Frequently Asked Questions


Applying to Notre Dame

Is the application process different because I have a disability?

No, the application process is same as it is for all students. Applicants with disabilities are part of the regular application pool and considered based on the same criteria as all students.

Should I provide information about my disability in my application?

Deciding whether to disclose a disability is a personal decision. The University cannot ask if you have a disability during the application process. However, some students feel that how they have successfully handled the challenges of their disability reveals the uniqueness and strength of their personality and choose to write about it in their application essay.

Should I include documentation with my application?

It is not necessary to include medical or educational testing with your application. You are welcome to send documentation to Sara Bea Disability Services in preparation for enrolling, or to inquire as to what accommodations you would be eligible to receive.

What documentation do you need?

Information from a medical professional must be provided to Sara Bea Disability Services to be eligible for services and reasonable accommodations. The documentation must be current and state a diagnosis of a disability and the functional limitations it causes. If you have questions about documentation, please contact  Sara Bea Disability Services.

Is there a separate application to receive services from Sara Bea Disability Services?

No, to be eligible for services, students simply need to provide documentation to Sara Bea Disability Services.

Testing Accommodations at Notre Dame

What do I need to do to receive testing accommodations?

The first thing you need to do is provide the Sara Bea Disability Services office with documentation of your disability. For example, if you have a learning disability or ADHD, appropriate documentation would be a copy of the diagnostic report with results of the tests you were given, as well as the evaluator’s interpretation, diagnosis, summary, and recommendations. The report should be no older than 3–5 years. Students with other types of disabilities should provide similar information from their doctor.

Second, you need to meet with the Coordinator or Associate Coordinator of Sara Bea Disability Services to discuss what specific accommodations you feel you need. Based on this meeting and a review of your documentation, the Coordinator or Associate Coordinator will determine what accommodations you will be eligible to request.

Are my professors notified automatically every semester?

No. You are responsible for asking Sara Bea Disability Services to prepare a Request for Testing Accommodations (RTA) form for the classes that you need accommodations. You then take the form to your professor to notify him or her of your request and to decide where your request will be provided. Once completed, the form is returned to the Sara Bea Disability Services office. We are not allowed to provide information about your disability or accommodations without your consent.

I sent in my documentation with my application (or health forms). Is that all I need to do?

No. Your documentation needs to be provided directly to the Sara Bea Disability Services office. Do not assume that a copy of your documentation was forwarded from Admissions or Health Services to Sara Bea Disability Services. Sara Bea Disability Services is the only office on campus that maintains documentation of a disability for the purposes of providing or coordinating accommodations when requested by the student.

Once I am registered with Sara Bea Disability Services, are my professors automatically notified of my disability and need for accommodations?

No. We cannot provide information about your disability to anyone on campus without your consent. Each semester, you must notify Sara Bea Disability Services of the accommodations you will need. In most cases, professors are only informed of the accommodations you will need in their class and not the nature of the disability. (Please see Testing Accommodations policy for more information)

In high school, my teacher handled the arrangements for extended time. Will it work the same way at Notre Dame?

No. In college, you have an active role in obtaining accommodations. While the Sara Bea Disability Services office will determine the accommodations you are eligible for and prepare the necessary paperwork (RTA forms), you are responsible for taking the form to your professor to finalize the arrangements.

What if I don’t need accommodations in all my classes? Can I just use accommodations for certain classes?

Yes. Because the structure of classes can be different, you may not need accommodations in all of your classes. You only need to request accommodations for the classes you need them in.

I am not sure if I will need accommodations in college. Should I still register with Sara Bea Disability Services?

As long as your documentation is current and adequate, you can register with the office at any time. However, it can be better to register sooner rather than later because some accommodations may require time to be arranged. Again, the information you provide will remain confidential.

Where will I take my tests?

You have two choices. One, you can take the test with your class and be provided with your accommodations by your professor. If you receive extended time, for example, you might arrange with your professor to start early or stay after in the classroom. However, if another class will use the room, then some students have moved to a conference room or the professor’s office to finish.

The second choice is to take your test at the Sara Bea Center for Students with Disabilities. Instead of going to the classroom, you would come to the center on the day of your test. We take care of getting a copy of the test and returning it to your professor.

When you meet with your professors to complete the RTA form, tell them where you would prefer to take your tests. Depending on their schedule, they will also let you know what works best for them.

Can a professor deny my request?

If a professor feels that the testing accommodation you are requesting will significantly alter what the test is designed to evaluate, they must notify the Sara Bea Disability Services office immediately. The Dean’s Office will then review the situation to determine if the professor’s concern is valid. It is possible for a request to be denied, but the chance of this happening is very rare. Most common requests such as extended time or a separate room do not interfere with the testing method.

What if I feel uncomfortable talking to my professors about my accommodations?

Advocating for yourself is an important skill to learn. However, if you have little experience doing this, please let us know so we can discuss with you how to best talk with your professor. Most professors are aware of the procedures and are genuinely interested in your success.

What if I can’t take my test at the regular time because I have a class right after?

If you cannot take your test during class time because your use of an accommodation will conflict with another class, you must talk with your professor to arrange a different time. The Sara Bea Center is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. However, you can schedule an appointment to start before 8:00 AM or take a test in the evening (if that is when the class is taking it or you are rescheduling a test you could not take earlier that day).

How can I get RTA forms for my classes?

Contact the Coordinator or Associate Coordinator to obtain your RTA forms.

When should I get my RTA forms done?

As soon as possible. The earlier you speak with the professor, the more time there will be to make arrangements. The deadline for completing and returning the RTA form is one week before the test.

Do I need to do a form for each test?

No, there is space on the form to list all your tests and the final. Once you return your form, we enter the test dates into our database and will expect you to arrive at our office at those times. Please let us know if a test date has been changed.

What if my professor has not yet scheduled our test dates?

Still return the form and notify us when you find out when the test will be. As soon as you know, please let us know.