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    • #12429
      Kevin Schaefer
      Keymaster

      One of the questions I hear most often from high school students with SMA is how to handle the transition to college. In college it’s unlikely that you will have a full-time aid with you, and you will face plenty of challenges during your time as a student. However, I would encourage you to not let these challenges deter you from pursuing a college education.

      My college years were some of the best years of my life, and I wrote about the experience here: https://www.mda.org/quest/article/surviving-and-thriving-college

      Here are just a few tips I have for making the transition from high school to college when you have SMA. Please feel free to share your own thoughts and ask questions.

      Connect With Your School’s Disability Services Department: Every University should have some sort of disability services office, and if yours doesn’t then talk to your Chancellor. This is a great way to determine what kind of accommodations that your school does provide, and to acquire things like in-class note takers and extended time on tests.

      Get Involved in Campus Life: Joining student organizations and attending campus events is a great way to meet people and explore the things you’re interested in. I’ve met some of my lifelong friends this way, and it’s through joining my alma mater’s student newspaper that I was able to start my journalism career.

      Communicate with Professors: Your Professors won’t be automatically aware of your needs or even know what SMA is, but communicating with them goes a long way. Build relationships with your instructors early on. Let them know what accommodations you need. This is something that helped me tremendously during my college years.

    • #12431
      Ryan Berhar
      Keymaster

      I looked into community college a couple years ago, and I was denied the assistance necessary for me to go. As usual, square peg, round hole. I was, however, able to receive the education I needed from a mentor. So while I don’t have any experience with college, I would encourage you not to lose hope if that path doesn’t work out for you. There are alternatives outside of college (that can actually be better)  to get education on certain things. First of all, find a mentor, and then get connected with a Vocational Councilor who can put you in touch with other potential mentors.  Just connect with as many people as you can. Some will be of little assistance, but you’ll likely find others who will be of great help.  As my dad often says, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

      • #12438
        Kevin Schaefer
        Keymaster

        That’s great advice. Yeah there are definitely alternatives to college, but like you said you need some kind of mentor or support system. Online classes are a good option as well. It’s amazing what you can do with just a computer in today’s society.

    • #12432
      DeAnn R
      Keymaster

      For me support was key.  Although one of my parents were hesitant I could make a go of it, in the end both parents supported my decision to try it and I’m grateful for their support.  It would have been much more difficult had the one parent tried to hold me back.

      • #12439
        Kevin Schaefer
        Keymaster

        That’s awesome. Yeah I know it’s tough for any parent to let their kids go, but it’s especially hard for SMA parents. I’m glad though that they were willing to help you be more independent.

        You should make a video sometime about your college experience!

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