Applying to College Special Circumstances

The Benefits Of Sharing Your Disability With Your College

Written by CB Community

College helps disabled individuals reach their full potential. But the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) has found that disabled students are hiding their disabilities.

They report that almost 63% of students who were classed as disabled in high school failed to acknowledge their disability when they started college.

Fear, embarrassment, and not wanting to look weak are thought to be the reasons behind this.

But if you’re a disabled student heading for college, there are benefits in disclosing your disability.

Tailored Support

A good college will provide personalized support to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities.

The law states that academic institutions which receive federal funding must provide equal benefits, services, and opportunities to students with disabilities. This is why so many colleges now have services just for disabled students.

To get this help you must inform the college of your disability. Not only does this ensure you get all the help and adaptations that you require, but it also increases your chances of success.

Just 34% of disabled college students who sign up for a 4-year course complete it.

Failing to address your disability can make college tougher than it needs to be and could result in you having to quit, so it’s best to speak up as early as possible.

Educate Others

Around 67% of people say that talking to a disabled person makes them feel uncomfortable. Statistics like this may make you think it’s best to keep your disability to yourself.

However, by sharing this information with your college and classmates, you’ll help to educate people, which will dispel these types of feelings.

Invisible disabilities, such as ASD, EDS, Crohn’s disease, and fibromyalgia are some of the most misunderstood conditions, so it’s important to talk about them and how they affect you.

If you’ve got a visible condition, such as Down syndrome or cerebral palsy, show them you can still lead a normal life.

You could also use a support site to encourage your fellow students and lecturers to educate themselves.

Financial Help

During the 2020 to 2021 school year, the annual fee for a four-year course at an in-state college was $10,740. This is a lot of money for any student, but for a disabled one, it can hit them hard.

Disabled students tend to come from low-income families. They also have higher living costs than those who aren’t disabled.

When you tell your college that you’ve got a disability, you’ll gain access to college disability services. You may also be eligible for a grant which can help you pay for college and assistive technology.

Scholarships are often available for disabled students and can reduce the amount you need to spend on college. Best of all, there’s no need to pay it back.

Protection from Discrimination

College students with disabilities have many rights. During the admissions process, colleges cannot discriminate against applicants based on their disability.

Colleges with disabled students must make reasonable adjustments to their services and courses. They should also modify standard procedures if required.

This could mean allowing service animals in the classroom or providing disabled students with extended time during exams.

However, it’s important to note that schools do not have to make an attempt to identify students with disabilities.

So, if you want to ensure you’re treated fairly and are fully accommodated during your college years, you need to speak up.


Students with disabilities have a lot to gain from college. The best thing you can do is tell your college about your condition, so you get the best support and opportunities throughout the length of your course.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.