‘University Challenge’ – with Sam Waddington

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From today I have decided to write some short weekly blogs about the process I am going through, applying to university, as a young disabled man with specific needs. This process began late last year where I went to Winchester University open day to see what courses they were offering. I then decided that doing Journalism at Winchester would be best for me academically, so this was the easy part, shall we say?

In December it was then key that I started to liaise with the university support services to get the wheels in motion regarding accommodating me in the correct way. Due to the age of the campus though, much of it has had to be adapted to suit the needs of disabled people. But, I do have individual needs and therefore had to discuss these, for example structural arrangements at the university. If the course that you wish to do is not accessible don’t let this put you of because regular discussions with the university can go a long way to getting the right provisions in place.

One of the most important questions to ask yourself, and early on is better, is whether you want to stay in university accommodation or not. For anybody this is a massive life choice so the decision has to be taken seriously. At the end of the day though, you will get people telling you to do one thing and not the other, but, make sure the decision is yours and yours only.

After taking a while to decide whether I wanted to live in at university, I have finally come to the conclusion that living away home from would give me the best university experiencnce, both academically and socially. The decision is obviously difficult to make so have enough time to make it, but, after that working with the university to get the necessary provisions in place is just as important.

Although getting the right support at university is crucial, remember to be reasonable with your demands, the best way to ensure that your needs are met is by passing on every detail about your current support and how this may change in the future to the university. That way they have more knowledge about how to provide you with the right equipment, structural arrangements and support.

I have already spoken with a current disabled student with similar needs at Winchester University, in order to receive useful information that is straight from the horse’s mouth. Bear in mind that it is down to you to make sure your needs are met. There is a lot to learn quickly but hopefully blogs like this will help to a certain extent. There are always people out there to give advice and so far lots of different professionals have helped.

More to follow next week …

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