Advising Students With Disabilities

More students with disabilities are considering Dordt College as an excellent option for continuing their education after high school. Dordt's services for students with disabilities are housed in the Academic Skills (ASK) Center where many students make use of tutoring, proof reading, and study-skills instruction.

The following information was compiled to help students with disabilities make the transition from high school to college as smoothly as possible.

1. Understanding the Law

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) govern both employers and institutions of higher education. In short the laws state that students with disabilities can not be discriminated against because of their disability. Students may be eligible for modifications or academic adjustments so that they have equal opportunity and equal access.

Section 504 and the ADA are not the same as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under IDEA primary and secondary schools are responsible to identify and to provide a free, appropriate education for all students. In post-secondary institutions it is the student's responsibility to self-identify and to provide documentation of the disability. Students should obtain copies of their diagnostic assessment and make sure that the assessment is current before they graduate from high school. If prior assessment information is not available or is more than three years old, students can usually have this type of an assessment done by the local school district, at no cost, if they are currently enrolled in a K-12 school.

2. Disclosing Disabilities

Students are not required and may not be asked to reveal a disability in the application, but revealing a disability may be beneficial especially if there is a discrepancy in the application information (e.g. GPA and ACT scores). Special admission considerations may be made on a case by case basis if the student does not meet minimum requirements for admission due to a disability.

Students with disabilities can initiate services by contacting the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities (CSSD) as soon as they are accepted. This contact should be made as early as possible to ensure the accessibility of the resident hall and classrooms and the availability of auxiliary aids. The CSSD can also assist in pre-registration if the contact is made before the course selection deadline (usually the beginning of July).

Students are also encouraged to make an appointment with the CSSD during campus visit days. Once the initial contact is made the student will be asked to provide appropriate documentation of the disability. On the basis of the documentation, reasonable accommodations needed to offer equal access are implemented on a case by case basis. Reasonable accommodations may not lower course standards or alter degree requirements, but they give students with disabilities an equal opportunity to learn and demonstrate their abilities.

3. Becoming One's Own Advocate

Independence is a goal of the support services for students with disabilities, and students are encouraged and taught to become their own advocate. The more students know about their own strengths and weaknesses, strategies and accommodations during high school, the better prepared they will be for a post secondary education.

4. Other Information

Learn more about Dordt College: Request more information or visit the campus.