Navigating the Transition from High School to College


Disability Services, or Access Services, in higher education exists as a center for disability education and resources for students, staff, and faculty. For the purpose of this document, we will use the term Disability Services (DS), though this department may be called Access Services, Accessibility Resources, Disability Center or something similar. The professionals in DS Offices are happy to help students navigate the landscape of higher education as well as locate necessary services. They are invested in student access and helping students develop the skills necessary to become an effective adult learner.

A gap in what students need to know and do as they matriculate from high school to colleges/universities has been identified by higher education disability educators in Washington State. Quite often, students are unable to name their disability(ies) due to the effect of their disability and, subsequently, are unable to articulate the barriers they experience in a learning environment. While disability service professionals are able to coach students through this process, these fundamental skills will greatly benefit the student in accessing appropriate accommodations in postsecondary education. This guide serves to bridge this gap so students, their parents/guardians, and high school staff understand the rigors of higher education and the self-direction required for all students, including students with disabilities.

Background and Context

Gear Up, a publication created by the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), does a good job of providing a broad overview of the function of DS Offices in Postsecondary education.

More Information

For details about the transition from high school to college, please visit the following pages.

Transition Resources: High School to College

Parent & Educator One Pager

Students One Pager

Print Resources

College Readiness for Students with Disabilities – Educators and Parents One-Pager

College Readiness for Students with Disabilities – Student One Pager