When should a prospective student make contact with the disability support office?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

When should a prospective student make contact with the disability support office?

Jane McClure
Partner McClure, Mailory & Baron Educational Counseling

When should a prospective student make contact with the disability support office?

Here is my video response to the question.

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

Knowledge and self advocacy are power.

A student may contact a DSS office anytime. The sooner the better. Did you know that the DSS office may not contact the admissions office and discuss you? Your rights to privacy are protected so stand up and ask questions!

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Contacting the Disability Support Office

Determining if the school will be able to meet your learning needs goes hand in hand with your application. You definitely don't want to wait until after being accepted to find out that they can't accommodate your needs. Use your college search time to talk to current users of the services. You will need to advocate for yourself once you arrive on campus, so you might as well start right now.

Christina Reynolds
Guidance Counselor

When should a prospective student make contact with the disability support office?

There is not a specific time where the student should make contact with the DSS office, it depends on the situation and the student. If you want information about their support services which will influence your decision on whether you will apply to that school you can contact them to find out that information. If not then after you receive your admissions decision you can contact the office to discuss the support they can offer you. If you decide to go to that school make sure you make the office aware of your disability and submit the paperwork they need so that when you start school you can take advantage of the support they will give you.

Donovan Blake
Lead Consultant Griffin Blake Educational Consulting


You should make immediate contact with the disability support office of the college. You need to find out if they will accept your current IEP, or if you will need to get updated testing. You should set up a time to meet with one of their representatives to review your specific needs. If they don't offer the supports that you need, move on to the next school on your list.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

College Visit

I recommend that the student visits the DSS office as part of each college visit. Call ahead of time and make an appointment with the support staff. You should see how active the office is, what types of accommodation are offered and the facilities available. Among other questions, you should ask if special application is required, what auxiliary testing is required and if there are extra fees charged for the special programs as well as what accommodations and services are available.

Nicholas Umphrey

When should a prospective student make contact with the disability support office?

By phone after you have sent in your deposit. In person right after you unpack your dorm room.

็Ž‹ๆ–‡ๅ› June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

during you college visits

it is especially important for special learning students to visit the college campuse and interview the program as early as possible. yes, the student and parents can learn the programs in a great deal from marketing materials. it is not the same when you can actually talking to someone in person. so, pick up the phone and make the appointment now.

Stacey Kostell
Director of Undergraduate Admissions University of Illinois

Research schools wisely and make contact prior to applying.

The college search process can be more involved for students with disabilities. When you start researching colleges, you should review the list of services they offer to students with disabilities. Through each university website, you should be able to find a list of what is provided. You should contact the offices that handle disability services when you decide where you want to submit an application. Communicate directly with them to discuss the details of what they can offer. For example, at Illinois there are a wide variety of services for students with disabilities and the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) can work with you to discover what you need and the best way to provide assistance. This type of information is important to have before you apply and especially before you accept an offer of admission.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Visit with Disability Support

If you visit the college, make an appointment with the office beforehand so you can ask questions and see their facility. Know what they offer and what they require from you. If you cannot visit, call the office and have a list of questions ready. I believe you must get to know the college's DSS as soon as possible to see if it matches your needs.