • Accommodations are not retroactive
    • It is generally a good idea to get fully registered with DSS-just in case
    • Advice- Get letters and give them to professors. The student can always decide not to use the accommodations if he/she does not think they are needed.
  • Helpful tips
    • If the student plans to disclose the disability to their professor(s) and use accommodations in class(es), then the student must meet with the professor(s) to go over the accommodation letter with him/her. We can give the student tips on how to do that. The earlier the better.
    • It is important to keep DSS informed of how things are going and if the student is not getting something that is needed.
    • Faculty can be a huge help in this process. Therefore, students should keep them informed as well.