High School Entry Handbook | ACCESS


A Guide to Transition from High School to College

This publication is designed to help students with disabilities transition from secondary school to college. It will guide students, parents, teachers, and administrators as they begin planning for college. Checklists may be duplicated for student use or for program planning. We hope that students transitioning to or from the High Dessert will be Riding the Wind from high school to college.


Published by Disabled Student Programs and Services

Victor Valley College


Edited by Jeffrey Holmes, Director






Differences Between K-12* Education and College




ADA 504 Plan


504 and ADA



No guarantee. Student responsible for own success

District identifies disability

Parent provides documentation ofdisability

Student provides documentation of disability and need for accommodation

Free evaluation of disability

Parent responsibility

Student's responsibility if they suspect an issue they can request evaluation.

District develops Individual Education plan (IEP)

Parent/school develops plan

Student identifies accommodation needs

Entitled to services identified on IEP

Services determined by plan

College services not automatic; each college decides eligibility and services

District ensures that the IEP is implemented

District/parent/student responsible

Student responsible for own progress

Teacher advocate

Parent/student advocate

Student advocates for self

Fundamental alterations to program of study permitted as identified on IEP

Fundamental alterations to program of study permitted as identified on 504 plan

None allowed: Accommodation may not alter fundamental nature of course or impose an undue burden on an institution

Personal services: e.g., transportation, personal attendant, nurse

None provided

None provided

*The term K -12 refers to the years in school from kindergarten through the end of high school.


Laws that Protect the Rights of Adults with Disabilities

Civil Rights Act of 1964: TITLE VI

Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in all employment situations involving programs or activities aided by federal financing.


Civil Rights Act of 1964: TITLE VII

Prohibits job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in all employment practices: hiring, firing, promotions, compensation, and in all other terms, conditions and benefits of employment, including vacations, pensions, and seniority.


Section 504 - Rehabilitation Act of 1973:

"No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of his/her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance... ".


Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990:

Extend universal civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities, covering public and private sector employment, public accommodations, transportation, and telephone communications.


Educational options


Programs as goals


Bachelor's Degree

(University of California, California State Universities and private colleges and universities.)

Consists of general education courses and, courses for the major working toward a four- year Bachelor's Degree.

Student may enter from high school or transfer from Community College.

Associate Degree

(Community Colleges)

The Associate degree track consists of three components and possibility:

  1. Courses of general education.
  2. Courses toward the major.
  3. Articulated Transfer courses to 4-year

College Certificate

(Community Colleges)

College certificate programs are designed to provide employment skills and open vocational opportunities. College certificate are awarded upon completion of specific courses.

Personal Enrichment

(Community Colleges)

Community Colleges offer personal enrichment courses that match your personal interests, e.g., career exploration, study skills, computer skills, art, and music.

Adult Education

Classes are designed to improve basic skills or for personal growth. Examples include Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language.

Regional Occupational Program


ROP courses are vocational and designed to prepare for employment.




ROP After high school

Academic Standards

Other Information

Contact the college to which you are applying. Most four-year colleges have progress policies or grade point requirements for general admissions. If these standards are not met, student may be placed on academic or progress probation. Refer to the college catalog.

Colleges and universities may have different requirements for general admissions. Contact the Admissions Office of the college of your choice for more information. Buy a college catalog.

Same as above.

Some community colleges may offer programs to guarantee admissions into a UC or CSU. See a college counselor for information. Buy a college catalog.

Same as above.

Vocational and Certificate programs change with the current employment market and enrollment demands.

These classes may be offered on a credit/no credit basis.

These courses may or may not be a part of a certificate and/or associate degree.

These courses usually are not offered for college credit. They may be repeated. These courses are open entry/open exit.

Contact the San Bernardino County Office of Education for more information.

Students earn an ROP certificate at the completion of course competencies

ROP programs are offered throughout the San. Bernardino County community. Contact the San Bernardino County Office of Education for more information.



