Identifying Postsecondary Options
Students who complete high school have several postsecondary options. Unfortunately, many high school graduates, including students with disabilities, are not adequately prepared to succeed in postsecondary education.
Students are strongly urged to “research postsecondary education programs. Students with disabilities may select any program for which they are qualified but should be advised to carefully review documentation standards and program requirements for their program or institution of interest. For example, students should pay close attention to an institution’s program requirements, such as language or math, to avoid making large financial and time commitments--only to realize several years into a program that they cannot, even with academic adjustments, meet an essential requirement for program completion. Campus visits, which include visits to the disability services office, can be helpful in locating an environment that best meets a student’s interests and needs. In addition, while all institutions have a legal obligation to provide appropriate services, certain colleges may be able to provide better services than others due to their size or location (Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 2007).
Part of the research on postsecondary institutions or programs should be to ensure that the school and/or program is properly accredited or registered--including documentation that program completers will be prepared and eligible to take industry-approved certification or licensing exams:
- Apprenticeship programs should be registered with the State Apprenticeship Council and/or the United States Department of Labor.
- Career and Technical Education programs offered by industry groups, trade associations, or employers should be approved or accredited by the applicable industry.
- Independent postsecondary/proprietary schools, colleges, and universities should be accredited by one of several regional or national accrediting bodies.
For more information on accreditation, see Accreditation in the A-Z Library (http://project10.info/DetailPage.php?MainPageID=203).
The following resources provide information on identifying, evaluating, and preparing for postsecondary options.
NEW! Online Schools
Provides a database of online schools and universities including information on the types of programs they offer--certificate, training, and bachelor/master/doctoral degrees. Additional features include a virtual library, study hall, blog, issues forum, and more. Be sure to check out the virtual directory for Florida at http://www.onlineschools.org/guides/florida/.
Florida Virtual Campus (FACTS.org)
The Florida Virtual Campus is Florida's online learning resource center containing information on online courses and programs, financial aid, college and career planning, and information that was previously available on FACTS.org. Students who have electronic Personal Education Plans (ePEPs) may access them on the Florida Virtual Campus through January 2013.
Student Transitional Guide to College
Written by Brett Cunningham when he was a college freshman with the intent of helping other students with disabilities prepare for college.
Florida College Systems Brochure
Introduces prospective students to the Florida College System and describes how they should prepare to attend an institution in the system.
Florida NEXT Magazine
This “guide to life after high school” includes information on careers, college, finances, planning, “What’s next for you?”, and more for students. A Classroom Activity Guide is available under the “Teachers’ Lounge” heading where educators can also register to receive monthly eNEXTletters.
Career and Adult Education, Florida Department of Education
Provides links to information on postsecondary education options in Florida including career planning and resources, adult education, career academies, apprenticeships, industry certifications, the General Educational Development (GED) diploma, and other resources related to career and technical education.
Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), Career and Technical Education, U.S. Department of Education
Contains links to federal fact sheets on career and technical education; the National Research Center on Career and Technical Education; the National Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education; and more.
Office of Apprenticeship, U.S. Department of Labor
Contains information on registered apprenticeships in the United States including answers to common questions about apprenticeship, the "Earn Learn Succeed" newsletter, research on apprenticeships, and a new Apprenticeship Community of Practice for apprentices, employers, and national sponsors to recruit apprentices and share experiences, best practices, and innovations.
Going To College
Designed to help high school students with disabilities prepare for college by providing a safe place to learn about themselves, what to expect in college, advocating for themselves, and selecting a college that is a good match for their interests and needs. Each section is introduced by videos of college students who describe their college experiences. Resources include a student portfolio and information for parents and educators, including “teacher toolbox” activities for use in the classroom.
Preparing for Postsecondary Education
Provides an overview of self-advocacy, rights, responsibilities, and other issues students with disabilities need to consider when exploring postsecondary education.
Transition of Students with Disabilities to Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators
Provides information on the civil rights of students with disabilities regarding the admissions process, disability documentation, and disability support services. Also identifies eight keys to success including taking an appropriate preparatory curriculum in high school and carefully researching postsecondary programs.
Effective College Planning
Provides helpful information regarding the shift from high school to college for students with disabilities including transition planning, legal rights and responsibilities, choosing a college, and college success. Published in 2007 by the Western New York Collegiate Consortium of Disability Advocates (WNY-CCDA).
Office for Civil Rights. (2007, March). Transition of students with disabilities to postsecondary education: A guide for high school educators. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transitionguide.html
| The development of this website was funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
through a grant by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services,
Florida Department of Education (2010 - 2011, 291-2621A-1C008).