Why Should I Register?

Answers for Adult Students and Recent High-School Graduates

The short answer for adult students and recent high-school graduates is that if you want access to the formal resources offered through the Office of College wide Disability Services, it is your responsibility to register with the office. But, why should you register?

An Answer for Adult Students

Adult students consistently report concern that if they disclose their disability:

  • they will be placed in easier courses
  • held to a lower standard than everyone else
  • everyone in their studies will know their business and treat them differently.

These concerns represent a misunderstanding about what it means to be a student with a disability in higher education. Students registered with the office are not placed into easier courses, are held to the same academic and behavioral standards as all students, and only their primary mentor, instructors and center disability representative are notified by the office that they are registered and entitled to certain accommodations.

The purpose of registering with the office is to ensure an equal opportunity for success in your college experience by making sure that reasonable accommodations are determined and implemented in an appropriate manner. Registering with the office ensures that you will be able to access your courses, textbooks and assignments so that you have the same opportunity to succeed as any other student.

An Answer for Recent High-School Graduates

Recent high-school graduates are often unaware that how their disability and education are managed and who is responsible for that management is different in college than it was in high school.

  • From kindergarten through 12th-grade, the education of individuals with disabilities is regulated by a law known as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). This law places the majority of the responsibility on the school district to identify students with disabilities and to make sure that services which lead to student success are in place.
  • Outside of the K-12 system, including in college and the world of work, services and resources for individuals with disabilities are regulated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. In college, these two laws place the responsibility to disclose their disability and ask for accommodations on the student, with the emphasis on providing equal access to campus and classroom resources.

Don’t worry; even though the rules have changed, the staff in the Office of Collegewide Disability Services and the disability representatives working in centers and units throughout the state and online are prepared to assist you with your transition from high school to college.

Return to Student Handbook or continue to Applicable Laws for Students with Disabilities.

Take the Next Step

Ready to advance your education and career? There’s no time like the present. Apply now, or learn more about SUNY Empire at one of our information sessions.
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