Lesser-Known Accommodations Universities Offer Students

By Julia Dunn on October 24, 2016

Have you ever gotten seriously ill during midterms season and ignored your health to take a large test? Did you know that physically disabled students qualify for their university’s escort shuttle service?

High numbers of students sacrifice their health at the expense of college demands, and most colleges offer different types of accommodations for which students often don’t know they qualify. Here are some services common to universities that students might not be familiar with.

Assignment Extensions

College professors are technically not allowed to prohibit students from turning in late work or making up a major exam if you have a health emergency, family emergency, or you belong to a protected class (for instance, if you are pregnant). If you are in a dire situation, professors are supposed to work out alternate arrangements to suit your predicament.

Remember this the next time you run a 105 degree fever but you choose a late-night study session instead of a trip to urgent care, or if your parent has died days before a class portfolio is due. Students often become so absorbed in fear of performing poorly on exams, missing them entirely or failing to meet a deadline that they forget that their health comes first at all times. Professors know this, too! It can’t hurt to ask for an extension or special arrangements in case an emergency comes up.

Night Escort Service

Have you ever felt apprehensive about walking across campus to your dorm late at night? Feeling a little unsafe doing so alone? Lots of schools offer escort services for students needing to get home to their dorms late at night. Oftentimes, the service is sponsored by campus police departments and if you call the appropriate phone number and let them know your location, a student “ambassador” or assistant will escort you home either on foot or by vehicle, depending on the circumstances.

Image via Pixabay

Disabled Student Shuttle

Along the same lines as the Night Escort Service, most colleges offer transportation for physically disabled or handicapped students. If getting around on crutches or walking on a cast is becoming painful or inconvenient, call your school’s disability resource center to find out how to request a shuttle for on-campus travel.

No student should have to arrive late to their classes due to a broken leg or any other physical disability.

Audio-Recorded Lectures

With professor permission, students may be allowed to record class lectures on their cell phones for added support in information-heavy courses. Students having trouble with the speed of lectures may be able to record lectures (or access recordings of each class that the professor might make themselves) to better assist their learning.

The ability to play back, rewind and fast-forward your class lectures may bring some peace of mind to anyone who experiences difficulty listening to lectures for long periods of time (like 1.5 hour-long classes) or students who have anxiety about missing a detail in class.

Distraction-Reduced Environments

In large lecture classes, you might find that you have a particularly difficult time completing exams in a room packed to the brim with hundreds of students. Particularly for students with learning disabilities or issues that concern focus, a distraction-free environment could significantly impact your testing experience for the better.

The term “distraction-reduced environment” essentially means that students needing a different place to take exams may be offered an alternate testing area such as a separate classroom with fewer people in it.

Extended Exam Times

Students can qualify for an extended exam time frame through the disability resource center at their campus if a disability or other issue prevents them from being able to complete their exams in the time allotted for a class midterm or final. This accommodation is reserved for students who truly cannot finish their exams in the set time block — not for students who simply didn’t study enough for the exam to be able to finish in time.

Students who receive an extension for their midterm or final exam time are usually allowed to test in a different space, such as a “distraction-reduced environment” that will be most optimal for focusing.

Support Animals

Typically university housing departments do not allow animals in campus apartments or residence halls (except fish, in some cases). However, students can request to have a support animal if they have a mental or physical health reason, such as severe anxiety. If you are a student who would feel safer or more comfortable with a support animal in your dorm room, inquire about the process of getting a support animal approved with campus housing services and/or your university’s disability resource center. You’ll have to fill out a series of forms that specifically outlines the ways in which a support pet will help you.

Even if you think you might not qualify for accommodations for any reason, always ask about them at the appropriate departments on campus — you deserve all the help and support you can get while living as a college student on or off campus. For more information on the rights belonging to students with disabilities, click here.

By Julia Dunn

Uloop Writer
A writer, editor and educator based in Northern California.

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