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Academic Accommodations

Request Form and Accommodation Letters

At the beginning of each semester, students registered with AEO must submit an Academic Accommodation Request Form no later than the end of the first two weeks of class. After you return your form by email, AEO will prepare an academic accommodation letter that identifies every academic accommodation that has been approved for the current semester.

Accommodation letters are emailed directly to you with a cc: copy sent to the Dean of Studies office.

Academic Accommodation Letter

This is important: Your academic accommodation letter will be emailed to you. You are then responsible for forwarding the letter to your professors AND meeting with each professor during office hours to arrange your academic accommodations. Please schedule an appointment with our office if you have any questions or concerns about the process.

Sample Accommodation Letter PDF

What do I tell my professors?

Vassar's faculty are extremely devoted and committed to their roles as teachers; they care deeply about their students, and they want to do whatever they can to help you develop your fullest understanding of their course's subject matter. You must let your professors know that you are working with our office if you anticipate using or needing academic accommodations at any point in the semester.

Your accommodation letter instructs you to arrange to meet in person with each of your professors during the first several weeks of the semester. The purpose of these meetings is for your professor to get to know you better, to learn more about how your accommodations allow for your unique learning style, and enable you to participate fully in the class.

It would be a good idea to bring a hard copy of your letter (or, email it directly to your professors) in case any of your professors have trouble locating their copy. It might also be helpful if you took a look at the course syllabus or outlines beforehand to see if there will be times during the semester when paper deadlines and/ or exam dates may overlap or occur closely together. This is particularly important if you are eligible for staggered deadlines.

Please remember that this is a partnership with your professors: your accommodations, their courses and communication and collaboration are essential.

Tell your professors that you want to review your approved accommodations with them, and to develop an understanding or plan for how your accommodations will be implemented in their class. Use your Accommodation Letter as a guide in these discussions. In most cases, your professors may want to discuss the logistics of providing for your accommodation needs (e.g., how much extra time on exams, requesting a low distraction environment when taking exams, how much of a reminder or advance notice they expect from you, etc.)

You need not disclose the specifics of your diagnosis or disability, and if asked, you should feel free to say you are not comfortable discussing this at the present time. However, be prepared to describe the sorts of support or accommodations that have been helpful to you in the past, and that have been approved for accommodations by AEO.

It will be your responsibility to stay on top of deadlines and due dates, and to remind your professors well in advance when you make your accommodation requests. We encourage you to meet regularly with your professors throughout the year. Get to know them and give them the opportunity to get to know you. You’ll be amazed at how much more you will learn during office hours, and how much easier it will be to arrange your accommodations. If you have any questions regarding this process, or any problems occur, please contact us.

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Exam Accommodations

Some students may qualify for additional time to complete exams, may need to take their exam in a small group or lower-distraction environment, or may be eligible to use a computer for the exam.

If you are approved for exam accommodations and wish to use AEO's exam proctoring services, you must complete the exam proctoring request form at least one week before the date of your exam.

It is imperative that you speak to your professors at the beginning of the semester to discuss your exam arrangements. We urge you to ask your professors if they can proctor your exams for you so that you have direct access to them in case you have questions. If your professors are unable to proctor your exam, or you require a reduced-distraction environment, AEO can proctor your exams for you.

If you receive extended time on exams, it is important that you check your schedule before you submit your request to ensure that your exam end time will not conflict with another class. If there is a scheduling conflict that you do not know how to resolve, please contact AEO for assistance.

Please note:

  • While we only require one week's notice for regular semester exams, we require a minimum of three weeks' notice for final exams.
  • You will receive an acknowledgment within 48 hours of your submission. A confirmation letter with information regarding the time and location will be sent to you and your professor at least 2 days before the scheduled exam.
  • Please discuss each exam with your professor in order to obtain the needed details for our office when submitting your request (length of time allowed for exam, permitted materials, etc.)

What if I need my exam proctored by AEO?

If you are approved for exam accommodations and wish to use AEO's exam proctoring services, you must complete this exam proctoring request form at least one week before the date of your exam.

It is imperative that you speak to your professors at the beginning of the semester to discuss your exam arrangements. We urge you to ask your professors if they can proctor your exams for you so that you have direct access to them in case you have questions. If your professors are unable to proctor your exam, or you require a reduced-distraction environment, AEO can proctor your exams for you.

If you receive extended time on exams, it is important that you check your schedule before you submit your request to ensure that your exam end time will not conflict with another class. If there is a scheduling conflict that you do not know how to resolve, please contact AEO for assistance.

Please note:

  • While we only require one week's notice for regular semester exams, we require a minimum of three weeks' notice for final exams.
  • You will receive an acknowledgment within 48 hours of your submission. A confirmation letter with information regarding the time and location will be sent to you and your professor at least 2 days before the scheduled exam.
  • Please discuss each exam with your professor in order to obtain the needed details for our office when submitting your request (length of time allowed for exam, permitted materials, etc.)
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Modifications to Your Academic Program

Reduced Course Load, Foreign Language Substitutions, and Other Modifications

Vassar encourages students to pursue their degree through a program of study that recognizes individual goals and supports their academic interests. Every Vassar student must fulfill an intensive freshman writing course, the quantitative course requirement, the foreign language requirement, and requirements for the declared major.  Vassar College does not waive requirements because degree requirements and departmental requirements are implemented for sound pedagogic and academic reasons. 