Transition goals checklist

These are sample IEP or 504 Plan goals for transition from middle school to high school. They are followed by sample goals to help students and parents plan for the transition from high school to college. The time to plan is now! If the following activities are completed during middle school and high school years, they will build confidence while preparing the student to enter high school and then college. The activities are organized in a checklist format and can be used in planning transition goals during the IEP process or when writing 504 plans. Use the Glossary at the back to help you understand the special disability vocabulary you need to learn.


Middle School Transition Goals Checklist:

Find out about your disability

  •        Name your disability and describe the weaknesses in learning it causes.
  •        Identify your strengths in learning; these will help you in school.
  •        Identify strategies to compensate for weaknesses and use your strengths in learning.

1.       Learn note-taking strategies for class and identify accommodations, e.g. use of tape recorder or copy of  classmate's notes.

2.       Use memory strategies to remember information.

3.       Arrange accommodations for tests, e.g. extra time, and/or a reader.

4.       Pair up with a classmate doing well, to call for questions and study with for tests.

5.       Identify test-taking strategies for multiple choice, short answer, fill-in, and essay tests.


Learn how to advocate for yourself

  •        Attend all your educational planning meetings, e.g. IEP, 504 Plan.
  •       Learn how to ask for accommodations and why it is important to use them now.
  •       Ask questions when you don't understand something and get help for all problems.

Develop a personal information file

  •        Obtain current school records including IEP and latest verification of disability, e.g. Psycho educational Report, and/or doctor's medical report.
  •       Obtain a Social Security Card.
  •      Obtain a Birth Certificate.

Investigate possible careers

  •        Identify possible career interests and education needed.
  •       Identify high school classes you need to prepare for your career interests.
  •       Identify classes you need now to prepare for high school classes.
  •        Identify why current classes are important to meet your career goals.
  •        Complete sample, college and job applications.

Develop problem solving strategies

  •        Identify possible social problems you may have in school and possible solutions.
  •        Identify possible educational problems in school and possible solutions.
  •        Name people who can help you solve these problems.

Develop computer skills

  •        Basic keyboarding skills.
  •        Basic understanding of how computers are used as learning and research tools.
  •        Basic understanding of word processing software.
  •        Basic understanding of Internet usage as a research tool.


Transition Goals Checklist High School:


FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR DISABILITY (Review these each year of high school)

q       Describe your rights under "Section 504" and the "ADA".

q       Define "disability" and "functional limitations" according to Section 504 and ADA.

q       Identify your disability, functional limitations and the accommodations you want to request.

q       Identify the written verification you will need to request services and accommodations in college. (If you have a learning disability you will need new testing as an adult, 17-18 years old using the WAIS-III or WJ-R Cognitive. You need to request this testing in writing from your high school.)



(By Junior year you should be able to advocate for yourself)

q       Define what it means to "advocate for yourself' or to "self-advocate".

q       Identify your academic goals in high school and your plan to meet them.

q       Identify people who can help you solve typical problems you may encounter in school.

q       Define "due process" in school workplace according to Section 504 and the ADA.

q       Attend your educational planning meetings, e.g. IEP, 504 Plan, every year.




q       Identify 5 colleges you are interested in attending and the majors you may want to study.

q       List the entrance requirements for each college.

q       Identify how your current classes now will help you in college.

q       Contact the disability support office and find out what it offers.



q       Identify what test(s) need to be taken.

q       Study for the entrance exam. Enroll in SAT or ACT prep program if possible. Use the study guides.




q       Pick up test packet(s) from your high school counselor. Apply early and request academic accommodations on application(s) for tests.

q       Begin taking exams as early as possible. This gives you time to retake exams.



q       Plan to visit college(s) if possible. Include disability support office in your visitation.

q       Based on your investigation, pick the college(s) you feel have academic programs that match your interests and will provide you the services you need to be successful.


SENIOR Transition Goals Checklist: 


q       Request an application from the college(s). Fill out the forms and send them in on time.



q       Pick up a financial aid packet from your high school counselor's office. Complete the application.

q       Contact the colleges you're applying to and request any other financial aid applications.

q       Request information about other scholarships from your high school counselor.

q       Contact local service clubs, state and national disability organizations, and search the local library and Internet for information on scholarships.



q       Apply with the college disability support office to receive services.

q       Provide current written verification of your disability. This must include the name of your disability, functional limitations and academic accommodations you want.

q       Make an appointment to meet with a staff member from the disability office.

