How to Get Started

Initial Meeting

In order to determine eligibility and receive accommodations in a timely manner, please complete the steps listed below. If you have questions or concerns regarding any of these steps, please call our office for help.

Before the Appointment:

1. Prepare a copy of appropriate documentation of your disability which states a documented disability, notes its substantial impact to one or more major life activities, as well as support your request for accommodations, auxiliary aids, and or academic adjustments. This copy will need to be kept in your confidential file in our office. Nancy will email you the specific documentation guidelines before your appointment. Or locate the link to our documentation guidelines in our 'Guide for Students with Disabilities.'

2. It is encouraged for you to review your documentation with an appropriate licensed professional ahead of time and make a list of the accommodations that are recommended to you. Ask for explanations of your disability, its limitations, management strategies to help, etc. The more information you know of this disability/documentation, the more you will be able to know what to self-advocate for. Here are example questions you can use as a guide to ask your medical provider. You can even show your provider a copy of the documentation guidelines and ask them to provide more information in their written documentation in order to meet the documentation guidelines. Take notes during this meeting!

3. It is best if you have completed the COCC application process ahead of time, but not required. Please see below for information regarding admissions.

During the Appointment you'll be asked to discuss:

1. A description of your disability and where it creates barriers for you in the physical/learning environment. Be prepared to disclose and discuss this in depth. Can you answer the questions: "What is my diagnosed disability(ies)? What is it's impact on my academics? How does it interfere with my learning?" Here are example questions you can use as a guide to help you describe your disability and the functional limitations you experience.

2. A review of the documentation of disability you provide which supports the accommodation requests you are making. Be prepared to give a copy of your documentation. Can you answer this question: "What accommodations have I previously had and/or are asking for, and how does my documentation support this?"

3. A review of the strategies and accommodations which have worked for you in other learning environments, and of your existing support system.

4. Your request for specific services and accommodations at COCC, and a discussion of your responsibilities to advocate for yourself.

5. Your plans and goals.

6. COCC's services, programs and facilities and what is readily available.

7. Other outside services such as community resources, low cost technology, etc. (See the 'support resources' tab)

After the Appointment:

1. You will receive directions (continued in these next steps) on how to use your letter of accommodations that will be emailed to you one week before the term starts (or within the next 2-3 days if your appointment is mid term). The approved accommodations will be listed in a letter attached to this email.

2. When you receive your letter of accommodations, print it out and give a copy to each of your instructors. Find out when your instructors are available for you to do this (before or after class, during office hours, etc.).

3. Speak to your instructors in order to verbally activate your accommodations. Most accommodations need advance notice of at least 24 hours. You will need to let them know which accommodations you would like to use for the class. You will need to do this for every class, every term. It is wise to introduce yourself to all new instructors early in the term and let them know who you are. Bringing a copy of your letter is a good way to "break the ice" with a new instructor. Instructors are willing to assist students once they know that accommodations are reasonable and are based on documented disabilities.

4. Work collaboratively to implement and trouble shoot problems throughout the term. This reiterates open dialogue and constant communication with your instructors. You are not required to disclose your disability to anyone outside of the Disability Services Office, however coordinating the preparation of accommodation use will require discussion with each instructor. In addition, the Coordinator is available to confer with the instructor and/or student regarding any questions about accommodations being provided.

Preparing for College

If you believe you will need any accommodation based on learning or physical barriers you encounter, it is important that you connect with the Services for Students with Disabilities Department early on, or even before, the term begins. This early contact will help us, and you, to do the appropriate planning. COCC will make every reasonable effort to accommodate you even if you do not meet these recommended timelines, and certain accommodations can be arranged without a lot of pre-planning. Determining what assistance you are eligible for and making the necessary arrangements to have it in place by the time classes begin often takes time. (Examples of accommodations where early planning is very important include requests for sign language interpreters, print material in alternate format or specialized equipment.). Students in high school transition programs will want to make this contact even earlier, about midway through their senior year.

The college environment differs greatly from high school or other learning environments you may have previously encountered. According to the Oregon Post-Secondary Education Transition Guide:

"If students are interested in attending college, they need to know about and do many
things in order to be successful in that setting. This is particularly true for those who
wish to enroll in and complete Academic and Professional-Technical Programs."

The Guide lists the following key factors for a student's success:

  • level of interest and motivation
  • independence, self-direction and self-advocacy skills, knowledge about him or herself
  • academic abilities
  • information about college programs and services
  • resources for support.

These factors are equally important whether you are a traditional student transitioning from high school, or a student returning to school at a later time in your life.

Admission & Registration

Admission procedures are outlined in the college catalog and in the schedule of classes published each term. You may also go to the COCC Admissions website, for more information.

Adult Basic Skills

Students who are interested in COCC, but not ready for college credit instruction-should look into Adult Basic Skills (ABS). The ABS program provides high school completion courses, GED test preparation, and basic skills instruction in reading, writing, spelling, math, study skills and basic computer technology. Assessments are available to help the student determine current skill levels and learning style. Enrollment occurs through the quarter. For more information, call COCC Adult Basic Skills, (541) 504-2950, or go to Adult Basic Skills.


Return to Guide for Students with Disabilities Index