Learn more about:
- Going to university or college
- Training for a career by becoming an apprentice
- Attending a private career college
See what other students think of their experiences at college and university at Change your World.
Students with Disabilities
If you have a disability – including a learning disability, mental illness and/or chronic illness – the transition to postsecondary education can pose unique challenges.
There are resources that can prepare you for success in, college, university or training. Check out the following frequently asked questions for more information.
In college and university, your classes, teachers, workload and lifestyle may be very different than in high school. It is important that you prepare yourself as much as possible for the transition. You may need to take certain high school credits to meet entry requirements or you may need to start saving money to pay for tuition and other expenses. You also may need to arrange specific supports due to your disability. Follow these easy steps to help prepare.
1. Talk to a counsellor at the office for students with disabilities or a high school teacher or counsellor about getting help to adjust to the different work load, class schedule, teacher-student relationship and other lifestyle changes that come with postsecondary education.
They can also help you identify learning strategies and develop personal time management and organizational skills so that you're ready from Day One of college or university.
Learn more about what to do to prepare for postsecondary education whether you’re currently in high school or if you've been away from school for a while.
2. In college and university you have to advocate for yourself to ensure you get the supports you need.
3. If you need educational accommodations – or if you need help accessing any resources on campus or in the community – the staff at the office for students with disabilities can help you. But it's your responsibility to identify yourself to them as a student with a disability, so set up a meeting as soon as possible.
I'm in high school. What can I do now?
Talk to your teachers or guidance counsellors. They can help you plan which courses to take in high school to prepare for the application and admission process.
If you have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), work with your teachers, guidance counsellors and parents to make sure the plan will keep you on-track for success in high school and in college or university.
Explore your personal interests, learning preferences and future goals. High school is a great time to explore your options and find your passion! Knowing what you want to do, how to get there, and how you’ll adjust to changes along the way will help you prepare for the transition to postsecondary education, and for any other transitions in your future.
Start researching schools and programs. Find out more about Ontario's colleges, universities and apprenticeship training programs. Find out what the admission requirements are, and make sure you're on track to meet them. And contact staff at schools' disability services office for information about their services. It's important to find a school and a program that fits your needs, interests and abilities – and it's never too early to start looking!
Find a college or university program that matches your interests. Find out about the type of work and workload you might have. Look at program requirements for graduation at colleges and universities. If you receive educational modifications in high school, remember that you might not receive the same accommodations at college or university. Make sure you'll be able to handle the workload, and know where to turn for help.
Advocate for yourself. Speak up for yourself, take responsibility for your school work and your future, and talk to your parents, teachers and guidance counsellors about your plans.
Practice strong study habits. In college or university, you'll be responsible for managing your class schedule and class work. By getting in the habit of organizing your work, managing your time wisely and using studying methods that work best for you, you're setting yourself up for future success.
I've been out of school for a few years. Where do I start?
Make sure you meet the admission requirements. Visit college or university websites to find out about their specific requirements. If you don't think you have the necessary courses or marks, look into academic upgrading. Or contact your local school board for assistance.
Find out what supports you might qualify for as a mature student and as a student with a disability.
Contact staff at the school you're interested in attending. Staff at the disability services office can help connect you with other resources on campus, if necessary.
All colleges and universities in Ontario have an office for students with disabilities, or a disability services office. It's your responsibility to contact staff at the office, identify yourself as a student with a disability and work with staff to determine the type of accommodation you need.
What can disability services office staff do?
Learn more about the types of supports that might be available to you.
How do I set up educational accommodations?
If you have them, it may be helpful to include other documents such as:
If you do not have the required documentation, or it is out of date, speak with staff at the office for students with disabilities. They can guide you through the process of getting these documents.
Who do I contact if I want to be an apprentice?
What if I want to go to a private career college?
See the list below for links to resource centres for Students With Disabilities at Ontario publicly-assisted universities and colleges.
As a student with a disability, what are my responsibilities?
You are responsible for:
How should I disclose my disability, when and to whom?
How can I ensure that my educational accommodation needs are being met?
As a parent, what are my responsibilities as my son or daughter makes the transition to college or university?
As an educator, what are my responsibilities when teaching students with disabilities?
What kinds of supports are available to help me at school?
I was identified as a student with an exceptionality in high school. Will this apply at college or university?
In elementary and secondary school, a committee decides if a student should be placed in a special education program.
In college and university, you must identify yourself as a student with a disability and provide documented proof of your disability (from a certified practitioner) to staff at the disability services office. Check with staff at the disability services office to find out what documentation you need to provide in order to receive educational accommodations and other supports. Documentation of the services you received in high school will not be enough.
In high school, some of my courses were modified. Will this continue in college or university?
Educational modifications are not available in college or university. Instead, you may receive an educational accommodation. Accommodations are available for students in elementary, secondary and postsecondary education. Accommodations don't change the level or amount of work you are expected to complete. Instead, they are resources or services to provide you with an equal opportunity to complete the work, should you require them.
Educational accommodations may include: alternate format textbooks and other materials, the use of assistive technology, alternate testing locations or extended time for tests. Accommodations are designed to meet your individual needs.
Are there any postsecondary programs that I can't enrol in because of my disability?
However, you should look at the graduation requirements for the program you are interested in. Make sure you will be able to complete these requirements. For example, some programs require students to complete an internship, co-op term or practicum placement.
If you feel unsure that you will be able to complete all the program requirements, talk to a counsellor at the disability services office or to a representative from the program. They can help you determine if you can complete the requirements or if you need to consider other program options.
Can my college or university provide any non-educational, disability-related supports?
For more information, contact staff at the disability services office. They can answer these questions or direct you to the appropriate campus or local resource.
Learn more about the many resources to help you pay for your postsecondary education.
Where else can I look for information?
What can I do to prepare for postsecondary education while I'm in high school?
What are my rights?
You can also talk with your teachers or guidance counsellors, or contact the disability services office at the college or university you are considering.