Incoming First-Year Information About Requesting Disability Accommodations

First-Year students who have not yet matriculated at Washington and Lee University may initiate the request process for disability accommodations prior to arriving on campus. Pre-matriculation consideration of such requests is done for the convenience of incoming students. Summer requests will be processed in a reasonable timeframe, but are not subject to any specific deadlines.

How do I apply for disability accommodations at Washington and Lee?

The information you will need to apply for undergraduate disability accommodations is available online at the College section of the University website.

As an incoming student, you should first review the online material and understand that the responsibility for requesting and managing disability accommodations in college falls on you - the student. Unlike high school, your parents and faculty members do not initiate the request process. In particular, please review Understanding the Scope of W&L's Responsibilities to Students with Disabilities.

The request process involves the submission of two documents: (1) a completed and signed request form (available online) and (2) a copy of your most recent medical or cognitive testing documentation. Please make sure the documentation meets the W&L guidelines—see online documentation guidelines for general disabilities and cognitive disabilities, linked from the official University policy site. Both documents should be mailed to Lauren Kozak, Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources, Elrod Commons 212, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia 24450.

Why should I request accommodations during the summer?

Submitting a request for accommodations before you arrive on campus can be advantageous for you. It takes time to process accommodations requests and waiting until the start of classes means that you won't be eligible for granted accommodations when classes begin. Accommodations are not retroactive and will not go into effect until your official accommodation letter is signed. Many First-Year students prefer to sign their official accommodation letters during Orientation Week so that they can focus on their classes once the Fall Term begins. Also, if your cognitive testing documentation is not complete or your testing is outdated, you have the chance to complete that testing over the summer before Orientation.

How will I find out the accommodations request decision?

Once an assessment of the request materials is complete, Director Kozak will contact you at the home address or the e-mail address listed on the request form. Any decision made about granted accommodations will be provisional until you matriculate. This means that the Undergraduate Disability Accommodation Policy does not yet apply to you and there are no reconsiderations or appeals until you arrive on campus and enroll as a student.

How are disability accommodations implemented at W&L?

If you have been determined to be eligible for disability accommodations, an official letter of accommodation is issued (signed by both Director Kozak and you). It will be your responsibility to present this letter to faculty members at the beginning of each academic term and to make arrangements for the use of accommodations in each class.

If I was eligible for extended time in high school, can I assume I will also be eligible at W&L?

Not necessarily - the standards for disability accommodations in college are different than high school because the academic environments are very different. The University completes an individualized assessment for each student requesting accommodations, in consultation with educational, medical, and/or psychological professionals. Decisions about academic disability accommodations are made based on current levels of functioning and what is appropriate to give a qualified student an equal opportunity to participate in university courses by specifically addressing a substantially-limiting impairment. Accommodations are not granted to ensure better academic performance or to maximize a student's ability to succeed. W&L's obligation is to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified persons with disabilities, not necessarily to provide particular accommodations requested or recommended.

What do I do if I think I should be exempt from W&L's foreign language requirement?

Like many universities, W&L requires every student to complete a series of courses (or the equivalent) in a foreign language. Competency in languages, other than English, and familiarity with cultures of nations or regions, other than the United States, is considered a fundamental element of a college education in an increasingly international and interconnected world. For this reason, W&L requires all students to demonstrate a good faith effort at completion of one foreign language course, with accommodations, before consideration of a foreign language course substitution. Determination of whether the student has demonstrated a good faith effort will be made by the faculty member in consultation with Director Kozak.

An incoming student who believes that completion of a foreign language course presents a significant academic obstacle due to a disability is strongly encouraged to submit a request for accommodations the summer before matriculation. The regular request process is required with the addition of specific testing measures designed to document language learning aptitude. If a student is found eligible, accommodations specific to foreign language learning will be granted and should be implemented prior to enrolling in a language course. Please see the Undergraduate Disability Accommodation Policy for more specific information about the foreign language requirement.