Technology is critical to your success in college. Whether your experience is on a physical campus or online, you will use all kinds of technology to take notes in class, read textbooks and professor handouts, collaborate with classmates and write papers and exams. As if that isn’t enough, technology constantly changes, and these changes may impact the methods you have learned. Try to come to college with all of your devices and training in place. Know that each year, new equipment will be available, but you should be comfortable with the equipment you have used in school or are currently familiar with. If you need a new device, try to access both the device and training for it before beginning college. Above all, give yourself time to learn as much as you can, be open to the possibility of new technology, and ask for help when you need it.
One national resource available to you is the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs or ATAP. This association’s mission is “To maintain and enhance a strong, effective and efficient national network of Statewide Assistive Technology Programs which enables individuals with disabilities, service providers and others to learn about, access, and acquire assistive technology (AT) needed for education, employment, and community living.” ATAP maintains a database of assistive technology centers all over the country. Sometimes your counselor in your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation may connect you with the nearest center. However, if that hasn’t happened, you can locate the center nearest you. Visit the following webpage to get started.
Another option for getting technology training is your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation. If you haven’t already done so during high school, register with this department. Then explain your technology needs to them.
Finally, some college DSO’s have access to wonderful training options on and off campus. Check with your individual office to find out what your options are.
Once you have located a good technology training option for you, get in touch right away so that you can schedule a formal technology assessment and training plan with the center. You may wish to complete our self-assessment and bring the results along with you as a guide for the center’s more formal assessment. Be open and honest with the center about what you know, what you don’t know and what you feel you need to learn. Being successful in college often means using several devices and software programs efficiently, so when asking for equipment, ask for more rather than less. The program may rein you in due to financial constraints, but at least you’ve put your ideal scenario out for discussion. The training program will also offer recommendations for you to evaluate. Together you and your center can come up with a plan of action.