1.       Identify accommodation services you will request.

2.       Identify application process and procedures to receive services.

3.       Find out how "due process" works on the campus.

q       Arrange for other supports not provided by college.

1.       Arrange housing, attendant care, and transportation as appropriate.

2.       Develop a contact list for equipment repairs, interpreters for non-school activities, and medical services, as appropriate.

q       Plan classes with a college counselor. Review your selections with the disability support office. Buy a college catalog.

1.       Register for classes as early as possible if you need books in an alternate media format or sign language interpreters.

2.       Plan sufficient time between classes to arrive on time and to allow extended time on tests if this is an accommodation you plan to use.

3.       Before classes begin make sure your classrooms are accessible. Problems should be reported to the disability support office.

4.       If you know you need your materials in an alternate format (enlarged print, tape, Braille) request this as soon as possible from the disability support office, these materials require extensive time to produce.

5.       Use breaks between classes to review information from your last class and to preview your notes, syllabus, and homework for your next class.

q       Advocate for yourself:

1.       Report problems with accommodations to the disability support office immediately. Don't be talked out of an accommodation authorized for you.

2.       Learn about all the support services offered on your campus, e.g. tutoring, writing lab, computer lab, and/or counseling center.



q       Identify community agencies that provide support to persons with disabilities.

q       Contact the Department of Rehabilitation to identify what services it offers.

q       Identify your local disability advocacy office. Note the services it offers.


Checklist for College Disability Services

The disability support office is the campus office responsible for determining and providing appropriate academic accommodations for students with disabilities. The names of the department will vary from one campus to another. In order for the disability support office to determine a student's eligibility for services and to provide services, the following steps are recommended:





Go online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov or pick up a financial aid packet from your high school counselor's office or contact the college or university's financial aid office early to apply for financial aid. If you plan to attend a community college, investigate the Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGFW).



You will need to provide:

1.       Current IEP or 504 Plan

2.       Current psycho-educational report and/or medical verification of disability



1.       Sign up to take the college placement tests.

2.       You may need to contact the disability support office for disability-related accommodations on the college assessment tests.



1.       Make an appointment to meet with your disability support office counselor/specialist

2.       complete intake procedures,

3.       discuss accommodations,

4.       plan classes.


1.       Instructions are in the class schedule.

2.       Be prepared to pay all fees when you register.

3.       When the Department of Rehabilitation pays tuition, documentation from the Department of Rehabilitation is required when you register.


1.       Books are expensive. Plan ahead before the term begins.

2.       Visit the campus bookstore for specific prices. If the Department of Rehabilitation pays for books, contact your DR counselor for the correct form and procedure.


Verification of Disability

Verification is written proof that a current disability exists. Verification of the disability is the responsibility of each student seeking accommodations and services. The verification must be provided by a licensed professional in the disability related field. Services and accommodations are offered after the formal verification of a current disability.


Application Process to Receive Disability Services

High school students frequently think they are automatically eligible for disability support services at the college level. It is important to understand that this is not true. Under Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, you must take the following steps:


1.       Complete an application for services.

2.       Formally disclose and name your disability.

3.       Provide current written verification that:

a.       names the disability

b.       identifies educational limitations that the disability causes.

c.       identifies reasonable accommodations.

4.       Documentation verifying the disability must be recent to three years and come from a professional.

a.       physical, health and psychological disabilities will require documentation from a physician or psychologist.

b.       learning disabilities and speech and language disabilities require a recent assessment with adult measures.

c.       For students that struggled in High school and were ineligible for service in K-12 they may be eligible to request an assessment from an LD program at any California Community College. See the disability support office at your college for further information. The initial intake process will vary from campus to campus.


According to federal laws, you must be able to identify the reasonable accommodations you want to request from the college. It is recommended that you contact the disability support office at your college for assistance with this process.


Steps to Self-Advocacy

Self-advocacy is the ability to identify and explain your needs.

