Accommodations & Services
Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis considering an individual’s challenges and the academic demands and responsibilities of residential life at Smith College. Contact the Office of Disability Services to talk about the accommodations you may need. On this page you will find common accommodations.
Students with this accommodation are permitted extended time to complete timed exams, quizzes, in-class assignments, midterms and final exams, including self-scheduled exams. Amount of time will be specified in each student’s accommodations letter (either time-and-a-half 150%, or double time 200%). Extended time does not apply to take-home quizzes or tests to be worked on over a period of days. Both faculty and students have responsibility to reach out to make specific arrangements regarding extended time accommodations. Changes to testing accommodations may not be made without at least two weeks notice on the part of the student or faculty member to ODS. Students must register for self-scheduled finals accommodations by making their needs known to the Disability Office at least three weeks before finals begin. The Office of Disability Services will work with the Office of the Registrar to make arrangements for finals accommodations.
Students with this accommodation may occasionally need extensions on written papers or projects. Extensions must be specific with new deadlines clearly stated. These extensions need to be arranged in advance of the original due date whenever possible. These extensions do not apply to group work. Faculty members are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services to discuss options when extensions:
- seem incompatible with the format or standards in the course
- appear to interfere with the student’s participation in the class
- affect instructor's ability to assess the student’s work
- are repeatedly ineffective in assisting the student with meeting new deadlines
Students are responsible for keeping faculty informed of progress toward completion of extended assignments and meeting newly agreed upon deadlines. Students granted extensions as an accommodation to their disability may not be assessed penalties, unless the work is late beyond the new agreed-upon deadline. This accommodation is offered as a way to support students whose conditions are often cyclical and unpredictable, therefore ODS is not able to offer a blanket statement about frequency of use. We are happy to discuss specific situations on a case-by-case basis.
Students with this accommodation are permitted to take exams separate from the rest of class. Faculty members are responsible for arranging an appropriate time and accessible modality. Please note that "distraction reduced" spaces may still have several (2-4) students taking exams together. If this presents a problem, please contact ODS to discuss. Changes to testing accommodations may not be made without at least two weeks notice on the part of the student or faculty member to ODS.
Students are permitted the use of a computer to complete exams. Students should inform faculty of their need for computer access and contact Jo Cannon of Educational Technology Services at ext. 3472 or at email@example.com in advance of the exam date to make arrangements and visit the lab if necessary. Faculty should inform students when there is a need for access to specialized software related to the exam. Please confirm accessibility of any specialized software related to exams and reach out to Jo Cannon in ITS for guidance. Changes to testing accommodations may not be made without at least two weeks notice on the part of the student or faculty member to ODS.
Students with this accommodation are permitted reasonable modifications or alternative testing and evaluation methods. Students with disabilities must be evaluated using methods that appropriately test their knowledge or acquired skills, unless those methods would fundamentally alter the nature of the curriculum and learning goals. It is strongly encouraged that the professor and student develop a plan to reasonably meet these learning objectives through alternative means at the start of the term. ODS is available for consultation and direction around each specific situation.
Faculty need to provide students with enlarged copies of handouts or any other material to be referred to in class; which size font will be specified in the accommodations letter. Students generally prefer to have handouts sent to them in advance electronically. Another option is to use a copier to enlarge and print on 11”x 17” paper, which will provide 200% enlargement. Please discuss accommodation options with students. Also, please see that any guest speakers’ materials are also enlarged.
Students with this accommodation are permitted the use of a digital recording device in class to audio record lectures and assignments and/or will require the use of a laptop to take notes. These recordings are confidential, for the sole purpose of review by students; they are not to be distributed or shared in any way, and are to be destroyed once students have finished using them for study. These expectations follow the general college policy for all students regarding privacy of class materials.
Students with this accommodation are permitted to use Glean or other apps for note-taking. In any class where this is not possible because of fundamental alteration or undue burden reasons, the faculty member must contact ODS right away to discuss provision of an equally effective alternative accommodation.
Students with this accommodation may require your assistance in assuring the availability of a seat in a particular location. This location will be indicated in the accommodations letter (such as close to the door, or close to the front of the room in order to see, hear or lip-read during lectures).
Students with this accommodation will be using an assistive listening device called an FM System. This is a form of amplification which requires you to use or wear a small microphone while students wear headphones or other amplification equipment.
Students with this accommodation should be allowed some flexibility in number of excused absences and late arrivals, or permission to occasionally leave class when necessary due to disability or health-related difficulties. It is necessary for students and faculty to discuss this accommodation at the start of the semester and to discuss parameters for its use; students and faculty need to establish clear agreements of both the possibilities and the limits of this flexibility in the context of class learning objectives and design. When an absence or tardiness is anticipated and necessary for medical treatment, arrangements should be made in advance whenever possible. This is not a blanket excuse from attending and being on time to class and the student retains responsibility for all coursework covered in a missed class. If absences become excessive, faculty should contact Disability Services to discuss options. This accommodation is offered as a way to support students whose conditions are often cyclical and unpredictable, therefore ODS is not able to offer a blanket statement about frequency of use.
