Transition to College: Program Activity Guide for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
Graduating high school and transitioning to a postsecondary institution to obtain a college degree or license or certificate at a career school is a pivotal event for any student. For students who are blind or visually impaired, it is an event that requires a coordinated effort from the student, their parents, teachers, counselors, and rehabilitation professionals to ensure specialized instruction is provided during the student’s education. Because vision loss can increase the challenges a student has in college or career school, the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) should include instructional goals related to preparing the student for postsecondary education or training. Optimally, the preparation process should begin as early as middle school as adequate preparation requires long-term, collaborative efforts from the student’s network of service providers and, more importantly, input and participation from the student.
College and Career School Readiness Activities for Students Who Blind or Visually Impaired
Visually impaired students who are planning to attend college need to learn and master an array of skills from the expanded core curriculum prior to attending any postsecondary institution. Upon high school graduation, students will be fully responsible for their education. Therefore, specialized instruction is necessary to prepare students with vision loss for what will be expected of them in a new educational setting.
Essential Skills for College- or Career School-Bound Students with Vision Loss
The following skills are covered in the activity guide to help prepare college-bound students who are blind or visually impaired.
- Researching admissions requirements
- Navigating the application process
- Requesting accommodations for the SAT or ACT
- Applying for scholarships, grants, or loans
- Ordering materials in accessible formats
- Establishing a working relationship with the Office for Students with Disabilities
- Coordinating services with a vocational rehabilitation agency
- Using knowledge of one’s rights and responsibilities as a student who is visually impaired
- Independently traveling on campus
- Advocating with professors in a self-determined manner
- Hiring and working with a live reader
In addition to having the necessary skills to sustain good academic standing, students who are blind or visually impaired also need to acquire skills for managing their personal life and independent living needs.
Features of the Transition to College: Program Activity Guide
The Transition to College: Program Activity Guide was created for teachers of students with visual impairments, community rehabilitation program professionals, orientation and mobility instructors, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and students who are blind or visually impaired who have decided to pursue higher education or training.
The activities in this guide support the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which requires vocational rehabilitation agencies to provide counseling on enrollment opportunities in college or career school as well as instruction in self-advocacy to students who are blind. There are over 20 free activities in this guide designed to help students with vision loss learn about their postsecondary education options as they relate to the student’s career goals or desired job. The activities can also be used to provide electronic distance instruction to students in rural areas.
Lessons Available in Multiple Learning Mediums
The lessons can be viewed online, printed, or downloaded as an electronic braille file (BRF) in the Unified English Braille Code ready to be embossed. The BRF files are available for download at the bottom of each lesson. Right-click and “save as” to download a file to a computer.
The resource College Bound: A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments, 2nd Edition by Ellen Trief, Ed.D., is used as a supplement to the activities in this guide. You can purchase a copy of College Bound from the American Printing House for the Blind.
The Transition to College: Program Activity Guide was developed by Alicia Wolfe for the American Foundation for the Blind.