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For SSW Students

Students with disabilities considering Smith College School for Social Work (SSW) or who have already been accepted for graduate study are encouraged to contact us to discuss your need for services and accommodations.

If you have never been diagnosed with a disability, but suspect you might have a learning disability or ADD/ADHD, you may want to consider psychoeducational testing before entering the graduate program so that you can take time to develop new coping strategies and identify possible accommodations that would support your learning at the graduate level. Guidelines for documenting a learning disability or ADD/ADHD are available here.

Getting Evaluated for LD or ADHD:

It is strongly recommened that students get evaluated before coming to Smith but finding a clinician and navigating insurance can be a problem. Some options include checking in with the Disability Services Office at a local college for a possible recommendation of clinicians in your area. Many colleges maintain lists. A primary care doctor or mental health professional should also be able to make a local referral. You may find a list of clinician who do neuropsychological testing on the website of your insurance company. It is more likely that your insurance will cover all or some of this testing where you live rather than trying to make this happen out of state while you are at Smith.

By getting evaluated before you arrive you can begin working on any strategies that the evaluator may recommend as soon as possible.  It would also help Disability Services know and plan for what accommodations you might need during the summer. Once you are in the middle of classes it will be hard to make adjustments.

Applying to Smith

Disability Not A Consideration in Admission

Disability is not considered in the admissions process for the School for Social Work. The unique academic structure and fast pace of the School for Social Work academic program can be both an asset and pose challenges for students with disabilities. It is important to consider a range of factors to determine the type of graduate program that best supports your individual learning needs.


If you have a diagnosed disability and expect to need accommodations in graduate school, you must provide the college with current testing or documentation.


Enhanced Strategies for Learning

Students who have been out of school for several years and away from the process of using disability accommodations or specialized learning and organizational strategies are encouraged to seek consultation before starting the program to determine how best to prepare for re-entry to an academic setting. Many students find that the academic demands of graduate study require new or enhanced strategies for learning. Making efforts to strengthen your studying, writing, reading and organizational skills before beginning graduate study will prove to be very beneficial.

Academic Support

Students who will need supports such as books in alternative format, sign-language interpreters or captioning services must contact disability services at least six to eight weeks before the start of classes. Such lead time is necessary to evaluate your request and identify qualified service providers or contractors.

Talk to Current SSW Students

Students with disabilities already enrolled in Smith College School for Social Work master's and doctoral programs are available to talk to you about the program. They are willing to share their successes and struggles in an effort to support those making decisions about coming to Smith and to help students attending have a successful and positive experience. SSW students with disabilities also maintain a weekly support/educational group that is open to people with disabilities and allies. If you would like to connect with an enrolled student with a disability, please contact us for information.