Virtual College Campus Tour for Individuals with Disabilities

[ Background Music ]>>Colleges and universities come in many
different types and sizes, from a small single building technical college to a huge university
with many large buildings. That gives you a lot of choices but here is a simple tour
of different college types to help you sort out your options.>>Technical colleges tend to offer 2-year
programs that concentrate on teaching knowledge and skills for a specific career. Students
who leave these institutions will be job ready with specific career skills. Technical colleges
tend to be smaller and may not have some of the amenities we typically associate with
large colleges like dormitories. Community colleges also tend to offer 2-year programs
where students can begin working on a bachelor’s degree and then transfer to a 4-year university
to complete their schooling. Community colleges also offer 2-year career programs that prepare
you for a specific career. Like technical colleges, they are typically smaller than
4-year colleges and universities. There are also schools like the Minneapolis Community
and Technical College that combine the technical and community college. State universities
are generally larger than other colleges and offer a large variety of degrees and majors.
They typically include many buildings and you may have to travel a large distance to
get from one class to another. Oftentimes, large universities will have their own bus
or transit system to help you get from one part of the university to another. Because
universities are large in size, they typically also have larger class sizes. Universities
also will offer the largest variety of options for housing and student activities. All colleges
and universities are different but there are few features that are common among many of
them. Many colleges have a library for students to use where they can check out books, do
research and find a quiet place to study. Many of your classes will require you to purchase
books and many colleges have a bookstore on site where you can buy new or used textbooks
and other items like discounted computer software. Depending on the size of the school you are
attending you might find food options available anywhere from a small coffee shop to a large
cafeteria. You might even have several options for places to eat. Every college and university
has a variety of clubs and student organizations that are a great way to socialize and meet
new people. Clubs could be centered around hobbies, sports, academics, cultural backgrounds
and more. [ Background Music ]>>To help us learn more about college life
and the types of services available, let’s talk to the director of the Office for Students
with Disabilities at a community college and a student that is currently attending college
who uses disability services.>>Hi, I’m Debbie Tillman, the Director of
the Office for Students with Disabilities at Normandale Community College. In the past
I was also a special education teacher at the high school level.>>My name is Ann Motl. I’m a junior at the
University of Saint Thomas. My major is mechanical engineering and I went to Staples Motley High
School.>>The college environment can be very different
from the one that you experience in high school. In high school, teachers always check your
completed work. In college, professors may not even look at your homework but they assume
that you’ve learned the information that they asked you to perform. In high school, teachers
might remind you to get work completed whereas professors in college might not do that. They’ll
expect you to read, save, and consult the syllabus and know exactly what’s going on
in the class without them telling you what is in the class.>>A big difference between college and high
school is your schedule. It’s definitely not set at 8 to 5 or 8 to 3 ’cause now you have
a class that’s spread out during the day. You might have an 8 a.m. class and then not
another one until 6 p.m. so you need to make sure that during the breaks you’re getting
stuff you need to or getting stuff done that you need to like your homework. I always think
it’s really good. Just review yourself right after you get out of class before you forget
or do your homework right away just because that way it’s still fresh in your mind and
it’s little things like that you need to get used to from high school because now you all
have this time but then okay, it’s finals week and you’re like whoa, I don’t have any
time so, just time management is huge.>>In high school, teachers are available
before, during and after class and they may ask students if they need additional assistance.
In college, professors expect students to initiate the contact and see them during the
scheduled office hour.>>When I was a freshman I didn’t realize
how important office hours would be and then I actually started going and realized oh,
my professors do wanna help me, like they have a time so decide for that and so that
was really helpful to go there and then like getting to know you which is good too.>>At high school, teachers provide information
about missed work. Professors in college expect students to get notes from someone else in
class if they missed class for a particular day. Teachers at high school try to write
all the information on the board. Professors in college may lecture nonstop and they expect
students to identify the important points and they may or may not write on the board
although most do use a PowerPoint. In high school, tests are frequent and cover small
amounts of material. In college, the tests are infrequent and cover a large amount of
material. High school students are required to read short assignments that are discussed
and re-taught in class whereas in college students are assigned substantial amounts
of reading and writing which may not be directly taught in class but they’ll be expected to
know on a test or a quiz. In high school, grades are often given for assigned work and
students can receive substantial amounts of points for attendance. Colleges usually grade
on a few tests and papers and daily work may not even be graded. In college, a student
could have perfect attendance and could fail the course if they didn’t do any of the work.
