Living on Campus As a Deaf or Hard or Hearing Student
Choosing the Right Dorm for You
Packing for Your Dorm Room 
Dealing with Emergencies at College
Top 10 Reasons to Participate In Extracurricular Activities

Living on Campus As a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Student

When you decide to go to college you need to think about where you are going to live.  You have some options available to you depending upon your individual situation:

1. Live at home with your parents or other family members
2. Find a roommate and/or rent an apartment
3. Live in a dorm on campus

Many students decide to live on campus.  If you decide to live in a dorm there are some things you need to consider before you move in:

1. How will you pay to live in the dorm?
2. Will you purchase a campus meal plan?
3. How do you ask for your dorm room to be made accessible?
4. Where will you get a TDD/TTY for use in your dorm room?
5. How will you communicate with a hearing roommate?
6. What type of alarm will you use to ensure you are on time for classes?
7. What offices on campus have TDD/TTY phone numbers?

How Will You Pay to Live in the Dorm?

Generally, living on campus costs less than renting an apartment.  Your electricity and water bills are usually included in the semester fee when you live in the dorms.  However, your phone and cable television bills are normally extra.  The price for your dorm room will also depend upon your choice of rooms.  Some dorm rooms include a two-room shared bathroom, other rooms share one large bathroom for several rooms on a floor.  Fees for living on campus varies depending on the college you choose.  Dorm fees can range from $1,000 - $1,200 per semester.

How will you pay to live in the dorm?  Talk to your VR counselor about the options that are available for paying the dorm fees.  You can also apply for PELL grants, scholarships or student loans.  In order to apply for financial assistance you must fill out the paperwork several months before  school starts.  Some students choose to get a part-time student worker job on campus to help earn money to pay the dorm fees.

Will You Purchase a Campus Meal Plan?

When you move into the dorm, what will you eat?  Some colleges require all students that live in dorms purchase a campus meal plan.  Other colleges will allow students to have the option of purchasing and preparing their own meals.  Ask about the policies of the college you choose.  Some dorms provide facilities for students to store, cook and clean their own food and others do not.  Take a tour of the dorm you are planning to live in before you move in to see what facilities will be available to you.

How Do You Ask for Your Dorm Room to Be Made Accessible?

Deaf and hard of hearing students who have difficulty hearing alarms during an emergency or a fire drill have the right to request a flashing fire alarm be installed into their assigned dorm room.  The college is responsible for paying for purchasing and installing this equipment into your dorm room.

You are responsible for requesting the flashing fire alarm in your room.  If you do not request the flashing fire alarm, the college is not required to provide it for you.  Many colleges require you to indicate on your dorm application form what accommodations you will need.  You should write "flashing fire alarm" on this application.

Where Will You Get a TDD/TTY for Use in Your Dorm Room?

Most colleges do not provide telephones in dorm rooms for hearing students.   Students are generally required to provide their own telephone for use in their room.  Likewise, deaf and hard of hearing students are also required to provide their own TDD/TTY for use in their dorm room.

If you do not have a TDD/TTY, you can contact the nearest Louisiana Commission for the Deaf Distribution Center to request that a loaner TDD/TTY be provided to you.  You can find a list of the Distribution Centers in the resource section of this book.

How Will You Communicate with a Hearing Roommate?

You will probably be assigned a roommate to share the dorm room with you unless you and a friend ask to share a dorm room together before school starts.  If you are assigned a roommate that you do not know, there will be an adjustment period for you to get used to your new roommate.  If your roommate is hearing and is not familiar with how to communicate with deaf or hard of hearing individuals you might want to give them some pointers such as:

  • Please make sure you are directly facing me when you talk to me so that I can read your lips; or
  • Please fingerspell to me (provide them with a fingerspelling card); or
  • Please write everything to me on this notepad so that I can make sure I understand everything that you say.
You will also need to work out telephone answering machine arrangements if necessary.  Many times, hearing students will bring an answering machine with them from home to use in their dorm room.  Likewise, most TDD/TTY machines have a built-in answering machine for use by deaf and hard of hearing students.  These two answering machines cannot work on the same phone line at the same time.

Here are a couple of possible solutions that you and your roommate can discuss to find what might work best for you:

1. Use the hearing roommate's answering machine instead of the TDD/TTY answering machine and agree that the hearing roommate will write down all phone messages for you and put them on your desk.

2. Ask the dorm manager to install a second phone line into your dorm room so that each of you have a separate phone number. (There might be an additional charge for a separate phone line unless the phone line is provided to you as part of your required accommodations by the college).

What Type of Alarm Will You Use to Help  You Be on Time for Classes?

You will be responsible for making sure that you wake up and get to class on time.  There are several options available to you in selecting an alarm clock.  You can purchase a pillow vibrator or a whole bed vibrator that will gently shake you awake at the set time.

Another option is an alarm clock that will turn on a light in your room or will flash a light on and off until you get up and turn it off.   If you will be sharing your dorm room with a roommate who has to wake up at different times than you, the lighted alarm clocks may not be the best solution for you.

What Offices on Campus Have TDD/TTY Phone Numbers?

You need to keep a list of the offices on campus that are directly accessible to you through your TDD/TTY.   Chances are that every office you will need to contact on campus will not always have a TDD/TTY so you will need to be familiar with the Relay Service as well. (More information on the Relay Service is available in another chapter.) You should be able to get a listing of the TDD/TTY phone numbers from the Disability Services office on campus.  You should keep your list of important TDD/TTY and voice phone numbers on your desk or near your phone for easy access.

