It’s never too early to begin considering what types of education options might make the best sense for a student after high school. To start thinking about the options, consider things like:
There are many different types and sizes of schools that offer various class subjects and learning environments. First, you should understand what options are available to you for your own situation. Then, there are steps that you can take to prepare yourself for applying to these schools. Your high school’s guidance office is a terrific resource to help you learn about your options and the steps you need to take to apply. You should also know that there are a number of searchable databases to help narrow down your school choices in addition to using the guidance office at your high school. For example, Big Future College Board offers an online search tool (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/).
Two-year colleges usually offer courses across a number of subjects. They may also offer occupational or technical training. Students who complete a two-year program may earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. Sometimes, credits that a student earns at a two-year college may be transferred to a four-year college. Two-year colleges typically are private institutions.
Community colleges typically are public institutions. Similar to two-year colleges, community colleges usually offer courses across various subject areas. They may also offer occupational or technical training, to prepare students for specific careers. Many community colleges also offer continuing and adult education classes. Many students transfer to a four-year college or university after graduating from a community college.
Four-year colleges and universities offer courses that allow students to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. There is a wide range of four-year colleges and universities, which can be very different in terms of size, admissions criteria, cost, student population, and academic standards.
There are many educational programs after high school that help people with disabilities learn skills in areas like independent living, preparing for employment, time management, and many other areas. These programs may be offered in a residential or non-residential setting. Some programs allow students to get a certificate upon completion of the program.
One example of this type of program is the University of Delaware Career and Life Studies Certificate (CLSC) Program. To learn more about this program, see http://www.udel.edu/cds/initiatives-adults-clsc.html or call 302-831-2940.
Online or distance learning may also be an option for you to consider. Many programs or degrees can be completed partly through online or distance learning. This option may allow you to attend some class sessions from home, so that you do not always have to travel to the classroom to attend class. In some cases, an entire program or degree can be completed online. Make sure to check on the details of the class requirements, as each one may be different. Also, these classes usually will require that you have your own computer, Internet connection, and a minimum level of computer experience.
For example, Delaware Technical Community College offers Distance Education Courses. These courses include courses that are 100% online, plus “hybrid” courses that involve both face-to-face and online coursework. For more information, see https://www.dtcc.edu/academics/learning-options/distance-education.
There are a number of trade schools that provide education and training in a particular trade, such as electrical or computer / technology support. Be aware that some schools may be less willing to provide adequate services for people with disabilities than others. Therefore, if you are interested in enrolling in a trade school, you should talk with the school about your specific needs, and whether they will accommodate them, in advance of when you apply or enroll.