High school involves being in class about 30 hours a week whereas in college you will
be in class 12 to 16 hours a week. College students have to spend a lot more time out
of class studying whereas in high school a lot of that school work could be done while
they are in class during the day. This information is also available at The kind
of housing that’s available while going to college varies from person to person and from
school to school. Some students choose to live in a dormitory on campus but other schools
don’t provide a dormitory, so there is the option for students to get an apartment either
with other people or by themselves. Students can also choose to live at home while they
go to school, and that’s a way to get support from their family and live close to where
they’re going to school. Transportation in the post secondary level is very different
from a high school. The post secondary institution does not provide transportation for students
so students have to figure out on their own how they’re going to get to the college. They
could use public transportation. They could drive their own car. They could walk. They
could use a bicycle. I mean there are a lot of modes for transportation. If a student
has a physical disability they have a couple options as well. If you live in the metro
area you could use a service such as metro mobility that you would need to make sure
you have in place before you start school. You could be dropped off by a parent or a
friend or you could drive yourself if that’s a possibility. Some institutions will provide
busses and other transportation within the university setting so that’s also a possibility
for transportation. A major is the course of study that you choose to go for when you’re
in college. So, some people have a major of education or psychology or business. Those
are all majors but so are culinary, law enforcement, carpentry. Those are majors. Choosing a major
is different depending on the program that you would like to be in at a college campus.
If a student is interested in a career program, those classes are basically chosen for you
so your major is chosen by being in that career program. For instance, if you are going to
be on a culinary program, your major would be culinary and so you would go to a school
that has culinary classes. Certain schools don’t have culinary classes but if you wanna
go for culinary you’d wanna go to a college with a culinary program and those classes
would be very specific and then you’d have a major chosen.>>Most students though don’t have a major
when they first go to college. They might go to a community college and say I’m just
doing my generals and that’s liberal arts, they’re doing their first 2 years of general
curriculum. If they go to a 4-year college, it’s the same way generally for most majors.
And then by the end of the second year, once you’ve done the 60 credits you’ll need to
have picked a major. Some people change their minds many times on a major and they’ll even
switch schools depending on their major. So, you don’t have to have a major but if you’re
going to go in a specific career program that major is determined upfront before you even
start school. Many resources are available to help a student pick a college. The biggest
resource is the internet. You can use a search engine and find nearly any college in the
world and find a lot of information depending on the quality of the website. So I would–I
always refer students to go to the website and find things. There’s a specific site that
was very helpful that was developed by the PACER Center called and you can
find a lot of information about schools through that website. The other places that you can
get information about choosing colleges is taking a career class, going to a career center
both at a college or at a high school, talking to your counselor, talking to a teacher and
talking to other people you know and having them give you information about colleges that
they may have attended or programs that they have experienced themselves. When making a
decision about where you’d like to attend college there are a lot of things to consider.
Fortunately, there are many choices in the state of Minnesota and in the Twin City area.>>There was a lot of planning. I planned
for college basically from the time I was a freshman in high school just because you
need to do all the applications, the ICT, SAT, scholarship applications so just plan
as early as you can because there’s so much to get done. In that way you can just enjoy
your time after you’ve finished all those applications and everything you need to do,
so.>>The first thing that I would think about
is your career choice, your career path. Certain colleges are gonna have that option that they’re
thinking about. For instance, if they’re looking at carpentry or culinary or law enforcement,
they’ll wanna go to a specific school. So taking into consideration the career plan
is really important.>>I knew that I wanted to go for engineering
and my mom wanted me to stay in Minnesota ’cause it’s close so basically my options
were the U of M or Saint Thomas. At first, I really wanted to go to the U just because
it’s so much bigger and I thought it would be really great but I actually toured both
places twice and the second time I’m like oh my gosh, I have to go to Saint Thomas.
