Prospective Students

Welcome Future Blue Hens!

Welcome potential and newly admitted students! Whether you are just beginning your college search or have already confirmed your attendance to the University of Delaware, we encourage you to explore our website and find out more about the disability services and accommodations offered at UD.

The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) is committed to providing equal access to all University educational programs, services, and campus environments. The University of Delaware recognizes disability as an aspect of diversity that is an integral part of equity and inclusion. We invite you to view our captioned video below for additional information.

Applying to University of Delaware

The University of Delaware’s admissions committee considers all aspects of a students qualifications in the admissions process and strives to build a diverse, talented, and qualified Freshman class. Students will not be asked to disclose their disabilities at any time during the application or admissions process. Students are encouraged to make an educated decision regarding if, when, and how they disclose a disability. For any questions about the admissions process, please visit UD’s Undergraduate Admissions page or Graduate Admissions page.

If you have been admitted to UD and need accommodations or housing in order to participate in orientation and/or Welcome Week activities, please register with DSS shortly after confirming that you will be attending UD. We look forward to meeting you!

Transitioning to College 

The transition to college is an exciting time that comes with many changes! The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, Amended 2008) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which apply to postsecondary education, are very different from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers grades K-12. This means that some adjustment of the perspectives of students, parents, and instructors is necessary when transitioning from high school to college. The DSS staff are here to provide guidance and support to students as they navigate these changes and become self-advocates.

High school (IDEA) versus College (Section 504/ADA)

High School (IDEA)

College (Section 504/ADA)

Every child is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the “least restrictive environment” possible.

Students compete for admission and must be “otherwise qualified” to enter college, without consideration of disability.

Students participate in the general curriculum of the college. No continuum of placement exists.

Child Find requires all school districts to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities. The student is responsible for self-identifying as having a disability and advocating for their needs.
Focused on creation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan that will help the student participate in the general curriculum as much as possible. Few colleges have “plans” for students with disabilities. Most outline accommodations without regard to goals or progress. 
Requires yearly meeting of general education teachers, special education teachers, and auxiliary service personnel to discuss progress and set goals. The student is responsible for meeting with disability services and with instructors to discuss needs and concerns. 
Often involves significant modification of the curriculum and of assessments. Instructors are not required nor encouraged to fundamentally alter the course content or goals, though they may be required to make changes that do not affect essential course objectives.
Classroom teachers receive a copy of the IEP and should have a thorough understanding of the disability and the plan. Instructors receive a list of student accommodations. They are not given information about disabilities or diagnoses unless provided by the student

Law of Entitlement

Guarantees SUCCESS

Civil Rights Law

Guarantees ACCESS

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Rights:

  1. Students have the right to an equal opportunity to learn. UD is committed to providing students and prospective students access to technology and information in the classroom and ensuring that these resources are accessible in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  2. Students have the right to choose whether or not they want to disclose a disability to professors or University staff. Keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive. Information that you provide to the University is confidential and protected by FERPA.
  3. Students have the right to file a grievance if they believe that discrimination has occurred against them.

Responsibilities:

  1. Register with DSS to self-identify as having a disability and needing accommodations.
  2. Provide DSS with appropriate documentation.
  3. Contact DSS as soon as a temporary or chronic disability has been identified in order to receive accommodations in a timely manner.
  4. Communicate accommodations with instructors.
  5. Check your UD email for correspondences from the DSS Office.
  6. Notify the DSS Office (dssoffice@udel.edu) if you have any questions, concerns, or requests.
  7. Students are expected to meet UD’s academic, technical, and behavioral standards.

Understanding Eligibility and Accommodations 

DSS Eligibility

Any student with a documented disability is eligible to register with DSS and apply for reasonable accommodations. In accordance with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, disabilities that make a person eligible for accommodations are those that interfere with with major life activities, including the ability to learn and participate within the University community.

Accommodations

After registering with the DSS Office and providing the documents required, students will meet one-on-one with an accommodations coordinator. The purpose of this meeting is to engage in a collaborative conversation in which the student and accommodations coordinator discuss diagnoses, barriers to learning, past accommodations, goals, and other relevant topics in order to decide which accommodations will create equal access for the student.

Find examples of student accommodations here.

Transition Resources

High School to College

Explore why we say that “Freshman Year is not Grade 13.

Jane Jarrow’s Open Letter to Parents

The U.S. Department of Education responds to frequently asked questions about future college students with disabilities in “Students with Disabilities: Preparing for Postsecondary Education.”

Transfer Students

Advice and information about the transition from 2- to 4-year colleges for transfer students.