Chronic illness is a condition that affects a person’s physical or mental health and persists over a long period, often for years or even a lifetime. It can be challenging for individuals with chronic illness to navigate the complex process of searching for and selecting the right college. Students with chronic illness may require additional support and resources to succeed in college. Therefore, it is essential to consider the unique needs and challenges these students face during the college search process.
This article provides valuable tips and insights for students with chronic illness to help them make informed decisions when selecting a college that accommodates their needs and ensures their success in higher education.
It allows them to take the time to research and evaluate colleges that can provide adequate support and resources to accommodate their needs. It gives students ample time to prepare for the college application, ensuring they have enough time to gather necessary documentation, take standardized tests, and complete application requirements. To start early, students with chronic illness can begin by researching colleges with specific programs and resources to support students with disabilities. They can also contact college disability service offices to learn more about available resources and accommodation. Students can build their support network by contacting current college students with chronic illness and joining online support groups to gain valuable insights and advice.
Prioritizing accessibility is crucial for students with chronic illness when searching for colleges. It ensures the college can provide the necessary support and accommodations for students to succeed academically. Accessibility considerations may include physical accessibility, such as wheelchair ramps, accessible dorm rooms, and accessible bathrooms, or digital accessibility, such as electronic textbooks and online course materials. When researching colleges, students with chronic illness should prioritize accessibility by looking for colleges with disability support services and resources. They can also reach out to the college’s disability services office to inquire about available accommodation. It is also essential to consider the location and layout of the campus, the proximity of medical facilities, and the availability of transportation options to ensure that the student can access necessary resources and accommodations.
Consider Campus Size and Location
When searching for a college, campus size and location are essential factors to consider for students with chronic illness. Campus size can impact the walking or physical activity required to attend classes, dining halls, and other campus facilities. A larger campus may require more walking and navigating, which can be challenging for students with physical limitations. The campus location is also essential, as it can affect access to medical facilities, public transportation, and other resources. Students with chronic illness should prioritize their specific needs and limitations when considering campus size and location. It may be helpful to consider the proximity of medical facilities and support services and the availability of accessible transportation options. Students should also consider their comfort level in different environments and choose a campus size and location conducive to their physical and mental well-being.
Research Health Services and Support
Researching health services and support is crucial for students with chronic illness when searching for a college. Students with chronic illness often require additional support and resources to manage their condition while pursuing their academic goals. Therefore, ensuring that the college offers adequate health services and support to accommodate their needs is crucial.
When researching health services and support, students can look for colleges that provide disability support services and specialized health clinics. They can also inquire about the availability of on-campus medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and therapists, and the accessibility of medical facilities off-campus. It is also essential to consider the availability of mental health services, counseling, and support groups, as chronic illness can affect mental health. Students with chronic illness should prioritize their physical and psychological well-being when researching health services and support.
Be Transparent in the Application Process
Being transparent in college application is crucial for students with chronic illness. It allows colleges to understand the student’s specific needs and provide the necessary support and accommodation to ensure their success in higher education. By being transparent about their chronic illness, students can advocate for themselves and ensure their needs are met. Being transparent can help students build a relationship with their future college’s disability support services and establish a plan for accommodations.
To be evident in the application process, students can disclose their chronic illness on their application and submit medical documentation, such as letters from doctors or medical reports, if required. They can also reach out to the college’s disability support services office and discuss their specific needs and any accommodation they may require. Being transparent in the application process can help students with chronic illness receive the necessary support and resources to succeed in college.
Connect with Disability Services
Connecting with disability services is essential for students with chronic illness when transitioning to college. Disability services offices can provide support, resources, and accommodations tailored to students’ needs. This accommodation may include extended time on exams, note-taking assistance, and accessible course materials. By connecting with disability services, students can ensure that they receive the necessary support to succeed academically while managing their chronic illness. To communicate with disability services, students can reach out to the college’s disability services office early in the application process.
They can schedule an appointment to discuss their needs and learn more about the available resources and accommodation. It is vital to establish a relationship with the disability services office early on to ensure that the necessary accommodation is in place before the start of classes. By connecting with disability services, students can access valuable support and resources to help them succeed in college.
Consider Online and Part-Time Programs
Online and part-time programs can benefit students with chronic illness who may require more flexibility in their academic schedules. These programs allow students to complete coursework independently, allowing more flexibility in managing their chronic illness. Online programs may provide a more accessible and comfortable learning environment for students with mobility limitations or other physical impairments. When considering online and part-time programs, students should research and compare different programs to find the one that best fits their needs and goals.
It is essential to ensure that the program is accredited and offers the necessary support and resources, such as disability services and academic advising. Students should also consider the workload and pace of the program to ensure that it is manageable while managing their chronic illness. By viewing online and part-time programs, students can find a learning environment that accommodates their specific needs and allows them to succeed academically while managing their chronic illness.
Seek Out Scholarships and Financial Aid
Seeking scholarships and financial aid is crucial for students with chronic illness when pursuing higher education. Chronic illness can result in significant medical expenses, making it difficult for students to afford the high cost of college. Scholarships and financial aid can help alleviate the financial burden and provide students with the necessary support to pursue their academic goals. Students should research and apply for as many opportunities as possible when seeking scholarships and financial aid. This may include scholarships the college offers, private foundations, and other organizations supporting students with chronic illness.
Students should also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for federal and state financial aid programs. It is crucial to stay organized when applying for scholarships and financial aid, keep track of deadlines, and submit all required materials in a timely manner. By seeking out scholarships and financial aid, students with chronic illness can make higher education more affordable and accessible, allowing them to focus on their academic goals without worrying about financial constraints.
Trust Your Guts
Trusting your gut is essential when making decisions that are best suited for you, especially when living with a chronic illness. It is crucial to listen to your intuition and trust your instincts when making important decisions, such as selecting a college or a major. Trusting your gut involves acknowledging your feelings and thoughts about a situation and using them to make decisions. It is essential to prioritize your well-being and to consider how different choices may impact on your health.
When making decisions, consider your physical, mental, and emotional health, and trust your gut to guide you towards alternatives that will support your overall well-being. Discussing your options with a trusted friend, family member, or healthcare provider can help you gain additional perspective. By trusting your gut, you can make informed decisions prioritizing your health and well-being and setting yourself up for college success and beyond.
The college search process can be challenging for any student and incredibly daunting for those living with chronic illness. However, by following the right tips, students can ensure that they find a college that will support their unique needs and help them achieve their academic goals. To summarize, some of the top tips for students with the chronic illness include starting early, prioritizing accessibility, researching health services and support, being transparent in the application process, connecting with disability services, considering online and part-time programs, seeking out scholarships and financial aid, and trusting your gut.
We encourage students with chronic illness to pursue their college dreams, as higher education can provide valuable personal and professional growth opportunities. By following these tips and seeking the necessary support and resources, students can successfully navigate the college search process and thrive academically while managing their chronic illness.