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Differences between High School and College

High School College
The applicable law is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. The applicable law is the Americans with Disabilities Act or the ADA and Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
IDEA is about success. The ADA is about access.
Fundamental modifications of programs and curricula are required. No fundamental modifications — only accommodations.
Education is a right and must be provided in an appropriate environment to all individuals. Education is not a right — students must meet certain admission criteria.
The school district is responsible for identifying a student's disability. Students must self-identify.
The school district develops Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) to define educational services. Students must identify needs and request services — no IEP exists and is not always sufficient documentation.
The school district provides free evaluations. The student must obtain evaluations at own expense.
Student is supported by parents and teachers. Student is responsible for seeking assistance from the Disability Services Office.
Primary responsibility for arranging modifications belongs to the school. Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student (who may seek assistance from Disability Services).
Personal services for medical and physical disabilities are required (i.e., Personal Care Attendant). No personal services are required — however, the Disability Services Office may assist the student in advertising for such services.
Parent has access to student records and can participate in the IEP process. Parent does not have access to student records without student's written consent.
Parent advocates for student. Student must advocate for self.
School year runs from September to June. School year is divided into 2 semesters: from September to December and from January to May.
Classes meet daily. Classes meet 1,2,3, or 4 times a week.
Classes are generally held in the same building. Classes are held in many different sites on campus.
The average length of a class is 35-45 minutes. Classes vary in length from 50 minutes to 3 hours.
Daily contact with teachers. Classes meet less frequently which will impact on access to instructors and assistance.
The student needs the parent's permission in most instances. The student is an adult, and parent permission is not required.
Guidance counselors or other staff schedule support services for students. The student must make arrangements for support services.
A main office exists as the center of activity for the building. The student is responsible for knowing where to go to obtain information and assistance.
Classes consist of about 30 students. Classes may consist of about 100 students.
Teachers often take time to remind students of assignments and due dates. Professors expect students to read, save, and consult the course syllabus (outline); this tells the student exactly what is expected of him/her, when it is due, and how it will be graded.

Adapted from Institute for Community Inclusion; modified for application by MacMurray College, 2012