• Hartwick students giving a presentation in front of the class.
  • A Hartwick student using a microscope in the science lab.
  • A Hartwick professor discussing Botany with a student.
  • A Hartwick professor helping a student during class.

Advice for Parents

The transition from high school to college can sometimes be a very difficult process. You have an important role in teaching your son/daughter to become an independent decision maker. Listed below are a few suggestions to facilitate this transition.

  1. Become familiar with the changes in federal legislation regarding your child's education. For example IDEA regulations end once your child graduates from high school. Your child must become his/her own advocate (not the parent) at the college level. FERPA regulations also shift privacy control from you to your child once he/she enters college.

  2. Make sure it's your child's choice to attend college. The most successful college students with disabilities are those who have clearly defined goals, are highly motivated and committed to obtaining those goals.

  3. Make sure your son/daughter has a good understanding of his/her particular disability. They should know and be able to articulate strengths and weaknesses, as well as, compensating techniques that work best for them.

  4. Make sure your son/daughter's knowledge of study skills is adequate. College students must be able to manage time, take lecture notes, and read and write effectively. They must have effective strategies in place to compensate for their disability. Consider study skills tutoring and encourage your son/daughter to continue reading and writing during the summer.

  5. Encourage your son/daughter to self-advocate. It is the student's responsibility (not the parent's) to seek help from the Coordinator of Disability Services and the Wellness Center and/or counselors, when needed. Help your child improve their communication skills by role-playing.

  6. Help your son/daughter learn independent living skills. They should be able to perform everyday tasks such as managing their own money, doing their own laundry, making their own appointments and monitoring their own medications.

  7. Make contact with local support agencies before arriving at college. If personal aides are required, be sure you have made all the proper arrangements for hiring and paying the aide. Hartwick College does not provide attendants or services of a personal nature. Those needing psychiatric care should make a local contact prior to arriving at college. Some agencies offer financial assistance for a variety of services for eligible students with disabilities.

  8. Help your son/daughter get organized for college. Some items that are helpful are: academic calendar planner, palm pilot, file drawers or file folder, notebooks with pockets (different color for each course), white board, large wall calendar, highlighters, post it notes.