For young adults with diabetes, preparing for the move to college over the summer will ensure you're at your best at the start of this new chapter! If you take all these steps before leaving home, you can avoid being dragged down by high blood sugars or worries that you’ll run out of supplies.
Registering with your college’s office of disabilities is the first step in addressing your anticipated needs. This is different than having a conversation with your professors. While you’re there, here are some reasonable modifications to request:
Unlike elementary and high schools, colleges are not required to make changes or offer accommodations that change their standards or the integrity of their program. Some requests that are not likely to be granted include:
Requesting a modification after you need it is usually not successful. If you have not told the college that you have diabetes (registered with your college office of disability) and you perform poorly on an exam because of a high or low blood sugar level, you will likely not be able to retake the exam. Be proactive. Register with the office of disabilities before a problem arises.
For more information, check out the American Diabetes Association fact sheet on Diabetes and Postsecondary Education.
Decide if you will get the supplies at a pharmacy near your school, or if you want to continue getting them at parents’ home. If you have mail order, ask if they can be shipped to your school address. If you haven’t done so already, begin to order and pick up your own medication. Practicing this at home gives you the experience to deal with something that may go wrong with your prescriptions at college.
Include a thermometer, bland foods and liquids (sugar-free gelatin, saltines, broth-based soup, juice, sugar and sugar-free fluids, and sugar-free cough drops), Advil® and Tylenol®.
Make sure your roommate and friends know how to assist if you go low.
Always wear a medic alert in case something happens while you are away from home.
Make an appointment with a social worker to further discuss and make a safe plan for caring for your diabetes at school.