Tapping Campus Supports

Going to college brings greater independence and new experiences. It also comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is being your own advocate especially when it comes to asking for and receiving -accommodations-. Whether your parents were your biggest advocates in the past or you have had to be your own advocate, in college the responsibility of ensuring that you receive the accommodations to be successful is mostly on you.

Accommodations in College

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Before beginning any semester, it’s important to think about what types of accommodations you might need to perform better academically or even socially. Start the process by asking yourself what accommodations you may need in the classroom, during exams, and to complete assignments.

Click here to get specific examples for each of the above. And if you’re still unsure, here’s a video about one student’s experience asking for accommodations at her school.

What About Stigma

Sometimes mental health conditions are misunderstood. As a college student, you may face some of these misunderstandings and misconceptions. There are resources available to support you in overcoming stigma about mental illness.  Check out how this college student beat stigma in her life!

Read about nursing majors with mental health disabilities and learn what they have to say about making the decision to disclose, what to do to stay well, and how supports have been setup for students to help them be successful in their nursing programs.

Accommodation Process

If you find you need an adjustment or accommodation, the next step is to request one.  Every school’s accommodations request process may be different. Below are some general things you should know about requesting accommodations:

  • As a college student with a disability, it’s important to know your rights. Read on for an in-depth look at rights and mental health.
  • By law, in order for your college accommodation request to be considered you have to disclose your disability. Learn more on disclosure and students – laws specifically for college students.
  • Find out where the DisabilityService Center is on campus. If your school doesn’t have one, then try the Student Support Center. Schedule an appointment with one of those centers and find out about the types of accommodations the school can offer you.
  • Speed up the process by having a note from your doctor or therapist verifying your health situation. It should only have relevant information to get your request.
  • Prepare a list of accommodations you think you may need for different campus and classroom situations.
  • Either you or the disability service center will provide your professor(s) with a letter informing them you’ll need accommodations due to a disability.

Throughout your college career, your accommodations can be revised depending on how your needs change and what classes you take.

Other Available Supports

Schools want their students to succeed and that’s why they have a number of supports available. Although some supports may not be covered by your tuition, here are some basic student supports that are usually offered for free:

  • Writing Center
  • Counseling Centers
  • Career Center
  • Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
  • Tech Center
  • Academic Advisors
  • Tutoring Services

A great way to get access to even more supports is through a state’s Vocational Rehabilitation agency. In Massachusetts, this agency is the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission(-MRC-).

For additional resources of potential campus and community supports, check out these three websites: