Transition to College: Program Activity Guide for Students Who Are Blind or Low Vision

Graduating high school and transitioning to a postsecondary institution to obtain a college degree or license or certificate at a career school is a pivotal event for any student. For students who are blind or low vision, it is an event that requires a coordinated effort from the student, their parents, teachers, counselors, and rehabilitation professionals to ensure specialized instruction is provided during the student’s education. Because vision loss can increase the challenges a student has in college or career school, the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) should include instructional goals related to preparing the student for postsecondary education or training. Optimally, the preparation process should begin as early as middle school as adequate preparation requires long-term, collaborative efforts from the student’s network of service providers and, more importantly, input and participation from the student.

College and Career School Readiness Activities for Students Who Blind or Low Vision

A group of high school students standing outside against a brick wall with two students walking towards the group using white canes

Blind or low vision students who are planning to attend college need to learn and master an array of skills from the expanded core curriculum prior to attending any postsecondary institution. Upon high school graduation, students will be fully responsible for their education. Therefore, specialized instruction is necessary to prepare students with vision loss for what will be expected of them in a new educational setting.

Essential Skills for College- or Career School-Bound Students with Vision Loss

The following skills are covered in the activity guide to help prepare college-bound students who are blind or low vision.

  • Researching admissions requirements
  • Navigating the application process
  • Requesting accommodations for the SAT or ACT
  • Applying for scholarships, grants, or loans
  • Ordering materials in accessible formats
  • Establishing a working relationship with the Office for Students with Disabilities
  • Coordinating services with a vocational rehabilitation agency
  • Using knowledge of one’s rights and responsibilities as a blind or low vision student
  • Independently traveling on campus
  • Advocating with professors in a self-determined manner
  • Hiring and working with a live reader

In addition to having the necessary skills to sustain good academic standing, students who are blind or low vision also need to acquire skills for managing their personal life and independent living needs.

Features of the Transition to College: Program Activity Guide

The Transition to College: Program Activity Guide was created for teachers of students who are blind or low vision, community rehabilitation program professionals, orientation and mobility instructors, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and students who are blind or low vision who have decided to pursue higher education or training. The activities in this guide support the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which requires vocational rehabilitation agencies to provide counseling on enrollment opportunities in college or career school as well as instruction in self-advocacy to students who are blind. There are over 20 free activities in this guide designed to help students with vision loss learn about their postsecondary education options as they relate to the student’s career goals or desired job. The activities can also be used to provide electronic distance instruction to students in rural areas.

Lessons Available in Multiple Learning Mediums

The lessons can be viewed online, printed, or downloaded as an electronic braille file (BRF) in the Unified English Braille Code ready to be embossed. The BRF files are available for download at the bottom of each lesson. Right-click and “save as” to download a file to a computer.

Supplemental Material

The resource College Bound: A Guide for Students who are blind or low vision, 2nd Edition by Ellen Trief, Ed.D., is used as a supplement to the activities in this guide. You can purchase a copy of College Bound from APH Press. The Transition to College: Program Activity Guide was developed by Alicia Wolfe for the American Foundation for the Blind.

  • Lesson 1: College Bound As a Student Who Is Blind or Low Vision

    Key Considerations Planning and preparing for your life after high school is an important process as a student who is blind or low vision. Deciding what you will need to […]

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  • Lesson 2: Postsecondary Education Options

    Key Considerations To help you decide if attending college is for you, it is important to fully understand all of the postsecondary education options available to you after high school […]

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  • Lesson 3: College Knowledge for Students Who Are Blind or Low Vision, Part One

    Key Considerations If you choose to attend college, you will have many options when selecting the college you will attend and the degree you will earn. It is important to […]

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  • Lesson 4: The Degree I Need to Succeed in the Workforce as a Job Seeker who is Blind or Low Vision

    Key Considerations Some jobs require a certain degree or level of training. Therefore, as you think about the job you’d like to hold or career you’d like to pursue as […]

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  • Lesson 5: Admissions Requirements for Students who are Blind and Low Vision

