Incoming & Prospective Students

Dartmouth College welcomes your interest in pursuing your studies here! Student Accessibility Services is available to answer questions about services, campus accessibility, and other disability-related information. 

Advice for Prospective Students

During your college search, we recommend that you first consider colleges and universities based on characteristics other than disability-related services. Determine the aspects of a college or university that are important to you--perhaps the size, location, available fields of study, breadth of academic and other support services, extracurricular or co-curricular activities, and the like.

You should expect disability-related services and equal access at any U.S. college or school. Services can vary among colleges and universities, however, and some may have additional, disability-focused support programs or employ universal design in many of their courses. We recommend narrowing your schools down to a "short list" of what is important to you and then exploring the disability- and access-related services available at those schools.

Accommodations in K-12 vs. College

Accommodations in K-12 are governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and teachers, parents, legal guardians, and administrators are highly involved in the process.  In contrast, in Higher Ed different Laws Pertaining to Accommodations apply, and students take more of a direct and active role in the interactive process of determining and utilizing accommodations.  

As articles like this one from suggest, College Accommodations Aren't Like High School Accommodations, so we encourage you to prepare for this change, and Apply for Services before classes start so we (and offices like ours) will be in the best position to advise and assist if questions or challenges arise.

Please note: Most accessibility offices, including ours, do not review documentation or commit to providing specific accommodations or services before you have accepted an offer of admission and engaged in an interactive process (often called an intake meeting).

Academic Support

At Dartmouth, the supplemental academic support provided for students with disabilities is the same as for any other student. For instance, academic advising through the Undergraduate Deans Office, support in writing research papers from the Writing Center, and coaching, academic strategy support, and group toutoring through the Academic Skills Center are open to all students.

Quarters vs. Semesters

Unlike most colleges and universities, which operate on a semester system (usually a 15-week term), Dartmouth operates on a 10-week quarter system. Quarters are faster paced than semesters, and the compressed term can make the reading and study demands each day considerable. Quarters also allow for less flexibility if you, for instance, happen to miss a week (which is 10% of the quarter) for flu or other reasons. On the other hand, most Dartmouth students take three courses per quarter (as opposed to four or five per semester), and many students find focusing on a smaller number of courses helpful.

Wellness Education Requirement

Dartmouth has a wellness education requirement. A growing number of options for this requirement do not require physical activity and may entail engaging with campus resources such as the Student Wellness Center or Academic Skills Center. There is also an opportunity to work with Physical Education & Recreation, SAS, and/or Dick's House if you need to complete one or more components of this requirement in an alternative manner.

Language Requirement

Dartmouth also has a second-language requirement. Our experience is that most students who come to Dartmouth aware of their disabilities have developed ways to compensate for their difficulties with specific learning and/or content areas including foreign language acquisition. However, students whose disabilities make it prohibitively difficult to master languages in the manner and pace they are taught at Dartmouth may petition for a waiver of the language requirement.