Student Tips for Transition to Post Secondary Education

Note: This article is also available in French and the link is at the end of the article.

Colleges and universities expect students to be independent adults and to:

  • Make course selections
  • Attend courses
  • Meet deadlines to complete assignments and tests

In addition, college and university students may be:

  • Living away from home in a new city or community
  • Sharing a room or apartment
  • Paying bills and signing leases or utility contracts
  • Organizing meals, laundry and cleaning

Students with a disability have additional challenges as they may need to:

  • Arrange for disability supports or accommodations
  • Arrange specialized transportation
  • Direct personal care workers
  • Be responsible for their health care and medications

The following tips will help students to prepare for transition to college or university:

Tip 1 – Know Yourself:

  • Identify your dreams for the future
  • Know your strengths and needs, including those related to your disability
  • Understand what supports and equipment you need to be successful
  • Understand your diagnosis and what it means
  • Make sure reports and assessments are up to date
  • Find out how to get new assessments if necessary

Tip 2 – Find Out About the Post Secondary System:

  • Find out how to apply for post secondary school, college or university from the Guidance Department
  • Find out about the high school courses and marks you need to get into the college or university course
  • Visit the Colleges and Universities that interest you
  • Learn about disability services available at each College or University
  • Make a list of questions to ask when you visit a post secondary school

Tip 3 – Research Financial Assistance:

  • Find out about student grants and loans
  • Find out about scholarships and eligibility criteria, including those for individuals with disabilities, including:

Tip 4 – Use the Individual Education Plan (IEP) for Transition Planning:

For students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) transition planning is included as part of each IEP review.

  • Talk about your plans for post secondary school at each IEP review
  • Include research on college or university programs and disability services
  • Seek opportunities to experience various careers that interest you through co-op or volunteering
  • Identify steps that need to be taken by you and others for the transition to college or university
  • Include visits to prospective colleges and universities

Tip 5- Follow-up on Phone Calls and Meetings:

  • Make notes of key discussion from phone calls and meetings
  • Record the names and positions of people involved
  • Ask for copies of meeting minutes and other documents
  • Before the end of the call or meeting reconfirm the next steps, actions and future meetings
  • Complete all the tasks that were identified for your action (make appointments, provide information, etc.)

Tip 6 – Find Help in the Community:

  • Seek out information about support for people with disabilities and your rights
  • Attend career fairs, workshops or meetings that will provide information or support
  • Contact community agencies, student groups and organizations that provide support to students
  • Connect with other students who are attending college or university or who have graduated

Helpful Websites:

French translation:

French – Student Tips for Transitions to Post Secondary Education_rev_2016