College Accessibility 101: Collin College ACCESS program provides disability services

Applicant explains how to obtain disability accommodations at local community college


Rusty Joe Gonzales

At night, a handicap reserved parking sign stands in front of a glowing ‘Collin College’ sign at the college’s Celina campus. “Collin has a good-sized inventory of assistive technology that students can loan on a semester-by-semester basis,” senior Rusty Gonzales said. “At Collin College, you may have to purchase the software for yourself or talk to the disability services office to see what free software they may have available for your needs.”

Rusty Joe Gonzales, Entertainment Editor

With college admissions season upon us, many students are starting to look at and even send applications to colleges across the country. While students already struggle with deciding on where to go, and even what to do after they are accepted, those who have some form of accommodations while in high school may find the process of getting into a college that can serve their needs even harder. I myself am included in this group who currently have accommodations in high school and who will be asking for similar accommodations in college.

In an effort to clear some of the confusion over college disability services, I will explore several different college and university disability service offerings. Then, the focus will be to show how to declare accommodations as well as how high school accommodations may transfer to college. To start this series off, I will cover the ACCESS (Accommodations at Collin College for Equal Support Services) program.

Navigating the Website

First, you will need to go to Collin College’s website and hover over the ‘resources’ tab. Afterward, go down to the words ‘Disability Services’ and click on it.

Once on the disability services page, you will see several tabs with gray backgrounds that detail different processes or procedures that you may have questions about, so I highly suggest going to the site for yourself and expanding whatever section you have questions about. To expand the different offerings, click on either the blue text or click on the plus sign to the right of the text. From there, you will be directed to several YouTube videos that will guide you through those individual processes. One resource they have is a PDF that tells you how to approach a professor about your accommodations.

Different Accommodations Explained

Now that you know where and how to declare your accommodations, let’s talk about how different accommodations might be listed on Collin College’s website, versus how they might be described in your current 504 Plan or Independent Education Program.

To start, Collin has a good-sized inventory of assistive technology that students can loan on a semester-by-semester basis, meaning that you will have to check out and return the item(s) at the beginning and end of every semester. This differs from how you may receive the service here in high school in the sense that at the high school level, the district already provides a lot of assistive technology via extensions to Google Chrome, which are connected to a school account such as Read&Write, which has a text to speech feature allowing anything on a webpage or a document to be highlighted and read aloud to the user. At Collin College, you may have to purchase the software for yourself or talk to the disability services office to see what free software they may have available for your needs.

When it comes to interpreting your current accommodations and how they may transfer over to Collin College, a few different support systems exist for students. First, we have the rather broad category ‘Testing Accommodations’, as stated on Collin College’s webpage. For the accommodations that I currently receive, I get transcribing assistance for any Scantron tests, extra time on tests, and an alternate testing location, all of which would fall into that category.

As far as accommodations for in the classroom go, I currently receive preferential seating, a copy of completed notes from the teacher and extra time on assignments. When looking at Collin College’s site, preferential seating seems to come naturally within the college setting. Since students usually are able to pick where they want to sit on the first day of classes – and seats in the days that follow often stay the same, without a word being said by either the professor or fellow students – choose wisely where to sit on Day 1.

When it comes to getting a copy of notes, Collin College provides “note-taking support,” which the ACCESS site does not detail and could not detail over a requested phone call when I reached out to them, but said that I could email them for details and I will update as soon as I can if they do provide me with exactly how this accommodation works.

As far as extra time on assignments goes, that may just happen with a meeting and an agreement with your professor for each class that you have, or the ACCESS office may be able to assist you with getting that accommodation if you still think you will need it in college.


While I have only highlighted a select few accommodations within this article, I highly recommend that once you are admitted to Collin College you go through their process of declaring your accommodations as soon as you can, and then email or meet with your professors individually to figure out how they can best help you succeed academically. Support systems are in place to make sure that students with disabilities have the equal opportunity to succeed as any student on campus, as long as students are aware of how to utilize the system correctly.

Did you know about Collin College's accessibility services before reading?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.