ODS Prospective Student Information
We understand access to accommodations is an important factor as you make an informed college choice. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for anyone with a disability, who is considering attending Westmont College.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does Westmont provide services for students with disabilities?
Yes. Accommodations and support are provided for students with documented disabilities. We are committed to providing equal access to educational programs in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990 as amended in 2008). The Office of Disability Services (ODS) facilitates accommodations for students. Accommodations are determined on an individual basis using disability documentation and student interaction in consultation with the ODS director.
Can I stop by and visit the Office of Disability Services while on a campus tour?
Please contact ODS@westmont.edu to set up an appointment. We also have limited summer hours which may impact availability. It's especially important to work with your admissions coordinator, letting them know you are interested in a meeting so that they can help make arrangements. We want to have time to discuss your particular situation and prefer to plan ahead.
Is there a separate admissions procedure for students with disabilities?
No, the admissions process and criteria are the same for all students applying to Westmont. Disability status will not be a consideration in admission decisions.
Does ODS diagnose disabilities?
No. A limited list of local community resources are available upon request. Students are encouraged to contact professionals in her/her own community for possible assessments. Students are responsible for the cost of any professional assessment.
I have been diagnosed with a disorder/condition. Will I automatically be provided accommodations?
No. Students must request accommodations through the ODS registration process. A diagnosis alone does not qualify you for accommodations. Students with a disability must document the existence of an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, the current impact of this condition and how it affects your ability to function in the academic setting as well as the rationale for the requested accommodations.
When should I begin the process?
The online application and documentation should be submitted to ODS after you have been admitted, confirmed as a Westmont student. Information provided to Westmont Health Services will not be shared with ODS and separate records/documentation must be sent directly to ODS.
Will I receive all of my requested accommodations?
ODS thoroughly reviews your application and your providers' documentation. During your meeting with the director, you will identify the barriers presented by your disability and find reasonable accommodations suitable for your circumstances. The goal of this process is to decide how to create equal access. Accommodations may differ according to class requirements and are determined on an individual basis. It is important to keep in mind, colleges are not required to lower standards or fundamentally change course requirements in an academic program; accommodations are intended to allow equal (leveled) access. See Accommodation Information
I think I may need accommodations due to a disability. Do I register with the Office of Disability Services once I confirm my admittance?*
Yes. Complete the New ODS Student Application to begin your registration for academic accommodations with ODS. (If you requesting accommodations related to dining or housing, there is a separate application process. Please see information under the Accommodations heading in the left-hand menu.) We prefer to receive this information as soon as possible to review the documents and for communicating any questions we may have regarding your application. A student won’t be fully registered until a consultation or an intake appointment with ODS takes place. *If accommodations are needed at the beginning of the semester, please complete the registration application at least 14 business days prior to the start of the semester.
What does my doctor or health care provider need to do?
Your provider needs to complete the appropriate forms and/or reports according to the established guidelines for documenting a disability. See Documentation Requirements. Discuss with your provider what information you are requesting from them before you request their required signatures and completion of documents. *Eligibility and required documentation in higher education differ from your high school and may differ from other colleges you have attended. An Individualized Education Plan or 504 plan alone is not sufficient documentation. See links below.
Who at the College will know about my disability if I register with ODS?
The Office of Disability Services maintains confidential files. ODS follows FERPA guidelines and recognizes student rights to determine who receives disability-related information. This information is stored separately from the academic records office. The accommodation process requires the student to provide letters from ODS to faculty (or staff) listing the agreed-upon accommodations.
What happens after my disability application and documentation are received by ODS?
Students will meet with the director of ODS to discuss possible accommodations. Meetings will be scheduled through AIM, a platform used for all interactions between ODS staff and students, and will be initiated once we confirm we have your application and documentation in place. If accommodations are needed prior to the start of the semester, a zoom meeting can be scheduled by emailing ODS@westmont.edu with a detailed description for your meeting request and only after an application has been created. It is up to the student to inquire if all forms and documentation have been sent in by their provider to ODS.
Is there a fee for disability services?
No. Students are not charged for reasonable accommodations. Students are responsible for the costs of personal aids or assistance devices such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, computers to be used at home or personal service attendants. Professional diagnosis of a disability and tutoring services are not provided by ODS and would be the responsibility of the student to acquire.
Where can I find additional resources on the transition to college?
For more information on the transition to college, visit the following websites. U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights:
- *Students with Disabilities Preparing for Post-secondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
- *Transition of Students With Disabilities To Post-secondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators - Very good information for students and parents.
Feel free to contact us at ODS@westmont.edu with further questions or concerns.