Q: Is it advisable to seek out accommodations before arriving at college?
A: Yes, by all means, do so. Establishing contact with the Disability Resource Office (DRC) before arrival at your selected college is a tremendous step forward for academic success. The DRC can inform you of the procedures for obtaining academic accommodations, or accessibility to the campus is facilitated. They can prepare for your arrival. It also allows you to learn what the DRC will need to honor an accommodations request.
Q: Should a disabled student wait “a semester or two” to see “how things go” before seeking academic accommodations?
A: In my perspective, no. I have interviewed many students who waited to apply for academic accommodations regarding their disabilities. I have yet to meet one who was happy that they did so. The overwhelming majority soon failed to meet academic standards, dropping their GPA. Disabled students were forced to play “catch up” for the remainder of their school careers.
Q: Do I need documentation of a disability to obtain academic accommodations?
A: The school policies provide the answer. Many schools do require documentation of a disability. Many DRCs will assist a disabled student in obtaining the necessary documents. However, Section 504 does not require documentation to receive academic accommodations. One should contact the DRC at the college of choice to ascertain how that particular school determines eligibility for accommodations. Many colleges rely on their disability advisors to make that determination.
Q; If I use a service dog to access the campus, must I notify the Disability Resource Center that I am doing so?
A: No, the ADA allows you the Civil Right to use a service dog without notifying or gaining permission from anyone on campus. Unfortunately, some schools will attempt to bully disabled students with service dogs into abiding by eclectic school rules on campus. A disabled student needs to prepare to self-advocate for the use of their service dog without campus interference.