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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 Accessibility Resource Center to talk about the accommodations you may need. On this page you will find common accommodations.

Academic 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 ARC. Students must register for self-scheduled finals accommodations by making their needs known to the ARC at least two weeks before finals begin. The Accessibility Resource Center 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 Accessibility Resource Center 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 ARC 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 ARC 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 ARC.

Students are permitted the use of an electronic device to complete exams. Students should inform faculty of their need for electronic device access and contact Jo Cannon of Educational Technology Services at ext. 3472 or at 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 ARC.

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. ARC 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.

Note-Taking Apps

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 ARC right away to discuss provision of an equally effective alternative accommodation.

For Faculty

When a student has in-person notetaker as an approved accommodation, please forward the following message to all members of your class: 

Hello, there is a student in this class who needs a note taker. This is a first-come, first-served opportunity. If hired, you will be paid 1.5 hours a week regardless of how long the class is or how often the class meets. You must take clear, concise notes and deliver them after each class. Notes should be emailed to the student who has requested the note taker, whose email address you will receive upon your hire. You are expected to keep the identity of the person you are taking notes for private. If interested, please contact ARC at When responding, be sure to include the course number (SWG100-01, for example) and the faculty member who is teaching the course. Please note that our office cannot answer questions about work study. If you do not receive a response within 3–4 weekdays, please know that while we sincerely appreciate your interest, the position has likely been filled.

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.

All videos used in the class must have captions available. Please consider your selections and confirm there are captions or request captioning through the Library Reserves Request System. Turn around time may be one to two weeks, so planning in advance is necessary.

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 ARC to discuss options. This accommodation is offered as a way to support students whose conditions are often cyclical and unpredictable, therefore ARC 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.

Dining Accommodations

Lamont Dining Hall, which is free of the nine most common allergens, is open to all students; an ARC process is not required to dine there. We encourage registration with ARC 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 ARC to discuss your needs at any time, with or without documentation. 

Please also contact our Manager of Nutrition Services at for dining-related questions, and/or if you would like to set up a consultation with the dining dietitian.

Gluten-Free Dining

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 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Dining Exception

To request an exception from the meal plan due to disability, please submit a request for accommodation by following the instructions on this page and indicate relevant details in the form. If you are not sure if your condition is disabling, please feel free to meet with the dining dietitian or schedule a time to talk with one of our ARC staff to discuss. Please note the general deadlines of June 1 for Fall, November 1 for Spring, and May 1 for Summer. Please contact us if you need to request an exception to the general date guideline due to extenuating circumstances. 

Housing Accommodations

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 Accessibility Resource Center 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. 

Accessible Parking & Parking Accommodations

All those with state-issued HP placards and plates are welcome to park in all HP spaces. If HP spaces are full, those with placards/plates may park in any available space. Please check current Northampton town practices for on-street and metered parking related to HP placards and plates.

For those without state-issued HP placards/plates who would like to request priority to receive a student parking decal, please note the following: 

  • The deadline for requesting prioritization for a decal as an accommodation is July 1 each year. Students must renew their request each year to let us know they continue to require a vehicle on campus. 
  • Any student may make a request for prioritization for parking decal prior to July 1 by following the general request accommodations process as outlined on this page. Please be sure to tell us, in detail, the specific accessibility-related reasons you are requesting prioritization for a parking decal, and to submit information from a provider if you have not done so previously. 
  • Students approved for prioritization for a decal will be able to purchase a decal at the very beginning of the purchasing period for all students (for 2024 this is July 24). 
  • All students, including those who have an accommodation for prioritization, will pay the standard student fee for the type of decal purchased. Please see this parking page for more information. 
  • After parking decals have been sold out, ARC will only be able to provide parking assistance for new and emergent situations. Requests for exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Failure to plan ahead does not constitute an emergency.  
  • If there is an emergency and a student is provided parking for longer than one month, a student will pay the standard student decal fee and will be put on the waitlist to receive a general decal. 
  • All students, including ARC students, are expected to pay parking citations. 
  • If purchasing a pass creates a financial barrier, students are welcome to explore this resources page and talk with college staff. 
  • If a student needs to have a car nearby and parking decals are not available from Smith, students are encouraged to explore the Northampton resources for parking.

Print Alternatives

There are different types of print alternatives and you must determine with us what works best. It is suggested that you become comfortable with more than one reading strategy, since print materials may not always be available in your preferred format.

Audio formatted books can be obtained commercially in bookstores and through websites like and iTunes. Audio books are also available to individuals with disabilities through several sources such as Learning Ally, a subscription service for people with print disabilities.

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 Accessibility Resource Center 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 ARC to scan the book in its entirety. You may also independently use other sources such as

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 ARC. 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.

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

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 the ARC for an appointment. 

Service or Support Animals

Service 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 ARC 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 ARC and submit a formal request. 

Provide supporting documentation and/or sign a release form for provider.

Meet with an ARC 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, ARC 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 

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 ARC 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 ARC 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.

Event Planners

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.

Studying Abroad

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.