College Campus Accessibility & the Prospective Student

Justin GravesJustin Graves

Smart College Visit Campus Accessibility



What do I do when it snows outside?

Is the campus transportation system accessible?

Are all of the campus buildings accessible?


When I started looking at university’s to attend for my bachelor’s education, these were just a few of the questions that I started to ask myself. Really, I had always wondered –since I had never lived away from my parents – what would it be like to live on my own?

Students who are disabled, and seeking a college education, should really do their research. Depending on their disability, there are a variety of resources that can be at the student’s disposal to answer any question they might have when they start visiting different college campuses.

For me, everyone always told me – are you sure that you want to go to Virginia Tech? There are a lot of hills, and it’s a campus made for a military Corps of Cadets – it might not be conducive to your wheelchair.

And for me, that just meant that I would have to dig a little bit deeper in order to make sure that my university would provide everything that I needed – from accommodations in the residence halls, to moving classes to more accessible locations in relation to my other classes.

For most students, it could be as simple as looking at the campus, physically, and seeing if it meets their needs. For others, it might be as intense as making sure that they are registered with their university’s students with disabilities office – at Virginia Tech, its called Services for Students with Disabilities.

Overall, students have to remember that they need to advocate for themselves. They are the only person who is going to be there completely, both physically and emotionally, when it’s time to get accommodations, to make sure that everything is in order so that they have all the tools they need to be successful.


Justin Graves is a sociology major at Virginia Tech and will graduate in May 2012. He was recently featured on Smart College Visit's #CampusChat: Campus Tour Guide Diaries. Justin is president of the Hokie Ambassadors (Virginia Tech's tour guide student association) and public editor of The Collegiate Times. Follow Justin Graves @hesonwheels.

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