Going to college can be a significant transition for both the student and the family. For many students this is the first time they are separating from the family and moving towards independence. This is an exciting time but the transition can also bring up concerns for both the family and the student. Students with disabilities and their families must also understand what it means to transition to a university with a disability and what steps to take in order to receive support from Disability Access Services (DAS) at OSU. The DAS parents and family website is a great place to help you understand the steps the student and family members will need to take in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.

If you are a new student, please visit our Getting Started with DAS page for registration procedures.

Step 1: Getting in and Getting Ready

Pre-Admission: Getting in and Getting Ready

For students and family members, it is important to understand the differences between high school and college in terms of students' legal rights and responsibilities, as well as the differences in structure and daily living that all college students face. To find out more please visit our differences between K-12 and Postsecondary education page and our Topics to Discuss for Transitioning to OSU for Students with Disabilities: A Guide for First-Year Students and Parents/Family.

It is also important to begin to understand what kinds of support services are available to students at OSU so that you can refer your student to the appropriate support services. Please visit our accommodations and other support services at OSU pages.


In college it is the student's responsibility to request disability accommodations. It is important that they understand their disability, their strengths, needs, challenges, and what works for them. In college there is a plethora of support available, but the students are responsible for seeking out services and supports. Being able to self-advocate is a crucial skill for students with disabilities. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Is my student ready to assume the responsibilities of a college student?
  • If not, how will she/he learn these responsibilities?
  • Can/how well does my student describe their disability information?
  • Can/How well does my child self-advocate? What can I do to encourage them to take the lead role?

Tips for Parents and Families

  • Talk about college life and how it is different from high school. You may want to reference our differences between K-12 and Postsecondary education site.
  • Encourage your student to practice advocating for themselves with people they don't already know.
  • Academics are very different in college. Encourage your student to take a college level class while still in high school.

Questions adapted from: Parent's Guide to College and Transitioning to College from High School, Office for Students with Disabilities, University of Texas Arlington.

Step 2: Disability Documentation

Disability Documentation

Many students making the transition from public high school to college have either an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 plan. It is important to note that a doctor's prescription-pad note or a school plan such as an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan is not sufficient documentation in and of itself, but can be included as part of a more comprehensive evaluative report. Please download our documentation information form for more information.

Disability documentation for postsecondary education is focused on the functional impacts of the disability on academic functioning. The process for becoming eligible for accommodations at a postsecondary institution is much different than becoming eligible for special education services in K-12 schooling, please see differences between K-12 and Postsecondary education page for a comparison of the eligibility processes.

Because we determine reasonable accommodations based on the current impact of a student's disability it is important that documentation and testing is recent, please see the documentation information form for more specific information.

Step 3: OSU Orientation

Attending OSU's Orientation and Advising

It is highly recommended that all new students attend START, OSU's summer orientation, advising, and registration program. Please visit the Office of Student Orientation website for more information about OSU's orientation programs.

Disability Accommodations for the START program

Accommodations for START programs are arranged through New Student Programs and Family Outreach. Students or family members who will need disability accommodations to participate in START should contact the NSPFO office at 541-737-7627 at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled program date.

Advising and registration

Disability status is protected by law and we will not disclose this information to any outside office, organization, or person without the student's consent. It is not required that a student discloses his or her disability to an academic advisor or any other staff member at the university. However it may be helpful for the student to understand when and how to disclose his or her disability to other university staff and faculty. Please visit the United States Department of Labor website, for tips on The Why, When, What, and How of Disclosure.

It is important to note that if a student is requesting disability accommodations through a course we do notify the course instructor before the first week of each term of the accommodations the student has requested, but the nature of the disability is kept confidential.

Meeting with DAS during START

DAS holds drop-in hours from 1 PM to 4 PM on the second day of START. During drop in hours students will have the opportunity to meet with DAS staff and request accommodations if documentation has been received and the student has registered for fall term classes.

If complete documentation has not been received, students and family members will have an opportunity to meet with staff, follow up with any documentation/testing questions, and to find out more information about our office. Students may wish to schedule their required DAS orientation at this time.

Step 4: DAS Orientation

The DAS Orientation

All students requesting accommodations for the first time are required to meet with a DAS staff member to become oriented to the program and receive information on how to request accommodations each term. Accommodation requests are done through DAS Online Services, a web portal designed to facilitate the accommodation process. During the DAS orientation students new to DAS have the opportunity to connect with a staff member, have their questions answered, and receive their log-in to DAS Online Services.

Students should plan to schedule their orientation soon after they move into housing in September. Many students schedule their orientation during CONNECT week, which is the week before classes begin. CONNECT week is a great opportunity for students to become a part of the OSU community by attending events for new and returning students to kick off the upcoming academic year.

Step 5: Support Throughout the Academic Year

Support Throughout the Academic Year

All college students go through an adjustment period throughout the transition period. The OSU Parents and Family website provides parents and family members with more information about supporting your student throughout the year. As a parent or family member of a student with a disability, you will also want to be aware of the support services available to OSU students so that you can encourage your student to self-advocate or seek the appropriate support when needed.

For more information, please see refer to Campus Resources as well as these helpful sites: