Transition from secondary schooling to further education can be a daunting yet exciting experience. School support and peer groups may change, and there is often a greater responsibility for making decisions such as choosing a course to study, selecting the right educational institution, how to organise time effectively, managing study/work/social lives, coping with a significantly different learning environment and generally making the transition from school to further education.
General informational on moving from School to University
The transition period can also be an anxious time for parents. The Monash University Transition Program – Parents & Partners website provides comprehensive information about how parents can help their children find ‘their place’ in tertiary education.
The role of the Disability Liaison Officer (DLO)
Within each university, there are Disability Liaison Officers (DLO’s) to assist you with coordinating support for your academic activities. This person may also be known as an Access Officer, Equity Officer or Disability Advisor but DLO is the most common.
It is important to be prepared for university and once a formal offer has been received from an institute, you should think ahead and find out what is expected from the student and the university. It is advisable to make contact with the Disability Liaison Unit well in advance of uni commencing. This will help students understand procedures for services the DLO can provide as there will be slight variations among universities. It is also advisable to bring along some documentation for the DLO that outlines how personal disabilities and medical conditions impact upon your individual learning.
Specific institutions’ disability services webpages can provide information regarding the documentation requirements for DLOs, or alternatively you can contact the DLO directly for further information.
If the use of assistive technology is required, it is recommended to learn how it works prior to commencing your studies. If students do not have the finances to purchase software or equipment, there are a number of ways to secure funding or financial help. Visit the scholarships information page for information on funding and equity scholarships that students may be eligible for.
The DLO at your university may be able to assist with enrolment procedures and you are encouraged to make the most of the assistance available to you . It is also a good idea to get involved with any orientation activities that the University or DLU conducts, as these can often provide a good introduction to the institution and your studies. Another good idea is to enquire about the possibility of making contact with a second or third year student who can act as a mentor.
- The DLO is primarily concerned with students’ academic needs. There are a range of other staff who can assist with other needs. For example, personal counselling, careers and employment information, housing advice, financial assistance and health services.
- At uni, high levels of independence are required and expected. The DLO will not be able to constantly check if assignments have been submitted and class attendances have been met. Students are expected to be an independent learner and have to have their own reading, writing and research tools. Learning skills units may be able to assist with these needs.
- It’s a good idea to meet with teaching staff at the beginning of the year and keep in touch with them. The DLO may liaise with your teachers on your behalf to assist in a smoother transition. Be reassured that all information you provide to the DLO is kept confidential. Nothing is passed onto teaching or administrative staff unless written consent is given.
- If you are experiencing any form of anxiety or are unsure about things, ask someone! DLOs and teachers are there to provide support – they want to see students succeed in their studies. What suits one person doesn’t always suit another.
For contact details for individual universities, go to the Universities in Victoria page.