For Families

Transitioning to College: A Message for Families

Your student is about to transition to College. We understand that this transition is hard on families and can be particularly concerning to those students with disabilities and their families.

Until now, you have likely worked closely with your student’s study team to make sure that she or he received accommodations in high school. You likely set up an Individualized Education Plan. The institution the student was attending was responsible for identifying, testing, and providing accommodations for students with disabilities.

At the university level, the service model changes in significant ways.
At the University of Chicago, students must identify themselves to Student Disability Services, and initiate and participate in the process of applying for accommodations. In high school, it is the institution’s responsibility to identify students with disabilities.

At the college level, families may encourage their student to apply for necessary accommodations, and then step back and let him/her take on the responsibility.  Part of the independence your student will gain by going to college includes making the choice about whether or not to pursue disability accommodations.

You can help by:

  • Looking over the Student Disability Services website together with your student (
  • Going over your student’s IEP or 504 Plan and making sure she or he knows what the diagnosis says and can explain what accommodations have been helpful.
  • Visiting the Requesting Accommodations page for information on documentation guidelines to be sure that your student comes to the university with all of the necessary paperwork and understands the procedure for requesting accommodations.
  • Encouraging your student to promptly contact Student Disability Services with any questions or concerns (773-702-6000 or
  • If your student wishes to use approved accommodations in a course, s/he needs to present the faculty member with a copy of his/her Accommodation Determination Letter at the start of the quarter (before the end of second week) in order to alert the instructor that s/he will be using accommodations for that course.