    Key Considerations Meeting the entrance requirements is a key factor in deciding whether you will attend college or career school as a student who is blind or low vision. While […]

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  • Lesson 6: College Costs for Students Who Are Blind or Low Vision

    Key Considerations When you decide to go to college or career school, you are making a financial commitment to pay for the education or training you receive. Unlike high school, […]

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  • Lesson 7: Paying for College and Completing the FAFSA As a Student Who Is Blind or Low Vision

    Key Considerations Sometimes students who are blind or low vision assume attending college or career school is not an affordable option. The reality is there are many resources available to […]

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  • Lesson 8: Scholarship and Grant Opportunities for Students Who Are Blind or Low Vision

    Key Considerations As you explore how you will pay for college or career school as a student who is blind or low vision, it is a good idea to start […]

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  • Lesson 9: Taking Out a Student Loan to Pay for College As a Student with Vision Loss

    Key Considerations After you submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will receive an award letter from the college or career school you will attend. The award […]

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  • Lesson 10: Ask a College Graduate with Vision Loss for Advice

    Key Considerations As you work towards deciding if attending college or career school is a good decision for you, you may have some questions a graduate could answer. Often times […]

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  • Lesson 11: Skills for College Students with Vision Loss

    Key Considerations If you are planning to further your education as a student who is blind or low vision, there are skills you will need to learn and practice to […]

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  • Lesson 12: College Knowledge for Students Who Are Blind or Low Vision, Part Two

    Key Considerations As you prepare to research, apply for, and attend college, there are various terms associated with college that you need to be familiar with. For instance, you will […]

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  • Lesson 13: Transition IEP Goals to Prepare Students with Vision Loss for College

    Key Considerations When you reach age 16 as a student who is blind or low vision, your Individualized Education Program (IEP) must include post-secondary goals related to training, education, employment, […]

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  • Lesson 14: Importance of Volunteer and Community Service As an Individual with Vision Loss

    Key Considerations Although your Grade Point Average (GPA) and your scores on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT or college placement tests are important factors when colleges or […]

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  • Lesson 15: College Essay Writing Practice for Students Who Are Blind or Low Vision

    Key Considerations When you have narrowed down the list of colleges or career schools you would like to attend, the next step will be for you to submit an application […]

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  • Lesson 16: Rights and Responsibilities As a College Student with Vision Loss

    Key Considerations As a high school student who is blind or low vision, you have a team of professionals who are responsible for providing specialized services to you that will […]

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  • Lesson 17: Vocational Rehabilitation Services for College Bound Students Who Are Blind or Low Vision

    Key Considerations Your current support system may include a teacher of students who are blind or low vision, an orientation and mobility specialist, a guidance counselor, and your subject area […]

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  • Lesson 18: Requesting Academic Accommodations in College As a Student with Vision Loss

    Key Considerations As a college or career school student who is blind or low vision, it is your responsibility to identify yourself as a student with vision loss by registering […]

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  • Lesson 19: Information Access Skills for Students with Vision Loss

    Key Considerations As a student who is blind or low vision, one of the most important skills you can develop before you begin college or career school is the ability […]

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  • Lesson 20: Using Live Readers As a Student with Vision Loss

    Key Considerations While you are in college or career school, there may be materials or settings with materials (such as the library) that you are required to access independently and […]

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  • Lesson 21: Required Reading Requests for Students who are Blind and Low Vision

    Key Considerations You will spend a significant amount of time in college reading materials required for your courses. Instructors in college or career school will outline the required readings for […]

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  • Lesson 22: Study Skills for Students who are Blind or Low Vision

    Key Considerations The grades you earn in college will be dependent on your ability to study. How much and how often you study in college or career school is up […]

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  • Lesson 23: Create a Mock College Schedule As a Student who is Blind or Low Vision

    Key Considerations One of the main differences between high school and college or career school is that the responsibility of managing your time becomes yours. In high school, teachers and […]

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  • Lesson 24: Navigating a College Campus As a Student Who Is Blind or Low Vision

    Key Considerations When you are a student who is blind or low vision, navigating your college or career school campus will require you to have more than a map or […]

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