Transitioning to College
Students undergoing the transition from secondary school to third level education are frequently surprised and overwhelmed by all the changes involved, and these changes are even more challenging for a student with AS. You are moving from a small environment of school, which you have gotten familiar and comfortable with after years of attendance, to a very large and unfamiliar campus right in the middle of the city, and this development can be very daunting. Your transition into college will almost certainly involve adventures and challenges that you have not faced before, and you have to adjust to new activities such as taking the bus on your own, moving away from home, managing your college timetable, making dinner, etc. This is a whole new experience, and thus it can be really useful to start thinking about it while you are still in school so that you can prepare yourself early for this change.
Some of the difficulties students with AS face on transitioning to college include:
- Getting to know the campus environment
- Finding lecture theatres and classrooms
- Getting to know your classmates
- Making new friends
- Understanding the relationship between lecturers and students
- Getting involved in societies, clubs and student unions
- Understanding the course expectations for attendance and academic work
- Understanding how the library and computer systems work
- Setting a schedule for doing assignments
- Managing free time
- Managing the sensory environment
- Getting used to the teaching style of lectures and small tutorial seminar classes
- Getting used to the lack of routine and structure in the day
- Managing independent living and new transport routes
Making the Transition to College – What do I need to think about?
In order to support you in making the transition to college, Alison Doyle, a Disability Officer in the Disability Service, has developed the Pathways Transition Assessment Tool (PAT). This is a web-based assessment and planning resource structured into five modules: Preparing Myself for the Future, Independent Living, Academic and Study Skills, College Application and Course Choices, and finally Using Supports in College.
This is meant to support you in planning and recording the steps in your transition process, adapting your goals and needs as you progress through your school career, and in reviewing such goals collaboratively with a transition ‘partner’, whether that be a parent, teacher, guidance counsellor or other practitioner.
Many students with AS find this very useful as it supports them in thinking about what they need to do before making the move to college. The Pathways Transition Assessment Tool (PAT) can be accessed here.
Transitioning into College:
There is a number of supports available as you transition into College, which include:
- An Orientation Programme – prior to the start of college you will be invited by the Disability Service to attend an Orientation Programme which aims to support you in preparing for coming to college. Some of the topics covered include:
- Getting to know how to use TCD Computers and the Library
- Getting to know College: A Tour of College Campus and the Libraries
- Getting to know Trinity: Being a Fresher Student
- Getting to know the Disability Service staff and Student Union
- Getting to know self-directed learning in a College Environment
A Needs Assessment Meeting with your Disability Officer – you will meet with your disability officer to explore any concerns you may have, and you will have the opportunity to identify reasonable accommodations that you may need here in college.