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Una publicación sobre discapacidades visuales, y sordera y ceguera, para familias y profesionales.

Winter 2009 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Elizabeth Eagan Satter, CTVI,

Federal Way School District, Federal Way, WA 

Abstract: the author discusses college preparation issues for students with visual impairments, and how teachers of students with visual impairments can support their students in the college preparation and admissions process.

Keywords: visually impaired, college preparation, college admission

 

As a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI), part of the job description includes supporting students in making the next step in their education, as well as transitioning them into life as an independent adult. College is a natural and expected step for many students. The student has the grades and all the book sense, knows how to use his or her equipment, and has a desire to go. Is that enough? Uh, no…

When should you start preparing for college? For students with a disability, it is my personal belief that one can’t start soon enough. The student should make a list of what they are good at, what they like to do, and what they feel are their strengths. (See below.)

Once their list is made they have a starting point to talk with their counselor at school and their family at home.  The College Board website has an excellent article entitled “Twenty Questions to Ask Your School Counselor” <http://www.collegeboard.com/student/plan/starting-points/114.html>. These questions can assist the student by empowering them in their discussions with their counselor.

Sample of list completed by a student

What I do well at school

Using my Braille Note

Math

Science

O&M

Using the computer

Communicating with people

Driving my TVI crazy

What I like to do

Listen to music

Playing the drums

Read science fiction

Books

Hang out with friends

Travel

Cook

My overall strengths

Playing the drums

I can explain my disability to others

Expressing myself

Soliciting help when needed

I know who I am

I can make simple meals

 

The student must focus on their education, achieving high grades since once the student enters high school, each grade counts as part of the overall grade point average (GPA) that will help with obtaining scholarships and entry into college. Along with working on keeping grades up, there are things that need to be done every school year. At the end of this article is a suggested list of tasks to complete each grade level in high school.

We all have heard that colleges/universities are looking for well-rounded students. But what does that mean? A well-rounded student has good grades and is active in extracurricular activities including clubs, sports, and volunteer or work opportunities. Colleges want to know more about a student than the GPA. They want to see that a student has real world experience and was involved in school life and community activities.

The key to going to college is to be first prepared for college. If students are used to having things done for them, and do not know how to do things like their laundry, for example, college life will be a trial. Going away to camps or short term classes like those at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a great way for the students to experience life in a sheltered way apart from their families.

Knowing oneself is of utmost importance. Student must know their strengths and weaknesses, who to turn to for help, and what they want out of life in order to find success. If students are unsure of themselves, or unable to care for themselves, success is going to seem like a foreign land that requires a passport they don’t have.

We as TVI’s need to help our students by giving them the tools they need to succeed. We need to work cooperatively with the school counselors, the parents, COMS, transition counselors, and anyone else the student has on their educational team. Because for many of our students it’s “Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It’s off to college they go!”

High School Student Checklist

Freshman Year

___ Develop/Maintain good study habits

___  Develop/Maintain good organization

___ Know and carry modifications

___  Visit guidance counselor/college corner

___  Develop 4 year academic plan

___  Attend college information fairs

___  Attend & participate in ARD/IEP meetings

___  Connect with Transition Counselor with DBS

___  Participate in extra-curricular activities/clubs

___  Access/Use CareerConnect

___  Volunteerism

___  Paid work experiences

___  Investigate Transition Tote Bag (available from APH on quota funds)

___  Connect with a mentor in an

upper grade in high school or college

___  Know equipment (name, help desk number, where to go for repairs, manufacturer, etc)

 

Sophomore Year

___  Take the PSAT

___  Know and carry modifications

___  Visit guidance counselor/college corner

___  Meet with college representatives

___ Update the 4 year plan

___ Attend college information fairs

___ Attend & participate in ARD/IEP meetings

___  Participate in extra-curricular activities/clubs

___ Access/Use CareerConnect

___  Transition Tote Bag (available from APH on quota funds)

___ Work on essay writing

___ Interview/job shadow a professional  in chosen field

___  Do own laundry

___ Cook simple meals

___ Shop for self (i.e. clothing, groceries)

___  Open bank account

___  Start to budget monthly expenses

 

Junior Year

___  Register/Take the ACT/SAT:I/SAT:II

___ Know and carry modifications

___ Update the 4 year plan

___  Research/Complete scholarship applications

___ Attend college information fairs

___ Tour colleges/universities

___ Attend & lead ARD/IEP meetings

___  Participate in extra-curricular activities/clubs

___ Access/Use CareerConnect

___  Transition Tote Bag (available from APH on quota funds)

___  Meet with counselor each grading cycle

___  Research college choices

___  Obtain copy of transcript

___  Order class ring, optional

 

Senior Year

___  Pay senior dues

___ Know and carry modifications

___ Complete college applications

___ Complete FAFSA application

___ Visit guidance counselor/college corner

___  Review  4 year academic plan

___  Take/Retake the ACT/SAT:I/SAT:II

___ Attend & lead ARD/IEP meetings

___ Participate in extra-curricular activities/clubs

___  Access/Use CareerConnect

___  Transition Tote Bag (available from APH on quota funds)

___  Request transcripts to be sent with college application

___ Request transcripts with final grades to be sent to college

___ Meet with counselor often in regards to grades, transcripts, colleges, etc.

___ Ask for recommendations fromteachers to be sent to college choices, provide stamped envelope

___ Apply for housing

___  Order cap & gown, graduation announcements, etc.

___  Complete all graduation requirements