Student Resources and Expectations

Accommodations and services are provided for students with disabilities to provide equal access to educational programs and services in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990, as amended in 2008, and Clarkson University policy. The Office of Accessibility Services facilitates the provision of services and accommodations for students. Accommodations are determined on an individual basis.


Admissions Process

The admission process and criteria are the same for all students applying to Clarkson. Disability status will not be a consideration in admission decisions.

Submitting Documentation

While you are encouraged to speak to our office about possible accommodations while researching the University, documentation should be submitted to the Office of Accessibility Services only after you have been admitted to the University.
Students are encouraged to self-disclose prior to their arrival on campus. The sooner the Office of Accessibility Services is aware of accommodation needs, the better prepared the University is for your arrival and the start of your classes.

Accommodations and Services

A diagnosis alone does not qualify you for accommodations. The existence of an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, the current impact of your impairment and how it affects your ability to function in an academic setting, and a rational and objective basis for the requested accommodations are necessary to determine whether or not accommodations are reasonable.
Clarkson University is required to provide appropriate academic adjustments necessary to ensure it does not discriminate on the basis of a disability. These accommodations may differ from those provided previously. Accommodations frequently used by students with disabilities are extended time for test-taking, a quiet location for test-taking, print materials in alternate formats, wheelchair accessible housing, and assistive listening devices. Appropriate reasonable accommodations are determined on an individual basis.
The Office of Accessibility Services does not provide accessible parking permits except on a temporary basis as a student is recovering from a severe injury. Permanent accessible parking permits can be obtained through the Village of Potsdam.

Other Campus Resources

There are many resources available to support students with disabilities.  The services listed below are free of charge to all Clarkson University students but are not specifically designed for students with disabilities.  There are some services and accommodations which may be needed by students with disabilities that are not provided by the Clarkson. 

Student Support Services

Student Support Services (SSS) offers academic support for qualifying students.  Some of the available services include weekly small group tutoring, practice exams and workshops.  Individual academic counseling is available for students seeking assistance in such areas as development and strengthening of study techniques, improving motivation, and dealing with test taking stress and time management skills.

Writing Center

The Writing Center offers one-on-one help with academic and personal projects, like essays, reports, labs, résumés and presentations.  The Writing Center also offers information about citing sources and common writing errors. The Writing Center is a site with assistive technology for students with disabilities. 

Counseling Center

A Clarkson University education is more than what you learn in class. It is also a time to grow, become more self confident, and prepare for the ups and downs of life. Clarkson University Counseling Services assists students in reaching their full potential for social and emotional development. 

Personal Aids or Assistance

Students are responsible for aids or assistance of a personal nature such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, computers to be used at home or attendants for services of a personal nature including assistance with bathing or dressing or life coaching. Please contact Accessibility Services if you would like information about local agencies.

Transportation assistance is not provided.


If a student feels that they were denied reasonable accommodation based on qualifying disability, they may request a review by completing a Reasonable Accommodation Appeal Form. The request will be reviewed by the ADA/504 Appeals Committee. Students may be contacted by the committee for additional information or documentation.    

Tips for Interactions 

Remember that people with disabilities have many levels of experiences—their disability is simply one aspect of their complex identities.

  • When a person with a disability may need assistance, it is appropriate to offer help. Wait until the offer is accepted and instructions are given to provide assistance. Do not be offended if your offer to help is declined—there are a myriad of reasons why a person might reject help, including the desire to practice completing the task independently.
  • Never lean on, touch, or move a person’s assistive equipment without first getting their consent.
  • If a person with a disability is using a service animal, never touch or distract the animal without the owner’s approval. To do so could be unsafe to the owner and is disruptive.
  • To get the attention of someone who is Deaf/hard of hearing, tap or touch them lightly, or wave your hand. If they are using an interpreter, speak directly to the person, not the interpreter.
  • Be aware of obstacles or hazards in your environment that may pose a hazard. Examples include cracked or broken sidewalks or paths, spills, loose rugs, and objects blocking traffic patterns or protruding into the path of travel.
  • Never pat someone on the head or grab someone’s arm.
  • Never be afraid to invite someone with a disability to participate in an event or activity. If there are concerns about accessibility or that the person may not be able to participate fully, voice these concerns and work through them together. Being excluded is isolating and painful.
  • When meeting a person with a disability, offer to shake hands as appropriate with someone who does not have a disability. If the person is unable to take your hand, they will tell you so. Offering to shake hands is seen as a sign of respect.
  • If you are having trouble understanding someone’s speech, ask them to repeat or ask clarifying questions. Pretending to understand what someone said is disrespectful and denies them the opportunity to contribute to the conversation.

Transitioning from High School to College

Applicable Laws


  • IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
  • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • IDEA is about success


  • ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, amended 2008; Title 11, Title III)
  • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • ADA is about access



  • Student is identified by the school and is supported by parents and teachers
  • Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the school
  • Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance


  • Student must self-identify to the Office of Accessibility Services
  • Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student
  • Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance

Parent Role

High School:

  • Parent has access to student records and can participate in the accommodation process
  • Parent advocates for student


  • Parent does not have access to student records without student’s written consent
  • Student advocates for self


High School:

  • Teachers may modify the curriculum and/or alter the curriculum pace of assignments
  • You are expected to read short assignments that are then discussed and often re-taught in class
  • You seldom need to read anything more than once, sometimes listening in class is enough


  • Professors are not required to modify the design or alter assignment deadlines
  • You are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing which may not be directly addressed in class
  • You need to review class notes, text, and other material regularly

Grades and Tests

High School:

  • IEP and 504 plans may include modifications to test format and/or grading
  • Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material
  • Makeup tests are often available
  • Teachers often take time to remind you of assignments and due dates


  • Grading and test format changes (i.e. multiple choice vs. essay) are generally not available.  Accommodations to how tests are given (extended time, test proctors) are available when approved by the Office of Accessibility Services.
  • Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material
  • Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, you need to request them
  • Professors expect you to read, save, and consult the course syllabus (outline); the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected of you, when it is due, and how you will be graded

Study Responsibilities

High School:

  • Tutoring and study support may be a service provided as part of an IEP or 504 plan
  • Others structure your times and assignments
  • You may study outside class as little as 0 to 2 hours a week, and this may be mostly last-minute test preparation


  • Tutoring does not fall within Accessibility Services.  Students with disabilities must seek out tutoring resources as they are available to all Clarkson students
  • You manage your own time and complete assignments independently
  • You need to study at least 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class
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