New/Prospective Students

Staff Assisting Student

Student responsibilities and advocacy


Students with disabilities are responsible for contacting the Office for Students with Disabilities to request services. Prior planning is the key to insuring the proper delivery of services. On your first visit to the OSD, the director will meet with you to discuss the accommodations you may need and the procedures for setting them up. Your disability information is maintained separate from your academic record in compliance with federal and state data practices laws. You are responsible for providing the disability office with current documentation as it relates to your disability and the accommodations you are requesting.

Self advocacy is critical to success in higher education. Colleges are restricted from seeking out students with disabilities due to privacy laws. You are responsible for requesting the services you believe you need; the college generally does not provide accommodations unless or until you ask. The ability to advocate will benefit you in your life and career.

For further details on enrolling at Normandale and registering with the Office for Students with Disabilities, please see this document: www.normandale.edu/Documents/osd/StepsforAdmissionNCCandOSD.pdf

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Know yourself and your disability: before you can advocate for yourself, you need to know how to talk about your disability in a way that other people will understand.
  • Know your rights and responsibilities: colleges cannot close their doors to you solely because you have a disability. The college must provide services that will allow you an equal opportunity to access and participate in school activities.
  • Know where to go for help: a very important part of being successful in college is knowing when you need help and where to find it. Writing down the names and phone numbers of the people on campus who can help you, including staff at the OSD, is a good idea.
  • Take action: develop a plan for communicating your needs. While the OSD can assist you, developing your own communication skills will be very helpful. Consider practicing before talking with your instructors. You might practice explaining to a counselor or a trusted friend the accommodations you believe you will need.

Differences Between High School and College


High School

  • School 6 hours per day, 5 days per week.
  • The school year is about 9 months long.
  • Time is structured by others, and teachers closely monitor students' attendance.
  • Students are not responsible for knowing what it takes to graduate.
  • Teachers check students' completed homework.
  • Teachers might remind students of missed work and often provide students with information they missed when they were absent.
  • Case manager acts as an advocate.
  • Services result from Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).
  • Regular parent contact.
  • High schools are required to identify students with disabilities and determine what is needed for the student to be successful.
  • Educational and psychological testing is provided.
  • Entitlement law (IDEA).

College

  • Students are typically in class 12-18 hours per week, depending on course load.
  • The academic year is two 16-week semesters.
  • Students arrange their own schedule with an advisor or counselor and manage their own time.
  • Students are expected to know the graduation requirements for their particular program.
  • Instructors don't always check students' homework.
  • Instructors don't remind students of missed work, and they expect students to get notes from classmates for any classes they have missed.
  • Students must advocate for themselves.
  • Services are based on a class-by-class basis and individual needs.
  • Parent contact is limited by privacy laws.
  • Colleges are restricted from seeking out students with disabilities due to privacy laws.
  • Students are responsible for providing documentation to the college.
  • Civil Rights - Anti discrimination law (ADA, Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 and the Minnesota Human Rights Act).