Students with this accommodation require the use of a screen reader, which necessitates that all their required course materials be accessible. Course reserve requests for Moodle that are fulfilled by library staff are screen reader-compatible, ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Additions to required course materials must meet the same accessibility standards. Instructions on creating accessible documents and finding accessible textbooks can be found here.
Students with this accommodation need to have a printed copy of any overhead or PowerPoint presentations to which students are expected to refer in class. These are generally provided by email at least 24 hours in advance of the class meeting time, or hard copy in class. Instructions on creating accessible documents can be found here.
Students with this accommodation are permitted use of a calculator, where appropriate, for in-class assignments, quizzes and exams.
Due to illness or other aspects of this student’s disability, they are permitted to eat during classes and tests.
Lamont Dining Hall, which is free of the nine most common allergens, is open to all students; an ODS process is not required to dine there. We encourage registration with ODS for severe food allergies, such as those which require an epi-pen or similar, and any other food-related conditions which rise to the level of disability. If you are unsure whether or not your condition is a disability, please set up a time to meet with one of our staff. You may come to ODS to discuss your needs at any time, with or without documentation.
Please also contact our Manager of Nutrition Services at firstname.lastname@example.org for dining-related questions, and/or if you would like to set up a consultation with the dining dietitian.
Dining Services provides a fully gluten-free dining option located at Dawes House specifically for students with celiac disease or other similar conditions. Students who are allergic to gluten must provide medical documentation of the condition and any additional restrictions or allergies that need to be addressed. Students granted access to Dawes must carefully adhere to those rules designed to keep the location free of gluten contamination. Depending on your level of need, you may be offered more limited gluten-free options at other locations. Please complete a Disability Identification Request Form in Workday and upload supporting documentation. Please contact email@example.com for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Smith College is a residential campus which requires all students to live on campus throughout their entire enrollment. To the extent feasible, housing accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities or significant medical conditions. Students' preferences for specific houses will be considered, but may not always be met in situations where the unique character and age of a particular residence hall limits access or the preference is otherwise not available.
Students who need housing accommodations must complete the standard housing process, and also must submit their request for accommodation to the Office of Disability Services with supporting medical documentation by the appropriate deadlines. Failure to submit complete information by these deadlines may delay or prevent the college from meeting the request.
Books can be obtained commercially through products and services like Kindle, Nook, and Ibooks. Textbooks can be obtained in digital formats from publishers by requests from the Office of Disability Services on your behalf. To comply with the college's digital rights management obligations, you will be required to show proof of purchase of the book in order to obtain the book from the publisher in an accessible format or obtain permission for ODS to scan the book in its entirety. You may also independently use other sources such as bookshare.org.
Scanned Electronic Materials
Books, articles, or other materials can be scanned and turned into PDF, Word, or other formats to be read by text-to-voice software. Required materials for courses are generally converted by the Library's eReserve system at the request of faculty. In the event that materials are not accessible, please contact ODS. The college will provide support in preparing these materials for you when other materials are not available, and when it does not pose an undue administrative burden on staff.
Online Document Conversion Service
If you wish to access materials independently or need a document converted immediately for courses or research you can send a file to our online conversion service at www.robobraille.org/web3/smith/.
A PDF or Word file can be converted to a digital version for use with Adobe, Voice Over on Mac, etc., or you can request an MP3. The turnaround time is usually a few minutes to an hour depending on the size and quality of the document. The document sent must be clean; that is, it needs to have no underlining, highlighting, marks on the page, etc.
Materials on the web can be read with screen-reading software or downloaded and read with text-to-speech software.
Braille materials are available through electronic conversion of print materials to formats compatible with refreshable Braille devices or printed on Braille paper when appropriate. The college will seek out available Braille resources and provide this service to the greatest extent possible. Students will need to work closely with disability services and plan ahead.
Reading Assists, Devices, and Apps
Students with disabilities such as vision impairments, learning disabilities or other disabilities that impact reading may need alternatives to standard print in order to read effectively while in college. There are many forms of assistive technology that can help, such as text-to-voice and voice-to-text apps. These tools are easy to use, though it generally takes time to learn and get comfortable with them. If you are struggling to keep up with your reading due to a disability, these alternatives can be life-changing and worth the time investment.
Voice-to-text apps allow someone to speak rather than type. Text-to-voice apps read digital PDFs, Word documents, and other digital formats aloud. Low-end versions of this technology simply read what is on the page without much other functionality. Higher-end versions often include other educational functions, such as dictionaries and thesauruses, as well as the ability to highlight, underline, bookmark, copy/paste content, etc. We can assist you in identifying these options.
