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how to prepare for college

Hi, I am a visually impaired high school senior. I will be going away to college in fall of 2010. But, I am unsure what I should do to prepare for college and once I get there. Can any body help me or give me some advice?

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Re: how to prepare for college

Me too!!

Re:how to prepare for college

yes!!! i know i would!!

Re:how to prepare for college

you know what? I think we would all be happier if she posted on here.

Re:how to prepare for college

wow!! Joe, after reading your posts really got me to think about preparing myself for those things I never really gave them much thought.
Yes, what I would agree that Mimi does give great advice.!

Re:how to prepare for college

Yes, I am visually impaired or blind. I have less then one percent of my vision which is maybe 2 degrees.
AFB CareerConnect will have radio drama posted in about two months about college preparation.

FamilyConnect would be a good site to check out as well.

Good luck!

Joe S.
AFB Staff

Re:how to prepare for college

yeah he is.

Re:how to prepare for college

Actually I was wondering if you are blind too Joe?

Re:how to prepare for college

Thanks for all that info Joe. I had not thought of some of those details. OK many of those details!

Re:how to prepare for college

wow! That's a lot to think about.

Re:how to prepare for college

There is a great book offered by the American Foundation for the Blind called, "College Bound." Your teacher of the visually impaired may have this book or be able to get a copy for you to view. It would be a great resource for preparing for college. Another way would be to contact mentors through AFB CareerConnect and talk to them about the transition to college. Feel free to contact persons who are already going through the process. There are examples that are better then others. You could ask the college if they could ask a current student who is visually impaired if they could speak to you or allow you to contact them for advice. It always helps to get the inside information from a current student. Hopefully a successful student who can warn you of the pitfalls.

Contact your local VR or Blind Services to see if they can connect you with a VI college student or one who recently graduated as well. We have a few college students who were active, but haven't been of late. Mimi is a college student and would have good advice. I think the others on here would agree that she offers good advice. Good luck!!! You are smart to start preparing now. We will be doing a webcast in late spring about college preparation and the technology and more!

Joe S.
AFB Staff

Re:how to prepare for college

The VI (Visually Impaired) Student College Survival Guide
By Joe Strechay

What is the ultimate goal of a student going off to college?
To succeed, but what does that mean?

Attendance (O & M)
Note Taking
Time Management
Volunteer Experience
Social Skills
Self Advocacy
Accessing Technology
Independent Living Skills
Employment Skills

The Importance
These areas are even more important to students with visual impairments. Students with visual impairments will have to be taught how to perform these tasks in an efficient and effective manner.

Attendance (O & M)
Learning the Campus
Students will need to arrive on campus early to familiarize themselves with the campus and routes.
Enlisting the help of an orientation and mobility instructor would be beneficial.
Learning base routes and expanding out hitting areas of importance first.
Learning the landmarks, cues and clues.

Attendance (O & M)
Learn the buildings and numbering systems.
Learn the classroom set up and rehearse routes all the way through.
Leave for classes with plenty of time to spare.
Plan schedule according to buildings and times.

Attendance (O & M)
May be necessary to ask for other student’s assistance to get to classes. Be polite and make sure they are in the class as well. Don’t ware out your welcome! (Until route is learned)
Be practical and realistic.

Reading method must be fast and efficient!
Must know how to get access to reading materials and be able to adapt or accommodate for themselves if need be.
Must take the initiative to find out books prior and plan ahead.
Books can be downloaded online.

Students must keep a dialogue with professors to find out about up coming readings if added.
Students must know how to access readings in multiple mediums.
Students must learn to prioritize and use good Time Management Skills!

Time Management
Make a schedule and live by it! A planner is a good idea.
Put all readings, assignments and exams into the planner.
Assign times to study.
Allow time to sleep and eat, staying healthy is important.
Get assignments done early.

Volunteer Experience
Volunteer with charities or philanthropies.
Volunteer to get employment experience and “your foot in the door.”
Prove your value in these situations!
Being a well rounded individual.