I’m like oh man, I could not imagine going from like west bank to east bank in the winter.
I don’t think it would have worked very well with my wheelchair and so.>>The other thing to consider is if they’re
looking to have a 2-year degree or a 4-year degree. If they would like to get a 2-year
degree in law enforcement that can be started and completed at a community college. But
if a student would like a 4-year degree in law enforcement, they could start that at
a community college and end it at a 4-year institution. Or they could do the whole thing
at a 4-year institution. So there are very many choices for students to think about depending
on what their other needs in their life are. If you’re not–don’t have a major and you
don’t know what you wanna do, community colleges offer the opportunity for you to do your general
education requirements. Most 4-year degrees require 2 years of general ed. Another consideration
is cost. Within most states, you have the choice between public colleges and private
colleges. Public colleges in the state of Minnesota are two large systems. The first
large system is the University of Minnesota system and if students go to the University
of Minnesota system, that’s a public system and it’s going to be less costly. MNSCU, the
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is another large system and that’s what community
colleges, technical colleges and their 4-year colleges are involved in. And those are generally
less expensive than a private college. Now, sometimes a private college is a better option
and that’s because privates might have a very specific program, just what you want, that
you can finish in maybe a year or 18 months because it might continue through the summer.
So going to a public college is not always the best choice for everyone. Going to a private
college is not always the best choice for everyone. But you have to think about the
cost. The cost will vary a lot between a private and a public. Financial aid is generally provided
at the college through the financial aid office. So just like other students who don’t have
a disability, people with disabilities need to do their FAFSA and need to apply for financial
aid assistance. However, sometimes colleges will have a specific scholarship or foundation
money that’s available for people with disabilities so you should check with your financial aid
office about that. Grants may also be available through a student’s parent’s place of work.
You can find additional financial aid information too on the C3 website.>>Well, I think both the UM and Saint Thomas
has an issue because not all the buildings are accessible ’cause of older, older buildings.
I know here there’s a few buildings that I’ll never have classes in just because there’s
no entrance that’s accessible so, I have priority registration so when I sign up for classes
I can get them switch other buildings where I don’t have to take a class in that building.
And I thought at Saint Thomas just because it was private and it’s not like funded by
the state, they wouldn’t have to be accessible but they still do.>>When students decide on a place that they
want to attend to go to college, there are people on those campuses, staff people, that
can help you choose your classes. Most colleges require that students attend an advising and
registration session and staff at those advising and registration sessions help students pick
their classes. Additional assistance of picking out class can be provided by other staff on
campus including counselors, disability services, career center and student support services.
Students can also ask faculty about the classes for a particular program and that can assist
them in picking classes. If you as a student start falling behind in a class, there are
many things that you can do and services available. But the most important thing is you need to
take charge and speak to someone. Many students will stop attending class when they start
feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and anxious and that’s the worst thing you can do is just
to give up. So you need to seek those services so someone can help you. There are lots of
places where you can receive assistance on the college campus. One of them is disability
services. They can help you with the process and help you to know who you should talk to.
If you’re having difficulty in class you should also talk to your instructor. Your instructor
can help you if you’re having concerns about a particular assignment or they can help you
know what you should or shouldn’t do to try to stay up with the class. You could also
speak with the counselor and they can be of assistance. Student support services people
are also available. Most colleges have an academic center if you needed assistance with
study strategies, organization and time management and there are usually a staff in those spaces
to assist a student as well. Most colleges also have tutoring available. If you need
that kind of assistance make sure you go to those centers and get the help that you need.
Everyone will provide similar accommodations but the mode in which they provide it will
be different. So, it’s important for students that have a disability to talk to the disability
person at the school that they would like to attend and go there for a visit and a discussion
with that person and find more about what they need and how it would be provided at
that school.>>Yeah, I think most colleges have disability
services and at Saint Thomas it’s actually called enhancement services just because they
wanted–it’s more of an equalizer so students with disabilities are at the same playing
level as other students so they helped me from the time before I came here actually
and yeah, they still are. I work with resident slide through them getting accessible housing
on campus. They arrange note takers for my classes. I take my test in their office because
I have extended time ’cause it takes me longer to write and then they’re just really helpful.