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Choosing the Right Dorm for You
by eHow Staff

Choosing a dorm is an important decision.  You'll be spending a lot of time there, and you want to make sure it fits your needs.

  • Decide whether you want a co-ed or single-sex dorm, smoking or non-smoking.
  • Choose a "frosh" dorm, which tends to be rowdy, if you want opportunities to meet people.
  • Choose a four-class dorm or a dorm with quiet hours if you need peace and quiet.
  • Find out the dorm location to make sure it is close to your classrooms, the student center and town.
  • Find out how many people are put in each room.  Some dorms offer singles, but most offer doubles.  Sometimes dorms put 3 or 4 students in a room.
  • Find out if a dorm offers suites.  These are dorm rooms with one main room and two or more adjoining rooms.  They tend to be more spacious.
  • Look for dorms with conveniences such as cafeterias, laundry rooms, exercise rooms, recreation rooms, and computer facilities.
  • Make sure the dorm is in a safe area and is well-lit.
  • Some schools offer dorms with themes or academic programs. If you are interested in these, ask for more information.
Visit the school you plan to attend ahead of time and inspect the dorm facilities in person. 
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Packing for Your Dorm Room
By eHow Staff

Your small dorm room will be home.  Take what you need to make it comfortable.  Check with your roommate to be sure you are not duplicating large items such as televisions or stereos.

  1. Try to contact your roommate ahead of time to find out what he or she plans to bring.
  2. Find out what size bed your dorm room has and pack linens accordingly.
  3. Determine how likely it is that you will need dress-up, formal or "dating" clothes, and pack just what you need.
  4. Pack mostly casual wear for studying.  Try to select clothes that can be washed in the same cycle; you won't have to pack so many.
  5. Pack bathrobe, shower slippers, towels and personal-care items such as your hair dryer.
  6. Pack school supplies, but remember you can buy those on campus.
  7. Pack your computer equipment securely in the boxes it came in and throw in a good power strip.
  8. Take posters and tapestries for wall coverings.  Take personal photos and mementos to dress up shelves and desks.
  9. Take throw rugs or used carpet as floor coverings.
  10. Pack emergency items such as battery-operated radios and flashlights as well as practical items such as a hot pot or a microwave if they are allowed.
  • Most dorm beds are extra long - 80 to 84 inches in length.
  • If you get cold during the night, consider taking an extra blanket or two.
  • Sleeping bags make good portable beds for camping trips or extra guests.
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Dealing with Emergencies at College

Often times, emergencies arise for students while they are attending college.  You should be prepared and have a plan in mind for dealing with emergencies that might arise.  Things that you need to know before an emergency happens include:

  1. How to Work with Campus Security or Police
  2. How to Obtain Interpreting/Captioning Services for Emergency Situations
  3. How to Obtain Medical Treatment
  4. How to Use Your Vehicle and Medical Insurance Coverage
How to Work with Campus Police

Most colleges will have their own campus security office or police station.  You need to be familiar with where this office is located on your campus.  You also need to know both their voice and TDD/TTY phone numbers.  These numbers should be kept with you at all times.  Campus security or police stations are required to have a TDD/TTY phone number and to have individuals trained in using this equipment at all times.   If your college does not have this available, talk to your Disability Services office to request this be arranged.

Some colleges may have a security guard or police officer that has received basic training in sign language.  Ask if there are any individuals at your school that might know some sign language and if so, ask to meet with that person so that they can know your face and name.

How to Obtain Interpreting/captioning Services for Emergency Situations

Your college should have a plan for obtaining interpreting or captioning services in emergency situations.  Talk to your Disability Services office to find out what the procedures are for obtaining these services.  Most colleges will require 24 - 48 hours notice to request for an interpreter or captionist in normal situations, however, this policy must be waived for genuine emergencies.

How to Obtain Medical Treatment

Some colleges may have a student medical center that has doctors and nurses available to you on campus.  If your college does offer these services, make sure that you take advantage of them.  Often, utilizing on-campus student medical services is either free of charge, or at a very reduced rate for enrolled students.  You need to know the procedure for obtaining and interpreter/captionist for on-campus doctor appointments.

If your college does not have an on-campus medical facility, you need to know where the closest doctor's office is for you.  You need to investigate before you get sick or hurt if a doctor will accept your medical insurance.   When you make a doctor's appointment, you need to request that an interpreter or captionist is provided to you for the appointment.  

If you are attending college away from home, you need to know which area hospital to use if you suddenly need to use the emergency room.  Most hospitals are familiar with providing interpreters or captionists and will provide this accommodation to you when requested.

Make sure that you know about your medical insurance coverage
and have a copy of that information or your insurance card with you at all times.

How to Use Your Vehicle and Medical Insurance Coverage

If you are driving your vehicle to college, you need to be aware of your insurance coverage.

You should have a copy of your current insurance card in your wallet and a copy in your glove compartment at all times.

Some colleges offer medical insurance coverage to full-time students at a reduced rate.  If you do not have medical insurance coverage you might want to consider purchasing the student health insurance.  It is important to know what your medical insurance covers, what your deductible or co-payment requirements are, and at which facilities you can use your insurance coverage.  Knowing this information in advance can prove to be very valuable.

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Top 10 Reasons to Participate In Extracurricular Activities

  2. You'll experiment and gain experience.
  3. You'll improve your skills and abilities.
  4. You'll get the most out of college.
  6. You'll manage college stress more effectively.
  7. You'll organize your time better.
  8. You'll improve your resume.
  9. You'll meet important individuals on cam pus and in the community to help develop your network connections.
  10. You'll have FUN!!!
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