Student Accessibility Services

Transitioning to College



There are several factors to consider as you make your transition to college. The following information and suggestions are intended to help guide you through the process:

1. Start taking the right classes early on to get into college. To review the University's admission requirements, visit UNI Admissions.

2. Complete a college admissions test. You are encouraged to take these tests with accommodations. Work with your school counselor to request accommodations and make any necessary arrangements.

3. You will not be asked to disclose your disability in your admissions application.

4. It is in your best interest to contact in advance the accessibility services office at each institution you are considering to discuss possible accommodations. Accessibility services processes differ across institutions. You want to find a good fit with both your institution and the services offered.

5. At the college level, registration with accessibility services is the responsibility of the student. Once you have chosen to attend the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), you can begin the registration process with Student Accessibility Services (SAS).

6. The services you receive in college might be different from the IEP/504 Plan you had in high school. Your individualized access plan at UNI will be based on your self-report, supporting documentation, and history of accommodations.

7. Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student with support from SAS.

Considering the University of Northern Iowa

Prospective students with disabilities interested in UNI are encouraged to contact SAS for more information about this department, access, and UNI. Contact SAS either at (319) 273-2677 (deaf or hard-of-hearing, use Relay 711) or

The disability service model in higher education is very different from the one students (and parents) are accustomed to in K-12. Students’ self-advocacy responsibilities increase within postsecondary education due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Parents especially need to foster this change and encourage their students to empower themselves with the appropriate skills to be self-reliant. Responsibility for the postsecondary experience lies in the hands of the student.

UNI faculty are not expected to provide accommodations for students with disabilities without proper notification from SAS and the student. Students may initiate the accommodation process at any time. However, accommodations are not retroactive, and the registration process takes time. Therefore, SAS always recommends that students initiate the process as soon as possible rather than wait for academic and social-emotional responsibilities to become overly stressful and/or overwhelming.

Differences Between High School and College/University

Self-Disclosure & Self-Advocacy: In high school, the school conducts assessments to identify and evaluate students with disabilities. The school also notifies instructors who are the students with disabilities in their classes. The primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the school with support from parents/guardians. In college, students need to self-identify by registering with Student Accessibility Services to receive accommodations. Students are responsible for notifying instructors of their accommodation plan. Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student with support from SAS.

Use of Accommodations: In high school, the school often initiates accommodations and services for students. In college, students initiate request for accommodations and meetings with faculty and SAS. Students have a right to refuse to request or use accommodations.

Academic Expectations: In high school, school may modify academic standards for students with disabilities. Examples include fewer homework assignments or changes in test formats. In college, students with disabilities are expected to meet or exceed academic standards. Accommodations are designed to level the playing field and provide equal chance at academic success.