Students in need of modifications to their academic program, such as taking a reduced course load or petitioning for a substitution of the foreign language requirement, may petition the Committee on Leaves and Privileges, in consultation with the Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (AEO).  Please contact us if you have concerns about Vassar's academic program requirements.  Petitions for course substitutions must be made well in advance.

Committee on Leaves and Privileges Request for Foreign Language Substitution Requirements

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Staggered Deadline Accommodation Policy and Definitions

Some students with disabilities may qualify for staggered deadlines as a reasonable academic accommodation. The purpose of Staggered Deadline Accommodation is to provide the student with an opportunity to consult with the instructor well in advance to identify an acceptable alternate submission date—not an extension–for a paper, project, or exam when there are conflicting due dates for assignments or exams in one or more classes. Staggered deadlines are not extensions in that there is planning involved. However, the new deadline may be scheduled after the original deadline.

At the beginning of the semester, qualified students must review their syllabus and meet with their professor to discuss exam dates and assignment deadlines. Staggered deadlines may result in an assignment or test being moved up or moved back in order to accommodate the nature of the assignment, the professor’s course objectives, or the student’s assignment schedule. Typically, exams are not moved unless there are no other options AND the professor is in agreement. Group presentations are also not moved due to potential scheduling conflicts for other members of the group or class.

Requests for staggered deadlines on final papers at the end of the semester are arranged through the Office of Accessibility and Educational Opportunity in consultation with the Dean of Studies Office and the student’s professor. In such cases, the proposed staggered deadline may require a new due date falling during the study period and/or the final exam period. Requests for staggered deadlines for end of semester work must be made before the last day of classes.

Staggered Deadlines are proposed in one of two ways:

  1. Staggered deadlines are generally arranged by meeting with the AEO Director. After meeting with the student, the Director will send a staggered deadline proposal to their professor and the student’s class advisor in the Dean of Studies Office by email. Once confirmed, the student is responsible for meeting the new deadline and following up with the professor to confirm paper delivery or other assignment obligations.
  2. The student can meet with his or her professor directly to set up a staggered deadline for a particular assignment or exam. The student is then responsible for sending a confirmation email to his or her professor, Dean of Studies Class Advisor, and ODSS confirming the new deadline.

How does this differ from an extension or an incomplete?

When students are unable to complete their academic work for reasons of health or serious emergency, an extension or incomplete may be granted by the Dean of Studies Office. The Office Accessibility and Educational Opportunity cannot approve or grant extensions or incompletes. Similarly, all requests for extensions beyond the final exam period are considered incompletes. A request for staggered deadline made less than a week in advance will be considered as a request for an extension. Students in need of an extension must speak with their professor and contact their class advisor in the Dean of Studies Office.

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Notetaker Services

The Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (AEO) coordinates a notetaker service for students, who due to a disability or disabilities, are either unable to take notes or need class notes to supplement their own notes and class attendance. Students who receive this accommodation typically have a visual or hearing impairment, a physical disability, a traumatic brain injury, a learning disability or ADHD. 

How the Service Works

The director of AEO approves Notetaker accommodations, which, like all disability accommodations, are based on the student's disability documentation, the current nature of their disorder, and the specific requirements of the course or program. The service is meant to supplement class attendance and not replace it; therefore, the notetaker service is not considered an appropriate accommodation for those students who are unable to attend class due to a disability-related need.

  • Students eligible for this accommodation should request notetaker services each semester.
  • Students are encouraged to attend the first two class sessions to determine which courses are appropriate for the notetaker service.
  • An email will then be sent out to all students registered in the class. 

Please recommend classmates whom you know take good notes and attend class reliably.

Notetaking Accommodation Request Form

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Alternate Print Accommodation

AEO provides class materials in alternative formats for students with print-related disabilities so they may use text-to-speech software to listen to their books or read in Braille or enlarged text. Here are a few things to know about the alternative print accommodation:

  • For books that are not available in accessible formats on other databases, AEO will create an accessible format in-house. Because this process can take time, be sure to request well before you need the reading.
  • AEO reserves a two-week turnaround time for all media.
  • You do not need to have your Academic Accommodation Letter prior to requesting this accommodation, however, you will need to meet with the AEO director for approval first.
  • Contact aeo@vassar.edu with any questions.

Use this form to request your books/articles. Remember, request early!  

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Modifications to Your Academic Program

Reduced Course Load, Foreign Language Substitutions and Other Modifications

Vassar encourages students to pursue their degree through a program of study that recognizes individual goals and supports their academic interests. Every Vassar student must fulfill an intensive freshman writing course, the quantitative course requirement, the foreign language requirement, and requirements for the declared major.  Vassar College does not waive requirements because degree requirements and departmental requirements are implemented for sound pedagogic and academic reasons. 

Students in need of modifications to their academic program, such as taking a reduced course load or petitioning for a substitution of the foreign language requirement, may petition the Committee on Leaves and Privileges, in consultation with the Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (AEO).  Please contact us if you have concerns about Vassar's academic program requirements.  Petitions for course substitutions must be made well in advance.

Committee on Leaves and Privileges Request for Foreign Language Substitution Requirements

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