I am a

Back to blog home

Rolling into University: Essential Tips for Wheelchair Users

By: Elena Brake

Preparing for university or college is an exciting time with so many positive things to look forward to. However, if you are a wheelchair user, like me, you might be a little worried about how you will settle in. Today I am pleased to share some of my biggest tips for students with disabilities to help you roll into your new university or college life with confidence. Some of these tips might also apply to you if you have a visible or invisible disability or long-term health condition that is likely to impact your studies in some way, even if you don’t use a wheelchair.


  1. Plan a Campus Visit:

Visiting the campus ahead of time allows you to familiarise yourself with the layout, accessible pathways, ramps, and entrances to buildings. It’s a good idea to locate the accessible parking, toilets, lifts and the key locations of the things you’re likely to need. If you find that there are any problems, you can raise these early so that things can be resolved by the time you start. I also found that by doing this I was able to find little shortcuts and smoother paths to make moving around on campus feel more comfortable.

You can usually plan your campus visit by contacting the university or college directly. They might be able to give you a personalised tour with a focus on accessible routes. Alternatively, you could look out for open days, or simply look to see whether any parts of the campus can be accessed any time; some universities or colleges have large sections of their campus open to the public.

  1. Get in touch with Disability Services:

Most universities offer disability services to support students with diverse needs. I really recommend taking advantage of these resources by connecting with the disability services office before you arrive on campus. They can provide valuable information, assistance with accommodations, and connect you with relevant campus resources to enhance your overall experience. Getting to know the people who are there to support you will give you a huge advantage. If you ever run into problems later in your university or college experience, you’ll know how to contact them. The disability team at my university have helped me with all kinds of issues, and are always kind and friendly.

  1. Advocate for Yourself:

As a wheelchair user, it’s essential to learn how to advocate for your needs and communicate any specific accommodations you may require. Whether it’s accessible seating in classrooms or problems with lifts or doors, don’t hesitate to speak up and ensure your needs are met. Remember, self-advocacy is empowering and instrumental in creating an inclusive environment for all students, so the more people who speak up about their needs, the better the university experience for everyone! This important skill will also help you in your future career, and will give you so much more confidence in ensuring you have everything you need to achieve your potential.

  1. Look for Support Networks:

Finding a support network of peers and staff can enhance your university experience. Connect with other wheelchair users or disability support groups on campus to share experiences, tips, and resources. Building these connections creates a sense of community and solidarity, ensuring you feel supported and included throughout your academic journey.

  1. Embrace Campus Life:

University is more than just academics—it’s a vibrant community bustling with extracurricular activities, clubs, and events. Get involved in campus life by joining student organisations, attending social gatherings, and exploring recreational opportunities. By immersing yourself in campus culture, you’ll forge lasting friendships, expand your horizons, and create cherished memories.

In conclusion, navigating university as a wheelchair user requires just a little more planning, self-advocacy, and a positive mindset. So, by following these tips and embracing the journey with confidence, you’ll embark on a transformative experience filled with growth, learning, and endless possibilities. Remember, your university experience starts now—embrace it wholeheartedly and make the most of every moment!

nav close Created with Sketch.

Sign up for updates

…for relevant info and news
straight to your inbox.

Sign me up