Resources for College Students Who Are Blind

About Sarah Blake LaRose

Sarah Blake LaRose is a freelance writer and a professor of Biblical Hebrew at Anderson University School of Theology in Anderson, Indiana. She is one of three blind academic scholars who received the Jacob Bolotin Award from the National Federation of the Blind in 2016 in recognition of innovative work in the field of access to biblical language texts and tools for people who are blind.

Many students enter college feeling confident but find that they don’t have the skills necessary to succeed. Often they must devise their own methods for taking good notes, studying, taking tests, and advocating for their own needs. This situation can generate extra stress on top of an already stressful situation when a student is already working to adjust to a new environment, form new friendships, become familiar with the social structure at college, etc.

Teachers of students with visual impairments recognize the problem and the need to teach students how to work with readers and other skills necessary for success in college. Many of these teachers feel unprepared to teach these skills, and some say they don’t know where to find information for their students.

Many resources are available online and in alternative formats
which to assist students in preparing for a successful experience. Resources linked from this page are arranged by topic.
Items marked with an asterisk (*) are located on this site. Links to
other items are provided as a courtesy and should not be interpreted as an endorsement
of the information or organization supplying it. If one of these off-site links is broken or if you would like to submit a new link, please feel free to email me.

Getting Ready for College or Graduate School

College Prep 101
This is a very informative resource covering how to choose a college, financial aid, student life, study skills and other relevant issues.

The Transition to College for Students with Visual Impairments
This is a comprehensive document outlining the steps in preparing for college academically as well as socially, admissions, financial aid, accommodations, and working with the vocational rehabilitation system.

Advice for Undergraduate Students Considering Graduate School
This document is slanted heavily toward students who are interested in doctoral programs. It describes these programs well but does not offer much information specific to professional or Master’s programs.

Writing Personal Statements
Find out how you can spice up your personal statement for graduate school applications.

Avoiding a Big Testing Headache
Here is advice on registering for ETS-sponsored tests such as the GRE.

Accommodations and Subject-Specific Information

The College Experience: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Complacency
In this article, Curtis Chong discusses use of disabled student services, urging students to know their rights and needs and strive toward independence.

Dss Offices and the Age Old Lure of Custodialism

Self-Advocacy in the College Classroom

Suggestions on Academic Accommodations in Various Settings
Professors can help students with disabilities to feel more comfortable with requesting accommodations. Read here to find out how.

* The Experience of Hebrew Study as a Student Who is Blind
This paper discusses the process I used to advocate for accommodations in studying Hebrew, what texts were available, and what arrangements were made at my university in order for me to study Hebrew successfully at the graduate level.

Why Not Just Ask?

Blind Students Can Succeed in Chemistry Classes

Financial Aid

College Funding for Blind Students

Financial Aid Resources for Students with Disabilities (PDF format)
This document from the Heath Resource Center lists some organizations which provide disability-specific scholarships and resources for students who are blind.

Study Skills

* Planning Your Courseload
Many students get bogged down with too many difficult courses or feel bored with the courses they are taking. Here are some tips for planning a balanced courseload.

* Organizing for Success
Starting a new semester can be hectic. Here are some suggestions for organizing your time and supplies.

* Getting the Most Out of Lectures and Presentations
Here are some tips for taking notes and getting access to visual materials presented in class.

* Getting the Most Out of Reading Assignments
Overwhelmed by all that reading material? Here are some tips for getting through it without wasting your time.

Library Research
Here is advice on each step of planning and carrying out library research, including what to look for while using the library to gather information.

How to Get Access to Print
Dan Burke provides an overview of ways to obtain textbooks and other material in an accessible format.

Tips on Test-Taking
Here are some strategies for successful test-taking.

* Working with Readers
Whether you are new to working with readers or have been doing it for a long time and need to improve your effectiveness, here are some tips for hiring and managing your readers.

The Care and Feeding of Readers
In this article, Peggy Pinder discusses strategies for working effectively with readers, emphasizing the need for compensation to the reader.

Some Suggestions on How to Use Readers More Effectively

Reader Services: A Model Program

Advice To Blind Student Teachers
This article emphasizes the importance of using alternative techniques which permit efficiency in the classroom, being skilled in classroom management and pre-sudent teaching experiences.

Other Resources

Transitions: Reflections from a College Student

Roommates From Hell

There’s More to College Life Than Classes

Getting with the Program

The National Alliance of Blind Students
Here you can read about the history of the National Alliance of Blind Students or how to start your own affiliate, get information about the NABS email list, or read back issues of The Student Advocate.