1.       1st step to self-advocacy is to say to yourself, "I am the one who is responsible for my success or failure."

2.       2nd step is to ask yourself, "How does my disability affect me as a student? How do I explain my disability to others? What are my abilities and how can I use them to lead me to success?"

3.       3rd step is to develop good communication skills to request accommodations and services.

Successful students plan ahead so they can effectively explain their needs.

4.       4th step is to recognize when you need help and to ask for it.

5.       5th step is to be organized. It relieves stress and demonstrates good planning ability. Here are some helpful hints:

q       Use a day planner to record appointments, class schedules, work schedules, exam dates, and assignment due dates.

q       Plan a reasonable school, study, social, and work schedule. Allow time for rest and recreation.

q       Establish a regular study schedule and study 2-3 hours for each hour you spend in class.

q       Organize long-term projects in a step-by-step manner. Schedule deadlines for each step in your day planner.

q       Arrive to class on time with homework and assignments completed.

q       Discuss and arrange disability services and accommodations you will want at the beginning of each semester with your instructor.

q       Allow time for the unexpected such as traffic jams on the way to campus, illness, transportation glitches, or work schedule changes.

q       Now take some time to think about explaining your disability and accommodations to a professor or your counselor. What would you say?

q       My disability causes the following problems in learning: (e.g., difficulty taking notes, finishing tests on time)

These problems mean I would like: (list the accommodations you will request)


Protecting Your Rights


Protection of rights for people with disabilities began with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Since then, two important laws, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, have been enacted. What do these laws provide to you as a college student?

q       Both laws prohibit discrimination solely on the basis of a disability.

q       Both laws require a college to provide reasonable accommodations so that a student with a disability has equal opportunity to take part in a college's programs, activities, and courses.


STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES: As a student with a disability you:

q       Must identify your disability and present verification of your disability from a qualified professional to either the disability support office or your professor. (Check with your college of university first to find out their procedure for ADA 504 academic accommodations.

q       Must request the accommodations you want from your professor and give reasonable time to arrange them.

q       Must comply with the student code of conduct adopted by the college and all other applicable statutes and regulations related to student conduct.

q       Must monitor your grades in classes and ask for help at the first sign of a problem.



q       Must provide reasonable accommodations based on the educational problems the disability causes. The institution may not discriminate against you solely on the basis of your disability.

q       Does not have to provide the specific accommodations you request. The institution does have to negotiate reasonable accommodations.

q       The accommodation may not cause an undue financial burden to the institution.

q       Does not have to alter admissions or graduation requirements, or change the basic nature of an individual course.

q       This responsibility is specifically defined in both Sections 504 and 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Self Quiz


College involves many new responsibilities, so you should begin now to develop skills for success. How prepared are you? Check your readiness with this list: Y=Yes, N=No

  1. ( Y-N ) I am not self-motivated to study.
  2. ( Y-N ) I need someone to push me to study.
  3. ( Y-N ) I hesitate to ask questions in class.
  4. ( Y-N ) I hesitate to ask questions outside of class.
  5. ( Y-N ) I do not complete assignments on time.
  6. ( Y-N ) I put off assignments and do not complete them on time.
  7. ( Y-N ) My class notes are not organized and incomplete.
  8. ( Y-N ) My class notes do not make sense when I review them.
  9. ( Y-N ) I struggle to pay attention in class even if it is interesting.
  10. ( Y-N ) I frequently tune-out when a class is not interesting.
  11. ( Y-N ) I avoid studying subjects I do not like.
  12. ( Y-N ) I do not study all my school subjects.
  13. ( Y-N ) I have difficulty managing my time.
  14. ( Y-N ) I frequently don't plan my time and end up not finishing tasks.
  15. ( Y-N ) I recognize that success or failure is up to someone else.
  16. ( Y-N ) I believe success is a matter of luck.
  17. ( Y-N ) I do not have good computer/word processing skills.
  18. ( Y-N ) My computer/word processing skills are weak.
  19. ( Y-N ) I focus on my disability limitations and avoid challenges.

