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Information, hints & tips to support students with their studies at PCCC. Classroom tips, study smarter not harder, reading fluency, writing, self-advocating, email your instructors, time management, purchasing textbooks, passing tests, and much more.
Last Updated: Aug 25, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Over 50 million Americans, or 1 in 5 people, or 20% of the U.S. population, are living with at least one disability, and most Americans will experience a disability some time during the course of their lives. source: CDC


Institute on Community Integration (UCEDD)

IMPACT: Feature Issue on Postsecondary Education and Students with Intellectual, Developmental and Other Disabilities

Published by the Institute on Community Integration (UCEDD) and the Research and Training Center on Community Living, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota • Volume 23 • Number 3 • Autumn/Winter 2010/2011

From the Editors

Postsecondary education is a primary goal for the majority of high school students with transition plans, according to the National Longitudinal Transition Study–2. However, according to that same study, only about 3 in 10 young adults with disabilities have taken postsecondary education classes since high school. And among those with the lowest rates of participation are students with intellectual disabilities. This Impact issue explores what we know, and what we still need to know, about what works to support increased participation of students with disabilities, especially those with intellectual disabilities, in postsecondary education and why that participation is important. It includes stories about students with disabilities succeeding in higher education, strategies for families and school personnel to use in supporting planning for postsecondary education during high school, research findings and historical overviews on our national journey to support full participation in all areas of life – including education – for individuals with intellectual and other disabilities, and explanations of the education laws that can undergird that participation. It’s our hope that readers of this issue will find new ways of thinking about the role of post-high-school education in the lives of young people with disabilities, and about the benefits to those young people as well as our communities and nation.


Suggestions for a Successful Freshman Transition to a College Setting

  • Take a lighter course load your first semester to improve your chances of success in college.
  • Make use of all college resources: learning center, advisor, computer-assisted instruction or review and tutorial sessions.
  • Identify one student from each of your classes with whom you can build a connection when studying, exchanging notes and preparing for tests.
  • Make the time to get to know your instructors. Schedule an appointment to visit each one during their office hours. Let them know you are interested in the material they teach.
  • Set moderate, attainable goals that can be reached successfully the first three weeks of the semester. This accomplishment will give a feeling of success and will encourage you to set higher goals for the rest of the semester.
  • In a college setting most of your work must be completed outside of the classroom setting. You will need to use your free day-time hours for studying.
  • Make a schedule of your weekly routine, post it in a prominent place and stick to it.
  • Always work ahead in your textbook reading. This will give you a feeling of security in case something happens and you must miss a class. Reading ahead assures that the classroom lecture will cover familiar material.
  • Switch subjects when studying and reading becomes boring.
  • Do your most difficult assignments first to get them out of the way.
  • Reward yourself by saving your favorite subjects for last.
  • Break your reading assignments down into manageable sections of 10 pages at a time.
  • Always review your notes from each class within 24 hours after the class.
  • College reading is a higher reading level than high school texts.
  • Find a textbook reading approach that works and use it.

from Suggestions for a Successful Freshman Transition to a College Setting


Successful Study Strategies for Non-Traditional Adult Learners

  • Proven time management skills are critical for an adult learner who is also juggling a family, a job and outside activities.
  • Remember that adult learners have an advantage of building on prior knowledge and life experiences when difficult material is presented.
  • Your first classes should include interesting entry-level courses in your major.
  • Find other adult learners on campus and create a support network of similar students.
  • When beginning the semester, set realistic goals for home and family. Don't try to keep to your old routine while adding the pressure of classes and studying.
  • Set your study schedule for the quiet hours when the children are sleeping or in school or use the library on campus.
  • Make time in your schedule for family activities and routines.
  • Use commuting time to review or play taped lectures while driving.
  • Don't hesitate to get help when you need it. Go see your professor, attend study sessions through Tutoring Across the Curriculum, and network with other adult students in your classes.
  • Do difficult tasks early in your day. Take advantage of quiet times between classes or when children have gone to school to tackle difficult study tasks.
  • Break your tasks down into smaller, more manageable parts that will more easily fit into your busy schedule.
  • Use your family as a resource when studying. Ask a child to help you study. Teach someone else in your family the material you are studying.
  • Spread out your study tasks over several days to allow you to schedule family obligations.
  • Ask your professor for a sample exam or an old exam to use for review. Reviewing sample exams will help you prepare for the types of questions to expect.

from Successful Study Strategies for Non-Traditional Adult Learners

Post-secondary Student Organizations

DREAM - Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring

DREAM is an organization-in-process, initiated in the hopes of promoting a national (United States-based) disabilities agenda for post-secondary students and their allies and serving as an educational resource and source of support for both individuals and local campus-based groups.  A genuinely cross-disabilities effort, DREAM aims to fully include students with the full range of disabilities--psychiatric, cognitive, developmental, mental, physical, intellectual, sensory, and psychological-- explicitly including groups who have been traditionally marginalized or under-represented within the larger Disability Community. 

We advocate for the continued development of disability culture and disability pride as well as related sub-cultures and movements (e.g. autistic culture/pride, mad culture/pride) and strongly value physical, mental and neurodiversity.


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