Contact the Student Disability Center on the campus to find out their procedures.
Student should know what accommodations they need.
Let professors know what accommodations are needed right away.

Testing Accommodations to be considered
Size of Print
Having a reader
Electronic format such as on a computer
Filling out the answer key (Scantron can be difficult)
Use of a CCTV or magnifier
Utensil or computer

Note Taking
Speed, accuracy and efficiency.
Must be able to take some sort of notes.
Recording the class is great, but doubles the amount of time spent on the notes. They will have to be transcribed later.
Method has to suit the student!

Introduce the student to multiple methods.
The student must have a primary method before college.
Some classes may require a different method of studying.
Some students do not study well in groups.
Schedule reader if needed.

Social Skills
Basic manners
Age appropriate
Conversation skills
Posture and attention
Addressing different audiences
Dress and appearance
Peers will be honest, practice!!! Enlist help if needed.
Phone conversation skills

Self Advocacy!
Students must be able to express themselves and what they want in an appropriate manner.
Students must know how to advocate for themselves and this needs to be practiced in all facets of life.
Students must know when it is appropriate, it many not always be.
Disclosure statement

Accessing Technology
Students must be able to use computers, use the internet efficiently, access online blackboard sites, access e-journals and extranets.
Screen readers or magnifiers, note takers or recorders, and the latest technology.
It is up to us as teachers to make sure they have the technology and skills to make it!

Research the college or university to see what services they offer.
Contact the Disability Center on campus.
Visit the school.
Contact a student with a visual impairment at the school.

Contact local organizations.
Look into housing that allows easy access to the school.
Look at transportation in the area and the cost.
Get to campus early and get to know it, weeks or months early!

Keep track of the contact information of all the resources and people you meet for future reference.
Create a rapport with contacts.
Make sure these people remember you, make an effort.

Readers and Note Takers
Practice and role play hiring readers and note takers.
Make lists of questions.
Have them read or look at their notes.
Create a flyer with first name, phone number and the service you are looking for.

Readers and Note Takers
Have many readers, try to get some non-students. Churches, super markets and libraries are great places to put a flyer.
This is a job, you can fire them if they don’t meet your needs!

Employment Experience
First job is not a career.
Create a Portfolio.
Know your materials.
Interviewing skills
Letters of Reference
Be confident and dress to impress.
Practice, practice and more practice…

Employment Experience
Start Internships early and keep them coming.
Contact people in fields of interest.
Contact persons with VI in related field.
Career Connect is a great resource!
Career Centers are great places and are under utilized.

This information was compiled by Joseph Strechay and Tiffany Barbieri during the
summers of 2004 and 2005 at Florida State University while helping to run a college transition program. These are areas that we felt these students were lacking in when arriving.

Are our students prepared?
Are they prepared to succeed in the modern college or university or have we neglected needs that will cause them to fail!
Let’s prepare them to succeed! We all care a lot about these students and want the best for them!!!

Special Thanks to:
Tiffany Barbieri
American Foundation for the Blind
Florida Division of Blind Services
Florida State University
Dr. Bruce Menchetti
Wendy Olsen
Wayne Jennings
Lynda Jones
Catherine O’Farrell
Dr. Karen Wolffe
Dr. Silvia M. Correa-Torres
Dr. Sandra Lewis

Re:how to prepare for college

I am only in middleschool, so I would say to have confadence that you can do the best you can.
Hope this helps,
Elizabeth, aka basic, or foffy.

Re:how to prepare for college

one major suggestion I have is to be evaluated for technology by your state commission for the blind. They can provide braille notetaking devices, a laptop, scanners, embossers etc. You can also request mobility training on the campus of the college you are attending prior to the start of school. Take action by calling the center for students with dissabilities at the college you are attending. Make sure you can get reading materials in your format of choice (I dont know how severe your visual impairment is to say braille or large print). Advocte for yourself as much as possible and be sure to get all the services you can :)
If you have any other questions you can email me at I am a high school sophomore from new york and am legally blind. I read braille and large print and use a cane. I have also spent alot of time looking into this stuff

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