Check your yes responses they reflect important steps you have already taken to indicate areas you need to improve toward success. No responses indicated that you aware of your strengths and potential weaknesses. Highlight those that need improvement and start making changes today toward a successful college career.



Accommodations: Adjustments made in learning. Alternative ways to access information and show what a student has learned. Accommodations requested must be based on the student's educational functional limitations.

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: A Civil Rights Law for adults that extends the protections of Section 504 to private schools and businesses.


Assessment Test

A pre-college test that helps determine a students academic skill in English and Math.

College Entrance Examinations: Examinations taken in the high school years to determine college eligibility. S A T: Scholastic Aptitude Test; A C T: American College Test.

CSU: California State University: Public universities in California.

Disability: A structural, physical or psychological difference resulting in functional limitations that cause significant problems with learning or work.

Disability Support Office: Offices or departments on each campus providing services and accommodations for students with disabilities. In California many offices go by the following names:

D S P S: Disabled Students' Programs.& Services

D S S: Disabled Student Services or disability Support Services

O S D: Office for Students with Disabilities

DR: Department of Rehabilitation: State agency that provides support to adults with disabilities in seeking education/training toward employment. Adult must apply and meet employment-related eligibility requirements.

Due Process: Legal procedures that determine if a law is being followed. Every college has a procedure for Due Process. When it is believed that a legal right has been denied to a student, the student has the right to request a review using Due Process.

FAPE: Free and Appropriate Public Education: PL 94-142 is the civil rights law passed in 1974 that provides free and appropriate public education for all, including students with disabilities. Applies to K-12 ONLY. (The K--12 refers to the years in school from kindergarten through the end of high school). This law has been updated and is currently known as IDEA '97.

Financial Aid: Financial assistance to students who might otherwise be unable to continue their education due to financial need.

B O G F W: Board of Governor's Fee Waiver for community colleges only. If eligible, some enrollment fees may be waived.

F A F S A: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the required application to receive federal grants, loans, and work -study assistance.

Functional Limitation: Identified area(s) of weakness caused by a disability. Functional limitations are used to identify reasonable accommodations in school/work.

I D E A '97: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997: Federal legislation

that states the civil rights of students with disabilities in K-12. Latest version was passed in 1997.

I E P: Individual Educational Plan: IEDA 1997 requires an annual IEP meeting to review

and plan goals and objectives (Applies to K-12 ONLY).

K-l2: The term refers to the years in school from kindergarten through the end of high school.

Learning Disability: A persistent condition of neurological dysfunction. The general characteristics include: Average to above average ability, a significant processing problem, and significant difference between ability and achievement in school.

Psycho-Educational Report: Reports of psycho-educational assessment results, including names of ability and achievement tests used, scaled and standard scores earned, and a statement of findings with recommendations.

R O P: Regional Occupational Program (see Community Resources). .

S E C: Student Education Contract: A required community college plan of study for students with disabilities developed by disability support office and the student.

Self-advocacy: The ability to identify and explain your needs. Students with disabilities should understand the laws that protect them and help them achieve their academic goals.

Section 504: Part of the Federal Rehabilitation Act passed in 1973 to protect the civil rights of children and adults with disabilities in schools or workplaces that receive Federal financial support.

504 Plan: 504 plan is used to outline accommodations and services for students with disabilities in K-12.

Student Code of Conduct: Defines expected behavior of a college student and consequences. Colleges have both policy and procedures about expected behavior. This information is usually found in the college catalog. Serious misconduct may result in suspension/expulsion. Students with disabilities are held to the same standards as all students.

T A G: Transfer Agreement Guarantee: An agreement between the community college student and the receiving four-year school.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VI-: Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in all employment situations involving programs or activities aided by federal funding.

Civil Rights Act Of 1964 Title VII-: Prohibits job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in all employment practices: hiring, firing, promotions, compensation, and in all other terms, conditions and benefits of employment, including vacations, pensions, and seniority.

Transition: Here refers to passage from K-12 to postsecondary education.

Verification: The written proof that a disability exists. It must be signed by a doctor or professional in the field. It names the disability and identifies functional limitations.

UC: University of California: Public universities in California.