For many students and parents, the process of college planning and the entire application process may seem daunting. The college search and selection process can, however, be an educational adventure as well as a time of personal growth, an opportunity for increasing self-understanding and the beginning of goal setting. The post-secondary process should include a survey of all options available to students to ensure the broadest possible opportunity for self-fulfillment and success.

The process of considering post-secondary options begins well before senior year. For students looking for colleges offering specific support programs or services, the search should begin no later than junior year.

It is important to encourage students to take the initiative during this process. Parents should remain in the background cheering on and supporting their student’s journey toward independence.

The college exploration process requires considerable planning, research and patience. Students must consider many important factors including:

• Self-reflection is required so that each student can fully understand (and, therefore, work toward) his or her own wants and needs.

• Analysis of the way in which each student learns best allows an accurate assessment of what facilities and services are needed for post-secondary education.

• Understanding the specific disability and how it impacts learning is needed to ensure appropriate academic, physical, emotional and social supports.

Exploring factors such as these allows each student to make the best decision on which program(s) will be best suited to their needs and, therefore, the best choice for post-secondary success. This ensures that students who “get in,” “stay in.”

The information in this booklet is designed to help students and parents navigate through the process of post-secondary planning. It is the product of input from counselors and special educators representing each of the high schools that sponsor the CHOICES Fair.

For further information, please contact the appropriate representative at your high school.