High School Transition
Student Success Stories
"If you want
Jennifer Eddy is about to complete her first year at Cambrian College in Ontario. She is a business administration student who says she is extremely happy with her program. Jennifer has a moderate visual impairment to the degree that people often cannot notice her disability.
Jennifer says her high school service provider highly recommended Cambrian College to her, because the school provides very good accommodations for students with visual impairments. Once she began at Cambrian, Jennifer spent some time determining who she should turn to for accommodations. After she discovered the right supports, Jennifer says, college life was simplified.
Jennifer took a proactive approach to ensure that she had a successful transition to post-secondary school. As soon as she made her decision to attend Cambrian, she made an appointment to visit the Glenn Crombie Centre - the office for disability services on campus. She met the coordinator and ordered her books-on-tape early. Once she selected her classes, she visited the professor for each course and gave them a note from the Glenn Crombie Centre. The note explained her disability and the accommodations that she should receive. Jennifer says her professors have been very helpful when dealing with her needs. They often give her copies of class overheads to help her take more complete notes, and she has been allowed extra time and a quiet room in which to write her exams. She has also maintained a good relationship with her service provider at the Glenn Crombie Centre. She stops by the office every couple of months and lets her service provider know how her studies have progressed.
Jennifer has found that college has provided a better learning environment for her than secondary school. Attending classes all day at high school would cause strain on her eyes. Currently, her time is split between attending classes and individual work time, which she says is ideal for her. Jennifer also finds it very helpful to ensure she completes all her assigned readings before class, and to get project outlines ahead of time, something her professors have been quite helpful with.
Winning three scholarships – an entrance scholarship to Cambrian, a graduating scholarship from her secondary school and the MCTV Broadcasting scholarship – has helped Jennifer pay for her education. She also took a year off between high school and university to raise money for school, and currently cuts down on education-related expenses by living at home.
While she has found her transition to college to be mostly successful, Jennifer says there have been a few things that have created challenges. For one, she says the disability service centre is understaffed and consequently cannot always provide adequate service to a few students with disabilities on campus. For two months, she helped her friend, who is a wheelchair user, get on and off all the wheelchair lifts and get around the campus, due to the staff shortage.
Jennifer’s advises secondary students who would like to pursue postsecondary studies to not be shy. “If you want something, go get it,” she says. “Most people won’t help unless they really know you need it. Don’t let them put you on the back burner.”