Planning to go to university or college can be an exciting but daunting time for anyone. If you have IBD you are likely to face additional challenges and have more concerns and questions. This guide sets out to answer some of those questions, and to give tips and suggestions based on professional advice and the experiences of students with IBD.
One way to find out what help and support is available is to get in touch with the university or college Student Disability Services.
You may not see yourself as having a disability, but having IBD may mean you have needs other students do not, and that you might benefit from some of the support offered in this way. All Higher Education (HE) institutions should have a Student Disability Services department or team, (although the exact name may be slightly different). Details of how to contact them will be on the university or college website. The site may also give information about the types of provision available.
For a student with a chronic medical condition, such as IBD, ‘reasonable adjustments’ might include, for example, arrangements for extra time in exams or extensions to meet coursework deadlines when fatigue or other symptoms are a problem. It might also include arrangements to allow you to eat or take medication during teaching sessions. Some universities and colleges offer flexible study options including modular and distance learning courses, giving students more opportunity to learn at their own pace. With such a course structure it might be possible to take a break from studying if you have a flare-up, or to change to working from home for all or part of your course. Speak to the Admissions Team at the university or college for more information on flexible learning.
Some students have found it helpful to talk to or visit Student Disability Services even before they submit their application. This allows them to take into account the sort of support they might be offered at that particular college/university. Telling Student Disability Services will not affect your chance of being offered a place.