Breaking down barriers to college success for students with visual impairments

Compass, by College Success @ Perkins, is a virtual program that helps blind and visually impaired post-secondary students develop critical skills.

A mini graduation cap on a red book.

The majority of college students with visual impairments don’t graduate.

The reasons are complex, but one thing is clear: students with visual impairments need to build additional skills in order to succeed in college. They need to be taught a range of software and technologies, just like their sighted peers. They need strong social skills, so they can effectively self-advocate. And they need to be able to do their academic work independently, something that can get overlooked in high school.

Often, teens with visual impairments and their families may aspire to college without a full understanding of just how big the leap is from a supported high school experience to the independence assumed in college.

We’re tackling this challenge at a national level, with Compass, an innovative program from College Success @ Perkins.

Preparing teens with visual impairments for college and career success

Compass is a holistic program that helps students identify a path to success, and create a plan to get there together with their family and teachers. The program purposefully includes families and teachers, so they can work alongside the student in a fully coordinated effort to support their goals. Robust monthly workshops create opportunities for more shared learning, with a side of socializing, building a lasting community of support and friendship.


Check out college and career readiness tips, student stories and more from Compass on YouTube.

Creating equal opportunities for students who are blind and visually impaired

Compass is delivered entirely virtually so that we can maximize our impact and reach students nationwide, ensuring they get access to the guidance they need to thrive. Right now, kids who are visually impaired just aren’t given access to the right tools and skills to prepare for success after high school. Compass is about leveling the playing field, and creating the same opportunities for these students as their sighted peers. We know kids and their families need the kind of support Compass offers. We hear it from them every day. And we’re here to help them break through these stubborn barriers.


Why we don’t have a “list of colleges for students with visual impairments”


Accommodations beyond academics: Housing and dining


Access to student information in college: FERPA, HIPAA, releasing information, and legal documents