Nothing should hold you back from achieving your dreams, especially with universities offering a wide range of support systems and adaptations to ensure that students with additional needs can access higher education.

As with all big decisions in life, there are some things to consider before accepting an offer, and we’ve outlined a few below to get you thinking about what comes next.

The UCAS website has a wealth of information on funding, finances and finding the right university for you.

Choosing a University and Course

Don’t let misconceptions about your needs stop you from choosing a subject you’re interested in.  Make sure the course is practical for you and that you are able to confidently and comfortably complete everything you will need to. In most cases, your university will make adaptations and help you to access any extra support or equipment needed to ensure you have everything you need to excel in your studies.

The University League Tables can be a good place to start when thinking about which universities you want to apply to (And our very own University of Nottingham is up at number 19!)

Accommodation

Moving away from home can be a big life change, but having the right adaptations to make your living area comfortable will make it much easier to get used to.

If you are moving into accommodation provided by the university – such as halls, you will need to talk to the university about adaptations and any additional adjustments you may need.

If you will be living in rented accommodation which is not provided by the university, you will need to do a lot more research into the suitability of the property for your needs. This can be tricky, but organisations such as Unipol can help you.

When choosing where you will live, remember to consider your travel to classes and activities.

It is also worth starting to think about any other help you may need. If you will be relying on home-help for cooking or cleaning, you should start to think about the costs associated with this and how that will fit into your budget and lifestyle as a student.

Facilities

Most universities have access guides on their website, it is important that you have easy access to all classes and facilities. Make sure you attend open days to see the facilities for yourself and ask university staff as many questions as you need to, to feel comfortable in your decision.

All university and education providers have a team on-hand to offer support to students. This should be your first port-of-call when talking to your university about adaptations and support you need.

One of their key roles will be to ensure that students with disabilities or additional needs are provided with the help and assistance necessary to succeed. This might include providing you with a learning assistant who can take notes, transcribe and support you with other academic tasks. This could also include extended deadlines, additional time to complete exams or providing a different environment in which to take an exam

Finance

You can claim Disability Student Allowances (DSAs) alongside your usual student loan. DSA’s are not loans or benefits, so they will not need to be repaid when you leave university. When claiming DSA, you will need to attend an assessment to determine your needs and abilities. You can find out more about DSA on the government website.

Applications can take up to three months to arrange so it’s best to apply early.

Study materials

Adapted textbooks and other study materials are available to suit most requirements, most universities offer large print, Braille, e-books, audiobooks, and digital talking books. Online systems can also be adapted to suit your needs in similar ways.

If you have a specific university in mind, they will be able to give you more specific information about accessibility and student life with additional needs.

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