Last week we took S to visit the local community college he will be attending next year. We told him we were going to tour it and meet with the Disabled Student Services Office. We did both of those things, but the visit was really for him to understand that this is real. He is graduating, and he will be going to college next year. He wants to attend college; however, he is in denial about being a senior.
We started with the Disabled Student Services Office. S’s comment to us was that it should be called the Students with Disabilities Services Office (people first). The man we met with, Mr. H, was very nice and had a lot of good information for S. We told S when we arrived that the people we will be meeting with don’t want to talk to mom and dad. They want to talk to the college student - YOU!
Mr. H talked about potential majors (History or Liberal Arts), testing (opting to not take the SAT or ACT), transferring to a 4 year school (somewhere in VA or MN), costs of attending an out-of-state college, trying to get through school debt free (AGREE!), the need to be a good writer and practice using Dragon Dictation to make it work for him (he’s heard this a time or two from us), transportation to school, process of applying and taking placement tests, etc. It was good information for S. He’s heard ALL of this from us, but it’s always different when it comes from someone else who is in a position of authority. It helps him realize that his parents just might know what they are talking about. Mr. H was pleased to hear that S is already a client of DARS and DBVI. He told S that he is ahead of the game. That's always nice to hear.
Then, we headed over for our tour. We had a personal tour by a young lady who is getting ready to graduate and head off to pursue her Bachelor’s degree with a plan to get her Master’s degree also. She talked about how she had a plan for her major, but she changed her mind after starting there (we have told S that it is okay to change your mind). She was very enthusiastic and did a good job of asking S the questions. Sometimes people try to talk to us instead of him.
Our tour guide also told us about a program they have on campus that is for students who meet one of three criteria: low income student, first generation college student, or a student who has a documented disability. She was involved with this program, and she said it provided a great sense of community. They meet 5 times/semester and provide support in various areas in addition to doing social activities. That sounds like a great program.
S realized that the campus isn’t quite as large as it looks driving past it on the freeway. It is a manageable size. The students who were there were very friendly and helpful by pointing out ramp locations, assisting with doors, etc. In general, he feels comfortable with this transition.
We took him to the bookstore, so he could get his school t-shirt and a water bottle. We also had him look at textbook prices. He didn’t care for the prices. He’s already trying to figure out ways to save money there.
It was a good visit. This will be a good stepping stone for him before he transitions to a 4 year school wherever that may be. We are looking forward to the future and the opportunities that are waiting for S. He just needs to work on the application process now.
Since this is going as planned, I will be hanging out on the couch with chocolate!