Are you ready for college? Listen and participate as two high school students who are visually impaired compete to find out if they are “college ready.” Find out a few differences between high school and college, and then learn more in College Bound: A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments .

Listen to “College-Ready Challenge”!



NARRATOR: Welcome to the College-Ready Challenge! Where students compete for success in school and in life. Brought to you by APH CareerConnect, a program of the American Foundation for the Blind! With your host, Alan Barker.

ALAN: Thank you, thank you, and welcome to the College-Ready Challenge, the quiz show that asks “How ready are YOU for college?” Let’s welcome our guests.

Sandy is a high school junior who is interested in either becoming a lawyer or an actress. No matter what field she chooses, college is an important part of her future. Welcome to the program, Sandy!

SANDY: Thanks, Alan. I’m excited to be here!

ALAN: And Jim is also a high school junior who is not sure about his plans yet. Jim, welcome to the program, what are you thinking?

JIM: Well Alan, I’m not sure what I want to do with my life yet, but I know college can help me land a good career someday so it’s definitely in my plans.

HOST: Sandy and Jim, both of you will be going to college in about a year. While that may seem like a long time, students with blindness and visual impairments do best in college when they understand what to expect and prepare early. Let’s see if you’re college ready! Are you ready to play?


ALAN: All right, here are your subjects. Textbooks. Services. Equipment. And First Day. Sandy, you’re first.

SANDY: I’ll take a Textbooks question, Alan.

ALAN: Very good. Sandy, true or false: In college, all of the textbooks you need are provided for you by your teachers.

SANDY: (pondering) Hmmm. Getting textbooks has never been a problem for me in high school…they’ve always been provided by my teachers. I imagine it would be the same for college. BEEPING NOISE

ALAN: Sandy, I need your answer.

SANDY: Alan, I’m going to say that is true. All of my textbooks will be provided in college. So…TRUE.


ALAN: Oh, Sandy, I’m sorry, the correct answer is false.

SANDY: False?

ALAN: Yes, colleges do not provide you with your textbooks. That is the student’s responsibility.

SANDY: But…how am I supposed to know how to get them?

ALAN: You have to start early and research. Start at your college bookstore or contact your professor about the book and you then may be able to order an electronic copy online or an audio copy from RFB&D. Bookshare is a good resource, too. Keep in mind you could be halfway through a semester class by the time you get a special-order textbook. So you have to be months ahead of the game.


ALAN: Jim, you’re up next.

JIM: I’ll take Equipment, Alan.

ALAN: Alright Jim, here’s your question. What is the most efficient way to take notes in class?


JIM: Oh, that’s easy, I’ve got this one. Tape recorder. I can tape classes with this cool new digital recorder that I have…


ALAN: Oh, no, I’m sorry Jim. A tape recorder will not work in college.

JIM: What?

ALAN: While you can certainly use a tape recorder in class it will not be an efficient way to study. Listening to tape-recorded notes is very time-consuming and you won’t have a lot of extra time in college. You will need to actively listen to your professors in class and take notes using something like an electronic notetaker or laptop.

JIM: Where do I get those? If I have to buy them myself they will be expensive.

ALAN: There are several ways to get the equipment—through local programs, vocational rehabilitation or financial aid, for example. Again, this is something YOU are responsible for researching and preparing long before your first day of class.


ALAN: Oh, Jim, congratulations—you’ve just been given the opportunity to have a Technology follow-up question. Maybe you can make up some ground—are you ready?

JIM: Yeah, I know a lot about technology, I should get this!

ALAN: Name a college situation where technology will NOT help you with your learning independence.

JIM: Hmmm…I don’t know, technology is pretty amazing… Hmmm.


ALAN: I’m sorry, Jim but there are several college situations where technology won’t help you. In many cases, you will need to hire readers to assist you with research in the library, reading handouts, working in science labs, and similar tasks that don’t have technology solutions. Sandy, you’re next.

SANDY: I’ll take the subject of First Day, Alan.

ALAN: How long prior to the first day of college, should you begin living on campus?

SANDY: Well, gee I want to spend as much time as I can with my friends before I leave so I’m going to say the day before, maybe two days before?


ALAN: I’m sorry, think more like a week, Sandy. You need to have enough time before classes start to get to know the campus. It may take several days to learn your way around. You’ll need to connect with the disabled student services office or vocational rehabilitation services to become oriented to classrooms, offices, and student services. Remember that much of campus life is participating in all kinds of campus events. Learn how to access those as well.


ALAN: Oh, you know what that means! It’s time for a lightning round!


ALAN: This is how we play the lightning round. I’ll ask a question and you shout out as many answers that you can think of. Are you ready? Here’s the question. Where can you get money for college?

SANDY: Academic scholarships!

JIM: Financial Aid!

SANDY: Voc Rehab! Savings!

JIM: My grandma!

SANDY: Consumer group scholarships!


JIM: Summer job?

SANDY: Grants?


ALAN: That’s not too bad, all of those answers are correct. You could have also mentioned state programs—some states have grants that you can access. It’s important to remember that you need to pay for more than just your classes—you will need funds for housing, equipment, books, food and fun! You need to start researching your options and even saving money right now.

Okay, kids our final question is a toss-up. Both of you will have the opportunity to answer. The subject is Services. Here is the question. In the college environment, which person will be your advocate to ensure that you receive the services you need?


ALAN: (whispering) Think carefully…in college, who will be your advocate to make sure you get the services you need?


ALAN: Time is up…Jim, how do you respond to that question.

JIM: Alan, I’m going to say that your advisor would be your advocate.


ALAN: Oh no, I’m sorry. Your college advisor will be helpful in making decisions about which classes to take, and making sure you are on track for graduation. But they will not advocate for your services. Sandy, do you have an answer?

SANDY (proudly): Yes, I do Alan. I know that our local college has an Office of Disability Services…so I am going to say that an Office of Disability Services will get me the services I need.


ALAN: Oh, no, Sandy, I’m sorry that’s a good answer, but it’s not the right answer. The Office of Disability Services is there to give you advice and tell you about resources that may be available. You need to register with them as soon as possible, they are a great help. But they will not be your advocate. The answer to the question: In college, which person will be your advocate to make sure you get the services you need is…YOU!

JIM: Me?

ALAN: Yes, you! The support you receive in college is not the same you have received in high school. Once you are in college you are and will be treated as an adult. It is up to you to take the responsibility to think about what you will need ahead of time, research your options and be successful in the way you choose to manage difficult situations.


ALAN: Well kids, that’s about all the time we have. I’m sorry to say that neither of you have passed the College Ready Challenge…but it’s OK! You are juniors and you still have time to learn about what’s available at the schools you are interested in and be thinking about how college will work best for you.


ALAN: I’m Alan Barker. Until next time, please remember…it’s YOUR education. Take charge now!

NARRATOR: For more information about meeting the College-Ready Challenge, check out the CareerConnect website at! CareerConnect is a program of the American Foundation for the Blind!