Disabled Students Programs & Services at College of San Mateo - Student Resource Guide - Introduction
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Disability Resource Center (DRC)

Student Resource Guide - Introduction

Succeeding in College

Getting to college involves thoughtful preparation. It is important to start as early as possible. Arranging support services in college can take a lot of time, depending on the services that you need and the resources that are available. Being in college means managing a demanding schedule. It is important to develop and utilize personal skills such as self-advocacy, self-management and study skills.

Self Advocacy Skills

Self-advocacy skills include knowing how to skillfully initiate action and interact with faculty, staff and other students to obtain support services necessary for your learning needs.  If you require accommodation, you are the one who must recognize the need, make the initial contacts, follow up on these contacts, and maintain the necessary actions to receive the services needed.  Request aid from your instructors.  Don’t be intimidated by them; they are there to help. Seek help from Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS) for specific examples of how to initiate dialogue with your instructor.

Self-management Skills

Self-management skills include planning academic and personal schedules that are reasonable and manageable on a day-to-day basis. Take into account your abilities and strengths as well as your disabilities. For some individuals, strength and ability may vary daily - flexibility is an important factor.

Study Skills

Study skills involve knowing how to effectively learn from academic materials. This entails developing effective strategies for note taking during lectures and labs, completing reading assignments and taking tests. Development of each skill is important in order to have effective overall study habits. If your study skills are weak, ask a counselor about the Planning for Student Success, Strategies for Student Success and College Reading courses available on campus.

Support Services

To be successful in college, many individuals with disabilities utilize assistance from on- and off-campus offices. An on-campus resource is Psychological Services, a program that provides free confidential counseling, crisis counseling, and assistance with exploring personal issues and decisions that help you continue successfully in college.  An off campus resource is the Department of Rehabilitation,which provides support as you pursue your academic and vocational goals. DSPS is a good place to start and any DSP&S staff member is happy to provide you with a direct referral to any on- or off-campus personal or vocational services.

Support services can be steady and continuous, or merely temporary.  In many instances, a service that provides assistance requires ongoing attention.  For example, to continue receiving some services, updates on progress, status reports and/or renewal requests may be required.  Make time in your schedule for the support services you need!


Computer resources are essential tools in college and many work settings.  Assistive technologies make it possible for people with a variety of disabilities to make use of these powerful tools.  Develop skills in word processing and information access for research purposes.  Computers are available in various locations on campus: The Assistive Technology Center (Bldg. 10, Room 120),  Language Arts Computer Writing Center (Bldg. 18, Room 189), Business Computer Labs (Bldg. 14), CIS Computer Labs (Bldg. 19) and the Library (Bldg. 9)

Think Ahead

Working toward a career should begin early in your college life.  Making wise academic choices (such as, choosing a major, selecting appropriate coursework, obtaining work experience) can assist you in working toward your career. The Career Center provides vital services and classes for students investigating different career options.

Be sensible about the number of credits you take, especially in your first semester.  Be aware that the average time for homework is 2 to 3 hours of work outside of class for each hour the class meets.  Due to the nature of each individual disability, this time frame may be increased.  Consider this when you decide on how many classes to take. Work with your counselor.


Take advantage of the tutoring centers on campus - Math, Science, English and Reading.  Instructors often organize study groups where students can work together on assignments and projects.  Keep on the lookout for these opportunities.  Notices about tutoring are often posted on bulletin boards and chalk boards in classrooms.

Have Fun!

A social life is important.  Make time in your schedule to socialize and get involved in extracurricular campus activities.  Forming study groups is a good way to tackle challenging classes and meet new people.  Joining campus clubs or organizations will help you connect with others with similar interests.  Get involved with student government, meet student leaders and make a contribution to student life on campus.

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