The purpose of registering with the Office of Accessibility is to ensure an equal opportunity for success in your college experience by making sure that reasonable accommodations are determined and implemented in an appropriate manner. Registering with our office ensures that you will be able to access your courses, textbooks, and assignments so that you have the same opportunity to succeed as any other student.


How to Register with OA

Students who would like to receive accommodations from the Office of Accessibility (OA) will need to officially register for services and accommodations. The registration process is as follows:

STEP 1: Complete the OA Accommodations Request Form. You can watch the How to Register with OA video tutorial for detailed more instructions.

STEP 2: Upload any documentation that verifies your disability/condition. If you do not have any documentation or paperwork, you may download a Disability Verification Form (PDF - 628 KB) to be completed by your treating specialist. This documentation will need to be uploaded when you complete your application. If you run into any problems with the file upload page, please contact OA.

NOTE: Do not use this form for requests for Emotional Support Animals, Housing, nor Meal Plan Accommodations. You must contact OA for forms specific to these requests. 

STEP 3: Check your Winthrop e-mail. Once OA has received the application AND documentation, you will receive confirmation in your Winthrop e-mail instructing you to contact OA to schedule your intake appointment. 

NOTE:  To ensure that you do not miss important e-mails from OA, we encourage you to either (1) add the domain "" to your safe sender list (Outlook 365 instructions), or (2) regularly check your junk mail folder.



Why Should I Register?

There are many reasons college students with disabilities might decide they don't need disability services, and it's your right to not use the services offered on campus, but it's also in your best interest to make an informed decision. Here are some reasons why students often don't want to use disability services, and some considerations to help you think about your options.


"I don't need to register because all of my accommodations in high school will transfer automatically."

Recent high-school graduates are often unaware that how their disability and education are managed and who is responsible for that management is different in college than it was in high school.

 - From kindergarten through 12th-grade, the education of individuals with disabilities is regulated by a law known as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). This law places the majority of the responsibility on the school district to identify students with disabilities and to make sure that services which lead to student success are in place.
 - Outside of the K-12 system, including in college and the world of work, services and resources for individuals with disabilities are regulated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). In college, these two laws place the responsibility on the student to disclose a disability and ask for accommodations, with the college providing equal access to campus and classroom resources.

"I don't want professors to know I have a mental health condition or [another type of disability]. They might treat me differently, expect less of me, or put me in different courses."

 - These concerns represent a common misconception about what it means to be a student with a disability in higher education. Students registered with OA are not placed into easier courses and are held to the same academic and behavioral standards as all students. 

- Under confidentiality laws, the Office of Accessibility can't tell professors about your diagnosis or disability without your permission, and even though you may decide to share information with them, professors should never see disability documentation from your doctor or start requesting details about your disability (unless you started the conversation).


"I am not disabled."

If you hate the term "disability," you can opt not to use it or learn more about why people should #SaytheWord "disability" and start thinking of it as a powerful word. 


​"I'll just wait to register when I actually need the services."

If you believe you outgrew your disability and don't need services anymore, learn more about the differences between high school and college. You can always stop using services, but sometimes it can be a long process to sign up when you realize you actually do need accommodations after all.


​"I'll work out my accommodations for myself with my instructors because it's easier/it's a political statement/I'm independent."

Professors will usually not give you any accommodations unless you're registered with OA. Learn more about the roles and responsibilities of students. If it's about being independent, finding resources, knowing what to expect, and planning for the future can greatly improve overall academic success.

​"All my needs are being met through health services or counseling services."

That's great - but remember that the Office of Accessibility is the only office that is usually authorized to negotiate accommodations with professors. They are supposed to work with health services, counseling services, and other offices on campus. So if you might be in the hospital, need academic or course adjustments, or require someone to negotiate with professors, it might be useful to register with the Office of Accessibility.


"I really-truly-honestly don't need any accommodations or services!"

 - If your disability is mild, temporary, or doesn't require any services or accommodations, then you're probably right - there's no reason to register with the Office of Accessibility. However, know that the Office of Accessibility is not just about accommodations and services. Their role includes ensuring the rights of disabled students from discrimination. 

 - If you register with the Office of Accessibility, even if you and OA agree that you don't need services at present, you can call upon them in the event an instructor, staff, internship site, or others try to discriminate against you just for having a disability. 

 - Another bonus for the campus, the Office of Accessibility can count you (anonymously) when it writes its annual report to the campus administration. They'll be able to say, "Yes, we do have X number of disabled students on campus." That ends up helping everyone.


Information provided by: The National Center for College Students with Disabilities (NCCSD) which is funded through a four-year grant from the Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education (P116D150005), and administered through the Office for Postsecondary Education (originally funded via the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education).