Tips for a Successful Transition to College after Stroke

Adolescents and young adults have a wide variety of exciting options to prepare them for independence. The social worker on your care team can help your family explore these options and what might be the best fit for your child based on individual interests and goals.

Many young adults in the Pediatric Stroke Program choose to pursue a college degree. Whether you are considering attending a local community college or attending a university away from home, here are some quick tips on how to have a successful transition to college.

During the application process

  • Stop by the Office of Disabilities during your campus tours. If possible, bring a copy of your current Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan to share with the school’s disability services coordinator. It is helpful to discuss the current accommodations that you utilize regularly and explore the options for services on the college level.
  • Look for scholarships. Many scholarship programs have applications online. There are also some scholarship programs available for students who have had a stroke, hemiplegia, or other disability. Ask about these opportunities at your next clinic visit!
  • Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines your eligibility for federal student grants, work study, and loan programs. Visit for more information.
  • Schedule a clinic visit with your provider if you have not been seen in over a year so we can update your care plan. 

Before the semester begins

  • Contact the Office of Disabilities to discuss the services you need to be successful. Unlike high school where the school district is responsible for identifying your needs, you are now responsible for requesting any accommodations.
  • Locate the important documents that the Office of Disabilities may request. These could include documents from your healthcare providers and prior IEP or 504 plans from high school.
  • Just as your medical providers require your consent to discuss your healthcare with parents/guardians after your 18th birthday, the college will not speak to your parents without your consent. However, you always have the right to ask that your parents/caregivers be present for discussions.
  • Identify the emergency health care providers and pharmacy near your school if you will be living on campus.
  • Create a folder or binder to organize your healthcare information. Things you may wish to include: contact information for your medical providers, insurance information and copy of your insurance card, medication list including when you need to request refills, a brief medical summary including any allergies, and emergency contact information. 

Beginning of the semester 

  • Introduce yourself to your professors. On the college level, students are responsible for notifying professors of accommodations. You may find it helpful to send an introduction e-mail to each professor at the beginning of the semester to let them know of what accommodations you may need.
  • Communicate with your professors and with the Office of Disabilities. If you are having difficulty in a course, speak up and ask for help! Don’t wait until the end of the semester to address any concerns.
  • Ask about additional support services available at the Office of Disabilities. Some examples would be detailed class notes available for printing, practice tests that anyone can access, tutoring services, or editors to read through papers.
  • Ensure you stay healthy by following the care plans provided by your medical team and taking your medications as prescribed.
  • Study hard and have fun!

For individual guidance and additional resources about opportunities available after high school graduation, please speak with your care team during your next clinic visit. You can also reach out to your school guidance counselor or Child Study Team.