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Oklahoma State University

Student Advising Guide

College 101: Students With Disabilities Advising and Course Selection


Self-disclosing to academic advisor:

What is important for him/her to know to better help you put together a manageable schedule?

  • More alert, do better in early morning;
  • Joints/body aches in early morning;
  • Topics regarding a trigger reaction (e.g. seizure, anxiety, post traumatic stress);
  • Difficult topics require more time (e.g. math, foreign language);
  • Need time to eat and take medication(s) at certain time(s) of the day.

What factors/variables are important in choosing your classes?

  • Class format (small group discussion v. large lecture);
  • Teaching style;
  • Exam format (essay v. multiple choice);
  • Amount of reading;
  • Number of credit hours (desired or manageable v. advised or required)


Course selection:

Is math an area of difficulty for you?

  • Create a schedule that will allow more time for difficult topics—fewer credit hours—for that semester.
  • Discuss taking the course(s) in the Summer, through Independent Study & Correspondence, at another school (e.g. community college).

How do you handle a lot of reading?

  •  Inquire how much reading is required in the courses you will be taking.
  • Get texts early and begin reading ahead.
  • Ask about books on tape or other means of reading texts. 

What foreign language experience have you had?  Is it required for your major?

  • Identify options & info (e.g. majors or schools w/o language requirement; alternatives to language, such as "area of concentration" or computer skills or culture courses; degree options, B.A. vs. B.S.).


Differences that matter:

M/W/F classes are approximately 1-hour long; T/Th classes are approximately 1 ½-hours long.  What difference does that make for you?

  • Number days/week of being in-class for continuity, practice, (2 v. 3);
  • Amount of time required to pay attention, be seated in class (1 v. 1 ½). 

Large classes vs. small classes? Options of how to meet needs: 

  • Permission from instructor for enrollment in full courses;
  • Different course for same requirement;
  • Take in Summer, Fall, Spring (be sure course is offered that semester);
  • Ability to hear, see, focus, interact;
  • Ask about Priority Enrollment as appropriate option.

How many hours do you think that you want to take?

  • Rule-of-thumb: 1 hour in class = 3 hours out of class preparation;
  • Impact on scholarship, financial aid, Voc Rehab, other;
  • Concern of time (years to graduate, cost) v. level of achievement (GPA).

When are you most alert? 

  • Is there anything that would affect you taking AM classes?  PM classes?

How much time are you allowing between classes? 

  • Amount of time necessary to get to next class (look at the map!)
  • Ability to get organized before beginning class, to re-focus;
  • Possible time necessary to prepare for class (e.g. read, write lab report, review notes, complete project).
  • Desired time to relax, study, eat, take medication(s), etc.


Course style:

  • Instructor style – how do you learn best (lecture, participation, read on own)?
  • Test format – explain to the academic advisor or consider how you do on different types of tests (multiple choice, essay, short answer). 
  • Talk with instructor/department and/or look at a syllabus BEFORE enrolling in a course.  Many syllabi are on-line.