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Transition from High School to College

Transition Goals Checklist

The following activities are organized in a checklist format and can be used in planning transition goals during the IEP process or when writing 504 Plans. Use the Glossary at the back to help you understand the special disability vocabulary you need to learn.

Middle School Transition Goals Checklist:

Find Out More about Your Disability

  1. Name your disability and describe how it affects your learning.
  2. Identify your strengths in learning; these will help you in school.
  3. Identify learning strategies:
  • Identify accommodations for learning, e.g., use of tape recorder, note taking assistance, test accommodations and assistive technology.
  • Develop and use memory strategies to remember information.
  • Learn to work with classmates, contact them with questions that you have and form study groups.
  • Identify test-taking strategies for multiple choice, fill-in and essay tests.

Learn How to Advocate for Yourself

  1. Attend all your education planning meetings, e.g., IEP, 504 Plan, and Transition Plan.
  2. Ask questions when you don’t understand something.
  3. Develop problem solving strategies:
  • Identify possible social problems you have in school and possible solutions.
  • Identify possible educational problems in school and possible solutions.
  • Develop a list of people who can help you solve these problems.

Develop a Personal Information File

  • Be aware of where your educational records, social security card, and birth certificate are kept at home.

Investigate Possible Careers

  • Identify possible career interests and education needed for them.

High School Transition Goals Checklist


During the first two years of high school...

  1. Continue to learn how to advocate for yourself.
  2. Learn more about your disability and what it takes for you to succeed.
  3. Start learning about laws that affect and support students with disabilities e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504.
  4. Think about possible colleges you may want to attend.

Prepare for College Entrance Examination (Four-year colleges only)

  1. Identify what test(s) need to be taken.
  2. Study for the entrance exam (PSAT, SAT, ACT). Use the study guides and/or enroll in SAT or ACT preparatory program(s) if possible.
  3. Find out what accommodations are available for entrance exams.


Increase Your Knowledge About Your Disability

  1. Review the goals of your transition plan in your IEP or your 504 Plan.
  2. Use your self advocacy skills during your IEP meeting.

Take the College Entrance Examination (Four-year colleges only)

  1. Ask your high school counselor about preparations for college entrance examinations. Apply early and request academic accommodations on application(s) for tests.
  2. Begin taking exams as early as possible. This gives you time to retake exams, if permitted.

Select the College(s) You Are Interested in Attending

  1. Plan to visit college(s). Include disability and other support services in your visitation.
  2. Learn about the types of services and accommodations that may be available to you.
  3. Based on your investigation, pick the college(s) you feel have the academic programs that match your interests and will provide the services you need to be successful.
  4. If you cannot visit in person, visit the college’s website or contact the college by phone.


Select the College(s) To Which You Will Apply (Do this in the Fall Semester)

  1. Request an application from the college(s) or visit the college(s) website and apply online. Submit all applications and forms by due dates.
  2. Identify the written verification you will need to request services and accommodations in college. If you have a learning disability and you are at least 17 years old, you may request adult testing from your high school using the WAIS III or the WJ-III Cognitive.

Apply For Financial Aid

  1. In January, pick up a financial aid packet from your high school counselor’s office. Complete the application and turn it in or visit
  2. Contact the college or university you want to attend, local service clubs, state and national organizations, and search the local library and Internet for more information on scholarships

You've Been Accepted to College

  1. Apply to the college disability support office to request services. Bring your most recent IEP to the office.
  2. Provide current written verification of your disability signed by an appropriate professional. This must include the name of your disability, functional limitations and academic accommodations you have received in the past.
  3. Some college placement exams may be offered at your high school or at the college. Request accommodations on the placement exam.
  4. Make an appointment to meet with a staff member from the disability support office to discuss accommodations and campus procedures to obtain such services.
  5. Arrange for other support not provided by college (e.g., housing, attendant care, equipment repair and transportation).
  6. Investigate community agencies that provide support to persons with disabilities (e.g., Department of Rehabilitation, The Regional Center).
  7. Be aware that you need to purchase your textbooks. Visit the campus bookstore or college website for specific prices. If the Department of Rehabilitation pays for your books, contact your DR counselor for the correct form and procedure. Inquire about online resources to purchase discounted text books.

Check in with the Disability Support Office

  1. Inquire about an orientation for disability support services.
  2. Plan classes with an academic advisor/counselor. Review your selections with the disability support office. It is advisable to buy a current college catalog or view online to review campus procedures.
  3. Register as early as possible, especially if you need assistive technology or interpreting/Real Time captioning services. If you need your materials in alternate format (enlarged print, e-text, audio, Braille) request them as soon as possible from the disability support office.
  4. Ask the disability support office to help you learn more about other support services offered on campus, e.g., tutoring, writing lab, computer lab, and/or counseling center.
Last Updated: 11/26/2014
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District