High School vs College

High School Records

Many of the policies and procedures for serving students with disabilities change dramatically from high school to college. You may, or may not, be eligible for the same or similar accommodations that you had in high school. However, high school records can be very helpful in figuring out strategies that are more likely to work for you.

Remember, you are entering a different educational system when you transition from high school to postsecondary education. Many of the requirements, policies, procedures, and accommodations will be different. Take a moment to review the information regarding transitioning on the Department of Education's website. We will work with you to make your transition as smooth as possible.

Applicable Laws

  • High School
  • l.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)

    A.D.A. (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)

  • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973

    Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • I.D.E.A. is about SUCCESS

    A.D.A. is about ACCESS

Required Documentation

  • High School
  • I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan and/or 504 Plan)

    High School I.E.P. and 504 are not sufficient. Documentation guidelines specify information needed for each category of disability

  • School provides evaluation at no cost to student

    Student must get evaluation at own expense

  • Documentation focuses on determining whether student is eligible for services based on specific disability categories in l.D.E.A.

    Documentation must provide information on specific functional limitations,and demonstrate the need for specific accommodations


  • High School
  • Student is identified by the school and is supported by parents and teachers

    Student must self-identify to the Office of Disability Services

  • Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the school

    Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student

  • Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance

    Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance

Parental Role

  • High School
  • Parent has access to student records and can participate in the accommodation process

    Parent does not have access to student records without student's written consent

  • Parent advocates for student

    Student advocates for self


  • High School
  • Teachers may modify curriculum and/or alter pace of assignments

    Professors are not required to modify curriculum design or alter assignment deadlines

  • You are expected to read short assignments that are then discussed, and often re-taught, in class

    You are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing which may not be directly addressed in class

  • You seldom need to read anything more than once, and sometimes listening in class is enough

    You need to review class notes and text material regularly

Grades and Tests

  • High School
  • I.E.P. or 504 plan may include modifications to test format and/or grading

    Grading and test format changes (i.e. multiple choice vs. essay) are generally not available. Accommodations to HOW tests are given (extended time, test proctors) are available when supported by disability  documentation

  • Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material

    Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material

  • Makeup tests are often available

    Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, you need to request them

  • Teachers often take time to remind you of assignments and due dates

    Professors expect you to read, save, and consult the course syllabus (outline); the syllabus spell out exactly what is expected of you, when it is due, and how you will be graded

Study Responsibilities

  • High School
  • Tutoring and study support may be a service provided as part of an I.E.P. or 504 plan

    Tutoring DOES NOT fall under Disability Services. Students with disabilities  must seek out tutoring resources as they are available to all students.

  • Your time and assignments are structured by others

    You manage your own time and complete assignments independently

  • You may study outside of class as little as 0 to 2 hours a week, and this may be mostly last-minute test preparation

    You need to study at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class for each hour in class