Most accommodating universities for a chronically ill student?

So I’m looking for a university (as a transfer student probably) and am wondering what universities are known for being especially accommodating. I have a chronic illness and would mostly just need attendance flexibility and flexibility scheduling tests if I’m having a particularly bad day. In HS I was only able to make it to school a little more than half of the year and ended up switching to online, but am really hoping to have a more traditional HS experience.

Stats: 3.8ish UW GPA, 11 APs-- I have Bs from Sophmore year when my school lowered my grades due to attendance, 4.0 UW otherwise

ECs: acting (lead in feature film, professional manager, strasberg, etc.), 100 hrs volunteering w science organization, choir (10 yrs), chronic illness advocacy groups

Also, I’d love a school with a nice theater program.

Anyway I’d love any recommendations! Hope this is the right place to post this.

Thank you guys!

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Hi–I’m sorry to hear that you’re so ill. Your academic performance is great and congratulations!

If you were my child, I’d suggest looking into LACs with good theater programs and academics. Not that you need to major in theater, but since it’s an interest, being in a school that supports and values theater might be a plus. You can major in whatever suits you, of course!

LACs tend to offer more individualized education than do large universities. Some mandate themselves with diversifying their classes in all sorts of ways, including things like geography, culture, socio-economic, race, religion and people with various physical abilities.

With that in mind, I gently encourage you to look at–

  • Muhlenberg
  • Bryn Mawr/ Haverford (share a theater program) They also have some self-scheduled exams which might help
  • Kenyon
  • Vassar–has long history of accepting handicapped students and has great theater
  • Wesleyan U in CT.
  • Tufts
  • Mt. Holyoke–has some self-scheduled exams
  • Smith
  • Wellesley
  • Oberlin
  • Denison
  • Barnard or Columbia University–compact campuses, excellent theater, Barnard has the theater program for Columbia
  • Yale – a uni but has college system making smaller communities within the system. Also good theater and the campus is fairly compact for getting around. Your disability might be a “hook” for Yale.
  • Drew University – great theater, beautiful campus, you would get merit
  • Wagner on Staten Island – great theater
  • Marymount Manhattan – you’d get merit and it has a lot of theater
  • Adelphi – theater and film program and is known for being accommodating for various abilities.

There are probably more options.

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Do you need access to major medical facilities? Some of the LACs listed above are somewhat remote (Kenyon).

I figured anything with less than a 40% acceptance rate or so was out because of the 3.8, but maybe that’s not true if I explain it?

And, yes, I do need to be somewhat close to a medical center or hospital. Thanks so much!

A few comments:

Sorry about your illness but kudos for continuing to move forward in a positive way. I would suggest that a good start would be to get your hands on one or more of the excellent college guide book (ex. Fiske, Princeton Review) and start to read up on different schools. A smaller school or at least a school with smaller classes might give you a bit more flexibility as you probably will get to know the professor personally which is always good – but on the other hand a larger university might run more than one session of the same class so you will have to weigh the options carefully.

I might ask your guidance counselor to include in his/her recommendation a brief discussion of how your illness impacted your academics (especially if your illness is more under control now).

When you come down to choosing a school I’d definitely visit the Office of Disability Services (in person if possible) to look at their facility (in case you need to take exams there) and to discuss accommodation possibilities as well as what documents you will need to provide to get what you need.

I do think you can apply to some schools with a sub 40% acceptance rate with your profile. You want to create an application list that includes reach, match, and safety schools that appear affordable and that you would be excited to attend.

A couple more ideas might be Skidmore (match - if the hospital is acceptable), Barnard if female (a reach), Goucher (safety) perhaps, one of the Claremont Colleges. Also not sure if a Catholic College would work but a lot of Jesuit colleges are mid-size universities with mostly small classes in urban areas

@HImom has two children with chronic health problems both of whom found good places to study and who are now launched into after-college life. She might have some ideas about things for you to consider in your college search.

Yes, my two kids both have chronic health issues which we considered in choosing their U. We called all the Us after S had been admitted and asked them how they’d handle students who had documented chronic conditions that may cause frequent and prolonged absences.

One U (Santa Clara), said they’d likely ask student to withdraw if they missed 2 weeks in any quarter. We removed them from consideration. The other Us said they would work with student and family and had other students who had successfully matriculated and graduated with chronic health conditions like the ones our kids have.

S even got significant merit awards (>1/2 tuition) to attend one of these Us. He did attend and majored in EE and graduated with honors while working part time for a prof and starting a club he was president of thru his time at the U.

The U recommended we come to their campus before move in day and have our students meet internists students their med school campus, so they could have any needed care, if they kids needed more care than the student health center could provide. We took that advice, brought the kids’ med records and had S meet with 3 MDs at the med school plus the director of disabilities in the week before move in day. When D was going to start as a transfer to the same U, we also had her bring med records and meet 3 MDs at the med school.

The campus had a free shuttle from their undergrad campus to the med school campus (handy because my kids didn’t have cars).

The kids also got a letter from the treating MDs about the accommodations they needed. We shared it with housing and disability and they got what they needed.

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The U my kids chose was USoCal.

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That’s awesome, and one of my top choices, though my dad’s a little skeptical about me being on the opposite coast. Thanks so much for the advice!

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What do you think about starting out part-time? I saw that they have part-time classes and have had one of my worst years health-wise so I thought easing into college would be best.

The one thing you have to consider if you start part time is if you are looking for financial aid. Any institutional aid criteria may very widely by school. But in the end, you have to do what is right for you.

A friend’s daughter is attending a non flagship state school in Texas. Academically she was a shoo in and she receives full accommodations including a private room and ability to keep her service dog. So, maybe a similar school honors program in your area could be a good fit.

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