Transitioning from High School to College with a Disability

by Shelley Wolfmeyer

Each year, students with disabilities pursue degrees in higher education. During their academic careers, some students chose to use accommodations that help them reach their educational goals. In high school, accommodations come in the form of an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or 504 Plan, and often times, students’ parents initiate these processes. However, IEPs and 504 Plans don’t follow students to college. So, what happens? Support is still available to these students. However, rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities in college vary from in high school.

Legal Rights of Students with Disabilities at Webster University
Webster University, like all universities, is required by law through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide accommodations for eligible college students with documented disabilities. Accommodations are changes in the learning and testing environments that give college students with disabilities an equal opportunity to learn. Webster students with documented disabilities have the right to the following:
• Confidentiality regarding their disabilities
• Access all courses, programs, services, and activities
• Reasonable accommodations for classrooms and testing
• Receive materials in an accessible format
• The rights available to all other Webster students

Responsibilities of Students with Disabilities at Webster University
While the University is responsible for providing accommodations to our students with disabilities, students have some responsibilities of their own:
• To identify themselves as a student with a disability to the Academic ADA Coordinator in the Academic Resource Center
• To provide documentation of their disabilities to the Academic ADA Coordinator
• To request accommodations in a timely manner
• To communicate often with their faculty members about their accommodations
• To accept responsibility for their academic success by keeping up on their coursework and maintaining a satisfactory GPA, reaching out to the appropriate support staff when struggling, and continuing to learn their strengths and in what areas they need additional support.

Support for Students with Disabilities at Webster University
Although the process of obtaining accommodations is self-directed, staff members in the Academic Resource Center are here to support students and advocate for their needs. The Academic Resource Center is committed to providing equal access to education for the Webster University community by ensuring that students with documented disabilities receive the support and accommodations they need for academic success. The Academic ADA Coordinator works with each student to create reasonable accommodations that meet the student’s individual needs.

Step-by-step directions to receiving accommodations are available online at

To find out more about accommodations, please contact Shelley Wolfmeyer, Academic ADA Coordinator, at 314-246-7700 or


Shelley Wolfmeyer is Webster University’s Academic ADA Coordinator.