- Visit the universities you’re thinking of applying to
By going to visit universities that you’re thinking of applying to, you can start to imagine what your life would be like there. It can also be a good opportunity to explore campus, visit Disability Services and see accommodation etc.
- Look into extra funding support
Being a disabled student doesn’t have to cost more than it does for non-disabled students. There is funding out there available to people, e.g. DSA for support / equipment/ transport and lots of university schemes that pay towards things like en-suite rooms if they are needed on medical grounds. Asking about these can definitely make a difference to the cost of student life.
- Disclose your disability
Don’t worry about disclosing your disability at university, it won’t disadvantage you. It is important to disclose so that the appropriate support can be discussed early and plans can start being put in place for your time at uni. Disclosing means that the start to uni life can go more smoothly with the support that you want already in place.
- Try to imagine what you may need in uni life
This point follows on from no.3, but student life is quite different to life at sixth form/ college- the amount of hours spent in class, learning style, living arrangements and social life are different, so taking the time to think about what you may need in the uni setting is a good idea and makes planning much easier.
- Ask questions
When you talk to Disability Services or other students, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and lots of them. This can show you the university’s support systems that they have in place and general approach, so that you can decide where you want to study. Talking to people already studying at the uni can give you an idea of what works well and what could be improved. The chances are someone out there has experienced similar things to what you will, so learning from their experiences and tips can give you an idea of things to bring up in discussion early and may give you some ideas about useful equipment/ support/ strategies that you hadn’t thought of before.
- Think about different aspects of uni life
Being a student doesn’t only involve the studying. Will you be living at home? Will you be living in student accommodation? Is it a campus uni? Is it spread across the city? How far away are supermarkets, doctors and pharmacies? What are the university’s wellbeing services like? Where do people socialise- on campus or off campus? What is public transport like in the city? Are buildings, accommodation and routes accessible? Exam arrangements? Thinking about these different aspects can be useful in deciding which uni suits you best.
Preparing for uni life can be a daunting experience, but your years at uni can be the best years of your life! I hope these tips are useful.