Prospective and Newly-Admitted Students

Johns Hopkins University is committed to the admission of qualified high school students and college graduates with disabilities for its undergraduate and graduate programs. There is no special admission process for students with disabilities. In some cases, students choose to identify themselves as having a disability if they feel that the information would help an admissions office to understand something questionable on their academic record or to stress that the student has worked very hard to achieve success.

If you are a prospective undergraduate or graduate student with a disability who is interested in applying to Johns Hopkins, please contact Student Disability Services at 410-516-4720 to discuss how Johns Hopkins could provide reasonable and necessary accommodations. Satisfaction with your chosen college or university will depend on many things, including how well the university and the disability services program meet your needs as a student with a disability. Communication with SDS is strictly confidential and will not be shared with the Office of Admissions.

Making the Transition

Here are some important considerations for prospective undergraduate students as they prepare to begin their college experience.

How do disability services in high school differ from college?

The University provides accommodations to give students with disabilities the opportunity to learn and to demonstrate what they have learned without being limited by their disability. However, the rights of students with disabilities are different in college from what they were in high school. It is important that high school students and their parents understand these differences and plan appropriately for their students’ transitions to post-secondary institutions.

Students in high school are covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004). IDEA gives all students in the primary and secondary levels the right to a free and appropriate public education. This includes providing students with accommodations, educational services, therapies and curriculum modifications. Compared to the services students and their parents have expected from their public schools, the services provided by post-secondary institutions may seem minimal.

Students with disabilities in post-secondary education are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ADA Amendments Act, and Section 504 Subpart E of the Rehabilitation Act. These regulations give students at the post-secondary level the right to equal access to programs and services through nondiscrimination and accommodations. Colleges and universities are not required to provide special educational services, therapies or curriculum modifications that fundamentally alter the nature of the program or class. However, colleges and universities routinely offer some services to all students that may be beneficial to some students with disabilities. These services include tutoring, personal counseling, writing coaching, health and wellness programs, and study skills and time management training.

What will colleges require?

Once you have accepted an offer of admission, you should contact the school’s disability services office. You will need to register with the disability services office and provide documentation that includes a diagnosis of the disability, the basis on which the diagnosis was made, the impact of the condition on activities, and the recommended accommodations for the college setting. The details of the documentation will depend on the nature of the disability. For hidden disabilities like learning disorders, attention deficit disorders and psychological disorders, documentation will generally include a psychoeducational assessment. For a physical disability, the documentation is more likely to be a doctor’s letter and psychometric tests showing the extent of the disability. The disability services office will review the documentation, gather information from the student and propose a set of accommodations to meet the student’s needs.

Additional Resources

The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) is a leading organization for disability service providers at the post-secondary level. They have recently released a report entitled “The Documentation Disconnect for Students with Learning Disabilities: Improving Access to Postsecondary Disability Services.” This report provides a non-technical summary of the differences in laws affecting students with disabilities in high school and post-secondary institutions. It also contains a valuable bibliography of resources for students, parents and service providers. One recommended site in the bibliography for high school students and their parents is the National Center for Learning Disabilities’ booklet PDF Document: “Transition to College: Strategic Planning to Ensure Success for Students with Learning Disabilities.” Many of the topics are relevant to all students with disabilities, not just those with learning disabilities.