In todays post I am going to go over what I talked about on my podcast on Autism & University and expand on it.
Before I go into anything. I know college isn’t for everyone especially those on the spectrum, but for those who think they can handle it I am going to over how to choose the right school to how to fit in and choose the right courses. So here we go.
How choose the right university for you, first of all not every university is equipped to deal with those of us on the ASD spectrum. So do you research diligently. Here is a website that lists the top universities for those on the autism scale, best colleges for those on the spectrum. Now this doesn’t list the universities out of country for that I will go over what to do.
But when you are researching for universities in the US, I will give you the same advice I gave on my podcast and that is, when you have chosen the university, go to the website and look to see if they have a disability dept, call them up and let them know you are a prospectus student and you want to know what they offer. Let them know what you have and what options they offer you from (Untimed testing, to note takers, to recording the class to extra time with the lecture or professor) Now dont just be happy with the one, have a list of the universities you want to go to and check out what they each offer and make your choice wisely.
Now don’t just choose the university based on the help they offer, you also want to go to one that has a program your interested in. Each university specializes in certain programs and you want one that has a program you interested in and once you know the university has the program and the right support, than make you choice lastly another thing you want to consider when choosing a university is the size and student population. You have big, medium and small. A large university has over 44,00 students where a small one like where I went in the UK has 12,00 a big difference. Its do you want be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond. Size does matter in student population because it depends if your a social person or a someone who likes to have a small group of friends and wants to find it easy to get around campus. I choose a small student population because, I wanted it to be easy to navigate and make friends.
So now you have chosen your university and happy with the support and they offer you program, you are going to need to write a letter to the them stating why you want to be a student there. When I went for my masters I was told to find a prof that is teaching a course you interested in, and personalize it to they know you have interest in the school and program.
Once your accepted, What next??? Well than you prepare yourself. So you chosen the program your interested in, and the courses you want to take in the program. Next step is to wait for the acceptance letter. Once you get it, you next step is to get all your stuff together. If you going out of state, you want to get your housing settled, freshmen usually stay in dorms for their 1st and 2nd year and than either move in to housing with friends or move into a frat or sorority house.
What kind of accommodations will I have? You will gone for 4yrs as a undergrad and 1yr for your post grad all depending where you go. Now for undergrads you will living in a dorm with either 2 or 3 other kids. Most schools now a days have a Facebook group you can join to where you can meet you possibly roommates. I highly advice that you talk with them to see if you get along. If your going for a Masters you are living on your own if the University has a living for those going for their post grads.
Once you have you accommodations set, make sure to write down the address and give it to everyone so they can write you or visit you while you are in school. Now You chosen the school and know you will be in good hands with their disability dept.
How am I going to pay for college? That’s a very good question there are a few ways you can go about this, the first way, is student loans, which involves applying for them and getting accepted, now you can choose how much you want to be lent, most choose the full amount so they can pay for housing and having spending money, the next is if you a athlete, see if there are any scholarships for athletes or even if you a bright student, see if they offer scholarships for those with good grades and high GPAs. or just go through the scholarships at this website FastWeb to see what is offered, and lastly if you are working see if you company offers to pay for your schooling, most wont but it’s worth a shot.
You choose your school, got accepted what’s next? Prepare yourself, university life is so different, from home life. There will be so much to do. One of the things I suggest is go 2 week before classes start. This way you can get your barrings and figure out where all your classes are and even get comfortable. One thing I would suggest you do is talk to your disability dept and accommodations and see if they can work together to help you, if you are not comfortable living with others, but mostly its not a loft style, you each will have your own room and a general main room you share. So once your settled and and acquainted with your surroundings talk to your disability dept and see if you can arrange a weekly meeting so they can help you with anything you need.
Now you settled and have your classes down. What now? Now I am gonna give you some important tips on how to stay ahead of the game with studying and such. One thing I can suggest is sit in front, try to get to class early and make sure you get a front roll seat. Most prefer to sit in t he back rows, but front row I makes things easier. For starters it keeps you from falling asleep, you can hear the professor or lecture and its easier to record the class.
I am not sure what all universities do, but I know where I went, courses started 5 mins later and ended 5 mins early so you can get to your next class. So if your not sure ask the your disability dept.
Once you got the lay of the land and you know you way around, look to join a club, this is where you will make a majority of your friends. Join a club that you know you will enjoy, for me I joined 3 and as time went on I dropped from 2 and stayed with the one I made most my friends from.
One of the most important things I can say is this, do not stay in your room all day, walk around campus find out whats there, see what restaurants are there, meet up with friends. Force youself to be social. Being locked up in your room defeats the point of going away to school, you can stay in your room at home.
Now if you feel your not ready for college life, I can reccommend trying online free courses in which you take at your own pace, there a few links in my resources page. The sites also offer online courses for degrees if you want to go that way as well. All through major universities.
Here are some great study tips I have used that helped me,
- When studying for a exam study for 10mins on and 5mins off (This will give you mind time to process the information)
- If you are having a problem understanding a topic, don’t be afraid to talk to the professor and ask for clearification
- Take advantage of your professors office time
- When recording a class, put you hand in front of the camera on anything important
- Also remember there is a difference between knowing the material and understanding it.
Thats it. If I remember anything else I will post it here.
Also be sure to check out my videos on Youtube