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McBurney Disability Resource Center

Disclosing Disability and the Admissions Process

I am applying to UW and have a disability. What do I do?

All applicants go through the same admissions review process and are admitted based on the quality of their academic record. As there is no separate admission process for applicants with disabilities, students with disabilities are competitively admitted to the University of Wisconsin every year.

Federal law prohibits us from making preadmissions inquiry about disabilities. If you believe, however, that some aspect of your academic record was affected by your disability, you may choose to share that with the Admissions Office. Information regarding disabilities, voluntarily given or inadvertently received, will not adversely affect any admission decision. Common examples of events that students choose to share include:

  1. A disability occurring or having been diagnosed during the high school years with a subsequent and substantial improvement in academic performance once appropriate disability-related services or medical treatment are provided.
  2. An uneven grade pattern that results from a disability occurring during high school (e.g., traumatic brain injury or disabling illness) with grades dropping and then improving as the student recovers.
  3. A missing curriculum requirement such as foreign language that was waived in high school as part of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
You can provide a personal statement regarding your experiences as an individual with a disability in an academic setting. Describing the types of services you have received, your particular strengths and/or academic interests, or other relevant information will assist the Admissions Office in understanding your unique high school experience. It would also be appropriate for high school staff (e.g., guidance office, special education department, principal, etc.) to provide a letter confirming your experiences (e.g., the beginning of services or a foreign language waiver) to supplement your personal statement. Because the Admissions Office staff is not trained to evaluate specific disability documentation such as a learning disability assessment, it is neither necessary nor advised that you submit this information with your application materials.

Please note: students who have received disability services and accommodations throughout high school will have their academic record considered in a manner consistent with that of other applicants. Because accommodations are intended to level the playing field, the academic record accomplished with those services will be the record considered for admissions purposes. While the University of Wisconsin will consider extenuating circumstances that occur in any applicant's high school experience, all applicants who are admitted have met the competitive admissions requirements in place at the time of the review.

Should you be admitted to the University of Wisconsin and want more information about the services provided by the McBurney Disability Resource Center, you may send complete disability documentation to us with a request for a service eligibility review. Our staff will then review your disability materials and notify you regarding your eligibility for accommodation and services through our office.
File last updated: June 29, 2009. 11:02:52 am
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