Transitioning to College

Your student is about to transition to college. We understand that this transition is challenging for families and can be particularly concerning to those students with disabilities and their families.

Until now, you have likely worked closely with your student’s study team to make sure that she/he/they received accommodations in high school. In high school, it is the institution’s responsibility to identify students with disabilities. As a result, you likely set up an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The institution the student was attending was responsible for identifying, testing, and providing accommodations for students with disabilities.

At the university level, the service model changes significantly. At the University of Chicago, students must identify themselves to Student Disability Services (SDS) and are expected to initiate the process of applying for accommodations.

At the college level, families of students with disabilities may encourage their student to apply for necessary accommodations, and then step back and let him/her/them take on the responsibility of participating in an interactive process with the University. Part of the independence your student will gain by going to college includes making the choice about whether or not to pursue disability accommodations.

You can help by:

  • Looking over this website together with your student.
  • Reviewing your student’s IEP or 504 Plan and making sure they know what the diagnosis says and can explain what accommodations have been helpful.
  • Visiting the Documentation Guidelines page for information on documentation guidelines to be sure that your student comes to the University with all of the necessary paperwork and understands the procedure for requesting accommodations.
  • Encouraging your student to promptly contact SDS with any questions or concerns (773-702-6000 or
  • If your student would like to use approved accommodations in a course, she/he/they must share with a faculty member a copy of his/her/their SDS-provided Accommodation Determination Letter. Eligibility letters must be shared at the start of the quarter, or as soon as possible after receiving a determination of eligibility from SDS in order to alert the instructor that she/he/they will be using accommodations for that course.