Obtaining Accommodations

Swarthmore's Student Disability Service is pleased to work with students with disabilities to identify accommodations that will allow equal access to college programs and services. The accommodations process is designed to be collaborative and interactive. Once you are registered with the Student Disability Service, the Coordinator of Student Disability Services, Leslie Hempling, will work closely with you, your course instructors and any other relevant faculty or staff each semester to arrange reasonable accommodations that will not fundamentally alter the academic standards of your courses.

About Accommodations at the College Level

Different rules govern disability services in college than in K-12 programs. (IDEA no longer applies, and college students have no IEP); therefore, accommodations at the college level may vary from those received during high school. In college, it is the student's right and responsibility to request accommodations as privacy laws actually restrict the sharing of certain types of information with others (including parents) without the student's expressed written consent. To learn more about the transition of students with disabilities to postsecondary education, visit the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights website. Swarthmore's Student Disability Service is also happy to answer any questions you may have.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students with disabilities have a right to:

  • Reasonable accommodations, appropriate academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services as necessary.
  • Privacy with regards to disability-related information, except as disclosures required or permitted by law.
  • Equal access to programs, activities, courses and services.

Students with disabilities have the responsibility to:

  • Meet all academic requirements of the College.
  • Disclose their disability to the Disability Services office as early as possible to ensure timely accommodation arrangements.
  • Provide the required documentation of disability.
  • Arrange meetings with their professors to discuss accommodation letters provided by the Student Disability Service.
  • Follow the procedures for requesting accommodations every semester.

Disclosure and Confidentiality

Disclosure of a disability is a voluntary process. The College keeps documentation concerning disabilities separate from the student's general academic file. Information and records are shared with members of the College staff and faculty only with written permission from the student and on a need-to-know basis. Accommodations will not appear on a student's transcript. Staff and faculty are advised that disability matters are confidential and should not be shared with others.

How to Register with the Disability Service and Arrange Accommodations

  1. Contact Leslie Hempling, Coordinator of Student Disability Services at lhempli1@swarthmore.edu or 610-690-5014 to arrange an intake appointment in order to determine eligibility for accommodations.
  2. In advance of your intake appointment, please submit current documentation of disability. For documentation guidelines, visit the Documentation Guidelines page.
  3. Meet with Leslie Hempling to discuss your needs and review your documentation. Once disability status is confirmed, we will collaborate with you (and if needed, your course instructors) to identify reasonable accommodations for each of your classes.
  4. Once accommodations are determined, the Student Disability Service will draft Accommodation letters and a faculty signature sheet for your professors. We will notify you when your letters are ready to be picked up.
  5. You are responsible for meeting with each of your professors as soon as you receive your Accommodation letters to discuss your accommodations and to arrange the logistics. Give your professor a copy of the Accommodation letter. Have each of your professors sign the faculty signature sheet. Return the signature sheet to the Student Disability Service once all of your professors have signed it.
  6. We recommend that you follow up with your professors throughout the semester to touch base about accommodation logistics. (For example, it is helpful to remind your professor a week before each test if you receive extra time or a distraction-reduced testing room.)
    1. Once you have registered with the Student Disability Service and your documentation is on file, you are responsible for following the accommodation request procedure each semester since individual course requirements and needs may change.
    2. Once you have selected your courses each semester, and your schedule is set, fill out and sign an Academic Accommodation Request Form [doc]. (Forms are located outside the Student Disability Service in Parrish 130. You can also download one here.) Attach a copy of your "Detailed Class Schedule," printed from your My Swarthmore account. Make sure the first and last names of your professors are included.
    3. Submit the form to Leslie Hempling by the first week of the semester (if possible). We recommend that you turn in your form no later than one week after the Add/Drop deadline since some accommodations may take time to arrange.
    4. Once you have submitted your Academic Accommodation Request form, we will notify you by email when your Accommodation letters for your professors are ready.
    5. It is your responsibility to bring the Accommodation letter to each of your professors and to meet with him/her at the beginning of the semester to discuss your needs. Have each professor sign the faculty signature sheet. Return the signature sheet to the Student Disability Service once it is complete.
    6. Helpful Note: It is very important that you discuss test and exam adjustments with your professor at the very beginning of the semester and no later than one week before any test or exam. Without this advance notice, we cannot guarantee that you will receive an accommodation due to the time needed to coordinate the logistics.
    7. For Seniors: Seniors who require accommodations for Honors written and/or oral exams, must let the Student Disability Service know no later than January 31, 2013. We cannot guarantee that accommodations can be arranged after that date due to the complexity of proctor and exam scheduling.

Accommodation Process for Subsequent Semesters