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Checklist for youth who are deaf or hard of hearing going to college or university

  • Know what choices you have (see useful Career Assessments)
  • Visit programs, talk to other students, families, watch videos, etc
  • Set post secondary education and career goals through the use of various online self assessment tools (see Career Assessments and Best Practices in Transition Planning)
  • Ensure you are taking academic courses throughout high school which will prepare you for college or university
  • Be an active participant in your Individual Education Plan in high school, particularly with regards to transition planning
  • Advocate for yourself while in high school, as this will prepare you for when you need to advocate for yourself in college or university
  • Obtain college or university catalogue(s) and review them carefully with support from your family and high school staff (i.e. itinerant teachers)
  • Visit the colleges or universities you are interested in while in high school
  • Ensure that documentation of your hearing loss is up-to-date. This is usually required by the college or university for accommodation needs
  • Understand the nature of your hearing loss and how it can affect your school work. Practice how you want to refer to your hearing loss and identify what supports you need
  • Encourage teachers to document what accommodations and technology you use now and what you may need in college or university (i.e. peer notetaker, computerized notetaker, real-time captioning, Signed Language-spoken language interpreter, speech-to-text software, tape recorder, FM system, etc.). Create a list of these accommodations and supports
  • Become familiar with the various access supports and discover what works best for you. Know how to access them.
  • Visit college(s) or university(ies) together with your family so that you have good information to make a final choice
  • Meet with the college or university Disability Services Office to learn about how accommodations are provided. Make sure that your accommodation needs will actually be there and be committed to you. It is also important to get this writing. Review the college or university accessibility policies and procedures.
  • Discuss goals, learning needs, and know how to access specific accommodations, including academic supports that are available for all students (i.e. tutoring, writing support) with the Disability Service Office staff before classes begin
  • If there is a specific program on campus for students who are deaf or hard of hearing and have another disability, arrange to meet with the staff. Find out how students in the program participate in general college and university life as well as their academic programs
  • Figure out and set-up transportation prior to the start of school (i.e. driving, car-pooling, learning to use public transit, travel vouchers)
  • Be aware of financial aid resources available to you and make sure that funding for all costs are arranged before school starts (e.g., tuition, books, fees, transportation). See Financing your Training for more information.
  • Identify how the financial support you may receive impacts other benefits (i.e. ODSP, family supports, etc)
  • Know what and where services are available through adult human service agencies (i.e. The Canadian Hearing Society, Employment Ontario, One-Stop Career Centres, Development Disability agencies). Meet with one of the representatives from these groups and get familiar with possible resources available to you. You should have the phone numbers for relevant agencies in your phone or iPod.
  • Be aware of the fact that your family members will need written consent from you to obtain access to you records at the college or university level (e.g. your marks to show that you are doing well)

Adapted with references: Pathways for Success, Ontario Ministry of Education

Passport to Prosperity, Ontario Ministry of Education

Transition Planning: A Resource Guide, Ontario Ministry of Education

Choosing your course for life after High School, Ontario Ministry of Education

Transition, Links for Parents, PEPNet (

Youth Dynamic: An Employment Services Guide for Working with Deaf, Deafened and Hard of Hearing Youth

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