Transitioning to College

polaroid of a group of new DU students in matching red shirts with their hands in the middle of a circle for a teambuilding activity.

The transition from high school to college or higher education poses significant challenges for virtually every new undergraduate. But for students requiring disability accommodations, it can be especially confusing, since laws that govern the rights and responsibilities of both students and academic institutions differ substantially between K–12 and post-secondary education.

Student Disability Services (SDS) is here to help you understand these differences and guide you through the transition process to ensure your educational access needs are met at DU.

Student Responsibilities

icon of a student with a backpack carrying a book

You're in the Driver's Seat Now!

At the collegiate level, students are responsible for disclosing their disabilities to designated college officials or department(s) and requesting accommodations, as well as obtaining the appropriate supporting documentation and providing it to the school. If you are approved for reasonable accommodations at DU, an Accommodations Specialist will be assigned to act as your SDS liaison.

Throughout this process, both before and after approval, you, not your parent(s) or guardian(s), will be responsible for the interactive process or actively engaging with the SDS office. This includes promptly informing your Accommodations Specialist if your accommodation(s) have become inadequate or resulted in undesirable outcomes. SDS will work with you to help to resolve any issues.

Helpful Documents for the College Transition

Differences in Disability Services from High School to College

Understanding your civil rights and responsibilities, as well as the differences in the accommodations process between K–12 and postsecondary education, is essential for a successful transition to DU. The following document highlights some of the main differences between these two settings:

Transition to Post-Secondary Education (U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights)

The previous document was adapted from the following transition guide, provided by the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Preparing for Postsecondary Education

The US Department of Education (DOE) also provides the following guide to further assist in your transition from high school to college.