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Prospective Students FAQs

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May I visit the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) while I am a prospective student?

Yes!  We are happy to meet with prospective students to provide you with a broad overview of the OAE’s services.  Determination of the specific accommodations appropriate for individual students is done after admission to the University.

We suggest you coordinate your visit to the OAE with a tour of the campus and an information session.  See Campus Tours.

Will visiting the OAE help my chances of admission?

No.  The Office of Accessible Education does not play a role in the admissions process, and visiting the OAE has no impact on your chances for admission; it is simply an opportunity for you to learn about services for students with disabilities.

Is there a separate admissions process for students with disabilities at Stanford?

No.  Students with disabilities follow the same process and are reviewed in the same manner as other applicants.  See Undergraduate Admission or Graduate Admission.

Should I disclose my disability in the admissions process?

Disclosure of disability is a personal decision and a prospective student is not obligated to self-identify prior to admission. Stanford does a holistic review that looks at your achievements within your personal context. See Undergraduate Admission.

Although you are not required to disclose your disability, it may be helpful to do so if it explains other material in your application. For example, a student whose grades dropped temporarily due to a flare-up of a medical condition might wish to explain those circumstances.

Upon acceptance, incoming students are advised to contact the OAE as soon as possible. Because accommodations require advanced planning, early identification of a student’s needs helps to facilitate arrangements and accommodations being made in a timely manner.

When applying to Stanford should I send professional documentation of my disability to Undergraduate Admission?

No.  You should not send reports such as a medical, psychological, psychiatric or psycho-educational evaluation directly to Undergraduate Admission or any other university office. Professional documentation should only be provided to the OAE after a student is admitted to Stanford.

How do I establish eligibility for services from the OAE?

We ask that students submit documentation soon after they are accepted to Stanford.  See Registering for OAE Accommodations for specific information.

What kinds of accommodations are available?

The OAE provides a number of academic accommodations that include, but are not limited to, testing accommodations, interpreting, real-time captioning (CART), note-taker services, document conversion into alternate formats (e.g., digital, audio, large print, Braille), and housing modifications.  Please refer to the Academic Accommodations section.

Is there an accessible transportation system on campus?

DisGo, now managed by Stanford Transportation, offers complimentary curb-to-curb service to all eligible students, faculty, or staff with a disability or medical condition.  For more information or to schedule your rides, please go to DisGo or call (415) 404-1059.

The Marguerite Shuttle is Stanford's free transit system, open to the Stanford community and the public. The main shuttle lines traverse the campus Monday – Friday all year (except University holidays). All buses are wheelchair accessible and have bike racks. Please visit the Parking and Transportation options page for further information.

Does the OAE provide tutoring services for students with learning disabilities?

No, but the Schwab Learning Center, previously a part of the OAE, provides both learning strategies sessions and support in various academic disciplines.  In addition, the Center for Teaching and Learning does offer free tutoring for any Stanford student; information on their program and policies can be found on their site.  Students can also be referred to professionals within the community for individual tutoring at the student's expense.

What are the general kinds of housing accommodations that are provided for students with disabilities?

Stanford provides a rich and varied residential community for both undergraduate and graduate students. For undergraduates there are traditional residence halls, apartments, suites, small group houses (cooperative houses, Greek houses), and theme and focus houses.

For graduate students, studios, individual apartments, shared apartments and family housing are available.  Among each kind of different housing configuration there are accessible living options. Depending on individualized needs, modifications to a room or residence may also be made (e. g., installation of power door, or horns and strobe alarms, carpet pulled up).  The University also has accessible, ADA furniture. Please refer to the Housing Accommodations section.

For general information about housing at Stanford University, see the Student Housing site.

Does Stanford ever waive the foreign language requirement for a student with disabilities?

The foreign language requirement is not waived for students with disabilities. Stanford students are required to complete one year of college-level study in a foreign language (or the equivalent). The Stanford Language Center offers 40+ languages and can offer guidance to students towards choosing one that best fits with their functional limitations. More information can be found on the Language Center’s website.

In rare instances and on a case-by-case basis, a substitution request will be considered. Students with documented disabilities should provide documentation to the OAE for verification and submit a petition for a substitution to the Language Center. Students are encouraged to talk to their Disability Adviser about any concerns with language learning as early as possible.