Academic Accommodations

Academic accommodations are determined on an individualized basis through an interactive process that involves student self-disclosure, documentation of disability, and an initial meeting with a Disability Specialist.

Renew Accommodations for the Current Semester

Students who are already approved for academic accommodations must renew them at the start of every new semester. This process gives students the chance to review their accommodations and decide which accommodations to activate for each of their current classes. Completing the Semester Request also sends a notification to their course instructors and allows them to review and sign the students’ accommodation letters. Complete your Semester Request through the MyWeingartenCenter student portal.

How to Submit a Semester Request

Request an Additional Accommodation

Students who are already approved for accommodations can request additional accommodations at any time during their Penn career by completing a Supplemental Accommodation Request. An additional accommodation may be needed when a student’s disability or medical condition changes over time, or when a new course presents unique accessibility barriers or challenges. Complete a Supplemental Accommodation Request through the MyWeingartenCenter student portal.

Testing Accommodations

Students who are approved for test-taking accommodations should speak with their course instructor early in the semester about how to handle these accommodations. Some course instructors prefer to arrange a place and time to give their exams with accommodations themselves. In many cases, it is preferable for the student to test through Disability Services. 

Students who wish to take their accommodated tests through Disability Services must schedule each quiz, test, or exam at least eight days in advance through the MyWeingartenCenter student portal. All tests proctored through Disability Services will take place in the BioTech Commons (3610 Hamilton Walk). The Weingarten Center testing room is located one floor down from the main entrance on the blue level.

Disability Services posts drop-in hours for test-scheduling assistance and questions in the Weingarten Center (220 South 40th St., Suite 260) near the beginning of each semester.

Contact Testing Services with additional questions.

Note: Students in Penn Law, Penn Dental, Penn Vet, Perelman School of Medicine, MCIT Online, or Wharton MBA programs should make all arrangements for test accommodations with their School’s Disability Services liaison.

Note-Taking Accommodations

Students who are approved for note-taking accommodations have some options to choose from. Note-taking technology affords students more independence and control over their own notes and eliminates the wait time associated with peer notes. Students may schedule an appointment with the Assistive Technology Specialist for a demonstration of these new tools to decide if they are a good fit.

smart pen is a device that makes an audio recording and syncs the recording with notes you write on paper. After class, instead of playing back the entire recording, you can click on a note that you wrote down and listen to the audio recording from the exact moment that you took that note. This is especially helpful if you lose focus or struggle to keep up with the pace of lecture. You can supplement any gaps in your notes later by replaying portions of the recording. OneNote and Notability are similar to a smart pen but use typed notes instead of hand-written notes to sync with the recording. Office 365, which includes OneNote, is available for Penn students to download, while Notability has a small cost.

Students who have a peer note-taker will receive a copy of a classmate’s notes through the MyWeingartenCenter student portal. Disability Services will recruit and hire a note taker, beginning after the student completes their Semester Request. The process can take several weeks to complete.

Students may ask their course instructor if they could make instructional materials available through Canvas.

Sign Language Interpreting and Real-Time Transcription

Students who are approved for sign language interpreting or real-time transcription for communication access will receive these services through Disability Services. Disability Services staff will request the student’s class schedule at least one month in advance of the start of each semester and find coverage for each class meeting through one of the university-approved agencies. Requests for one-time events that require sign language interpreting or real-time transcription for a student can be directed to the Disability Services email account.  

More information about the university’s guidelines for communication access can be found on the Web Accessibility website.