Which College Features Really Matter for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?

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The prospect of making the right choice from among the nearly 2,000 four-year colleges in the United States may seem daunting, but there are ways to narrow that list to a manageable number. The checklist below outlines some basic aspects of colleges that can help your visually impaired teen identify the ones that meet his specific needs and preferences. Once you and your teen review the features, consider the pros and cons of each, and decide which ones really matter, the decision-making process becomes easier.

  1. College Size

    ̶ Small (750-1,999 undergraduates)

    ̶ Medium (2,000-7,500)

    ̶ Large (over 7,500)

  2. College Environment

    ̶ Big city

    ̶ Medium-size city

    ̶ Suburban community

    ̶ Rural community

  3. Distance from Home

    ̶ Live at home and commute

    ̶ Within 2 to 3 hours by car or train

    ̶ Distance not important

  4. Climate

    ̶ Warm

    ̶ Cold

    ̶ Moderate

  5. Academic Program

    ̶ Liberal arts

    ̶ Science

    ̶ Technology

    ̶ Business/marketing

    ̶ Performing arts

    ̶ Other________

  6. Class Size

    ̶ Small (less than 20 students)

    ̶ Midsize (20-50)

    ̶ Large lecture hall (over 50)

  7. Financial Aid Availability?

    ̶ Grants or scholarships

    ̶ Work-study programs

    ̶ Loans

    ̶ Financial assistance not necessary

  8. Extracurricular Activities

    ̶ Sororities/fraternities

    ̶ Clubs

    ̶ Athletics

    ̶ Other_______________

  9. Housing

    ̶ Dormitories

    ̶ Off-campus houses/apartments

    ̶ Sorority/fraternity houses

  10. Specific On-Campus Services for Students with Disabilities

    ̶ Reader services

    ̶ Scribe or notetaker

    ̶ Access to assistive technology devices and equipment

    ̶ Counseling

    ̶ Other_______________

For more information, see "College Bound: A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments" by Trief and Feeney.

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