Text-to-voice apps read digital PDFs, Word documents and other digital formats aloud. Low-end versions of this type of software simply read what is on the page without much other functionality. Higher-end versions often include other educational functions, such as dictionaries and thesauruses, as well as the ability to highlight, underline, bookmark and so on. You can also search and clip content into a notepad for later use. Digital materials are increasingly available through a variety of commercial and private sources. Textbooks can often be obtained from publishers, and many online scholarly journals use accessible formats. We can assist you in identifying these options.
Assistive Technology Labs
Smith's Assistive Technology Lab (ATL) is located in Neilson Library Learning Commons. The ATL offers assistive technology software that is available to all students. Smith's Educational Technology Services (ETS) department will train you on the software.
Many devices and apps have accessibility features which allow users to control the font and contrast when reading, and to navigate using audible headings. If you would like assistance exploring available digital reading materials and devices, please contact ODS for an appointment.
Service or Support Animals
Smith College is committed to ensuring equal access to the campus for disabled students, staff, faculty, guests, and visitors who will be accompanied on campus by service animals. Service Animals may travel with their handler throughout the college, except where restrictions apply for health and safety reasons.
Service animals are defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act as dogs (or miniature horses, with certain qualifications) that are trained to perform one or more specific tasks for a person with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. In determining if an animal is a service animal, staff may only ask the following questions: (1) is this a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform.
Students with service animals living in Smith housing are strongly encouraged to provide notification prior to arrival (June 1st for Fall Semester and November 1st for Spring Semester), so that the college can help avoid housing conflicts with other students with disabilities and otherwise facilitate the handler’s campus housing experience, and so that the college will know an animal is present in the event of an emergency. If you wish to request an exception to these dates, please contact ODS to discuss.
Handlers of Service Animals have responsibilities which are detailed in the linked PDFs below.
For the full policy on Service Animals click here.
Emotional Support Animals
The college will permit Emotional Support Animals (ESA) to reside in the houses with students with documented disabilities, where necessary as a reasonable accommodation. This is determined on a case-by-case basis, using the criteria detailed in this policy (linked below), and in accordance with the requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act. Approval for an emotional support animal can take a month or more, and is not guaranteed.
Students who wish to request this accommodation need to review the policy linked below, then take the following steps:
Register with ODS and submit a formal request.
Provide supporting documentation and/or sign a release form for provider.
Meet with an ODS staff member.
Once you have done each of these things, you will receive notice if your request has been approved, denied, or if more information is required in order for the college to make a decision.
If your request is approved by ODS, the next step is to complete the Residence Life ESA process. Residence Life will ask that you sign an ESA agreement. When the agreement is signed and on file, Residence Life will contact you with any remaining questions. Residence Life will confirm final approval for the presence of your ESA on campus. If Residence Life is not able to find a suitable space for you with your approved ESA, ODS may approve you to be released from the residency requirement so that you may find suitable off-campus housing. If you have questions about the Residence Life ESA process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note the importance of beginning the request process far enough in advance of the following deadlines by which all materials must be submitted and meetings must be complete:
Deadline for those wishing to bring an ESA for Fall semester is June 1st.
Deadline for those wishing to bring an ESA for Spring semester is November 1st.Exceptions to deadlines are considered on a case-by-case basis and are typically only granted when extenuating circumstances (such as withdrawing and being readmitted after the deadline) exist. Failure to plan ahead to ensure all materials are complete by the deadline does not constitute an extenuating circumstance.
Emotional Support Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, and apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. Emotional Support Animals may not be present in any other campus buildings. When outside the residence, the handler of a support animal shall carry proof that the animal is an approved animal.
For the full policy on Emotional Support Animals click here.
NOTE: The deadline for all ESA application materials to be submitted for the Fall 2023 semester passed on June 1. The deadline for the Spring 2024 semester is November 1. Please also note that having an ESA is an accommodation considered for those with a diagnosed disability only. The application process can take up to a month, so please make your appointment soon.
Students with service animals not living in Smith housing are encouraged to register with ODS so we may ensure you have the best possible experience on campus and to help avoid classroom conflicts with other disabled students who may have severe animal allergies. We also encourage all students with Service Animals to register with ODS so community staff and emergency personnel will know there is an animal during emergency situations.
Sign Language Requests
Requests for interpreters for meetings and one-on-one communication should be made by or on behalf of a specific deaf individual at least two weeks in advance whenever possible. Requests for theatrical or other performances should be made at least three weeks in advance to allow time for us to secure interpreters with these specialized skills.
If you are planning an event that will be open to the public, please post notice several weeks in advance with instructions about how to request an interpreter and an appropriate deadline. You can then notify us at least three weeks in advance of the date, sooner if you are planning a large event that might require several interpreters.
One of the most rewarding Smith College experiences is spending a semester or a year abroad. Attend the Study Abroad Fair at Wright Hall or find answers and valuable resources on the Study Abroad website.