Finding the Right College or University for You

A group of male international college students communicate in sign language. One wears a Gallaudet t-shirt.
Any college or university is a potential match for a student with a disability.

When exploring potential schools in the U.S., consider factors such as the school's available programs and majors, geographic location, cost, and size. There are no restrictions on what subjects people with disabilities can study: art, business, education, law, science, etc.

If you want to discuss the pros and cons of your different school choices, contact EducationUSA advisors in your country and/or the international admissions office at the place you want to go. Also, ask to talk with current students attending the school or who live in the location to learn more.

You can choose to attend a school that has excellent physical accessibility, a location in a warm climate, a large community of people with your disability, or a reputation for having exceptional services for people with disabilities. If this is a priority for you, look for the disability office on the website of the educational institution you want to attend and contact them to find out more.

Community Colleges

Consider attending a two-year community college. They provide a wide range of academic and professional programs and usually cost less money. After completing your associate degree in two years, you can transfer to a four-year school to complete your bachelor's degree. Or, enroll in a certificate program for technical training and career preparation. The benefits of attending a U.S. community colleges often include:

  • Low-cost of tuition
  • Small class size
  • English language programs
  • Advising services
  • Remedial classes
  • Access to disability services
  • Higher enrollment of people with disabilities
  • Open admissions
  • Preparation for transfer to a 4-year university

Online Courses

U.S. colleges and universities must remove barriers to education for students with disabilities, and that includes access to their online courses. Visit the Accredited Online Colleges website under Related Links for more information.

Applying to Your Dream School

Once you've found the best school or program for you, keep these tips in mind as you apply:

  • You are not required to disclose your disability. It is against the law for a school to ask you about your disability on the admissions application form. If the application requires a personal statement or essay, you may choose to discuss your disability if you wish, but it is not required. Sometimes, disclosing your disability works in your favor because schools are seeking a diverse student population, including more international students with disabilities.
  • You have a right to an accessible application. If the application materials are not accessible to you, tell the admissions counselor and describe what you need for access. For example, if you use screen reading software that cannot read the application, you may choose to request the form in an alternative format, such as Braille or large print.
  • You have a right to an accessible test of English proficiency and standardized admissions tests. Many important standardized tests, including the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, GRE, ACT and others, serve test takers with disabilities by providing services and reasonable accommodations. If your school requires that you take an English test, read "English & Admissions Tests at a Glance" in Related Resources.