Anything that I could think of they’ll try to help me out with.>>College disability offices provide a lot
of accommodations but usually the most common accommodation is extra time for test. Other
testing accommodations can include a quieter place, having an audio version of the test,
enlarged, use of computer so there are many accommodations that can be done with a testing
accommodation but extra time is the most common. The way services are provided at the college
level through disability services can be very different from the way they were provided
in the K-12 system. Most of the services provided at the college level are accommodations so
things like extra time for test, quiet place for test, note takers, all those things are
accommodations. In high school, many students experienced modifications so their tests were
changed. The curriculum was changed so that the student could experience success. In college,
we will not modify the curriculum but we will accommodate it. It’s really important, however,
for students to be able to talk to their instructors or talk to the disability services person
to find out if the accommodations that they had in high school that helped them could
also be implemented in the college.>>When I first came here I brought in my
504 plan and like the accommodations are received from the ACT and we worked out a plan from
there but I still need to schedule all my tests and make sure that all the accommodation
requests get sent to all my professors and talk to my professors myself a lot of the
time too.>>Students need to discuss their concerns
with the disability services coordinator so that they know the differences between how
the accommodations will be implemented at the college level. If students don’t understand
that, they can become very frustrated. I also find it very helpful that if a student knows
that they want to attend college, that they use only accommodations in their junior and
senior year of high school. That way they’re used to the accommodations and they’re not
getting the curriculum modified so that they’re not throwing off so much when they get to
the college.>>In college versus high school, it’s a lot
more important to be the initiator. No one’s really–if you don’t do something, no one
will say why didn’t you do this. You have to look out for yourself a lot of the times
and they’ll help you like if you ask, but you ought to be the one to ask for help first
of all and then you need to figure out things with your schedule and their schedule.>>The financial responsibility for equipment
that’s needed for the college varies widely as far as who has to pay for it. Personal
devices such as eyeglasses and hearing aids have to be paid for by the student. The college
will usually have software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking or Kurzweil available to
students. But some students may need other technology or other equipment and that needs
to be discussed during the intake process. It may be that the college will pay for it
but it maybe is the student’s responsibility to pay for it depending on what it is and
how it’s used.>>I know there’s a lot of assistive technologies
that you can use here like Dragon Naturally Speaking is available in one room in the library.
Those services such as note takers and using the assistive technology that Saint Thomas
has is free cost to students.>>Disability documentation is usually required
in order for a student to receive accommodations. The kinds of documentation needed may vary
from student to student but usually, the sources of documentation would include high school
records which would be an IEP in the last evaluation, medical records or documentation
from a psychologist, specialist, social security or vocational rehabilitation.>>Find the time to know the disability services
that the school has, find out what services they offer and what documentation they need.
I know at the U, you need a lot more documentation than you would here.>>In order for a student to receive accommodations
at a post secondary institution they will need to meet with a disability coordinator.
That meeting is usually called an intake interview. If you have questions about your documentation,
a student could meet with the disability person either during a college visit or during the
intake to see if the documentation that they have is sufficient. At the intake, the student
will need to provide documentation in order to receive accommodations. From that time,
an accommodation plan most likely will be put in place for that student. Some accommodations
take additional time to implement such as audio books, braille books, sign language
interpreters and technology needs. Some accommodations can be put into place however quite quickly.
So that’s why it’s important for a student to meet with a disability coordinator before
school starts so that these accommodations can be put in place and can be ready to go
the first day of school. Students should also be aware that there are other services off
campus that could be very helpful in the completion of college. One of these places is vocational
rehabilitation and another is social security. So check these out to see if you would qualify
for these services. [ Background Music ]>>College is the most challenging time of
my life so far but it’s also been most rewarding time so, just that I wanna wish everyone good
luck on their search and you can do it.>>I wish you well in your post secondary
journey. [ Music ]

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