Registering with OARS
Please review this page carefully for detailed instructions on registering with the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services (OARS) to determine what supports, services, and accommodations you may be eligible for during your Hampshire College education.
OARS is committed to identifying and reducing barriers to create equal access to campus activities, spaces, and programs. We look forward to the chance to work with you, and encourage you to reach out to OARS staff if you need support navigating the registration process.
How to Register for Accommodations
To be considered for disability-related accommodations, you need to follow these steps:
- Submit Self-Report: If you are registering with OARS for the first time, completing our secure registration form enables you to tell us more about yourself, the barriers you are currently facing or have faced in the past, your history of accommodations, and the accommodations you would like to request.
- This form serves as a starting point from which to reflect on your strengths, successes, barriers, and challenges; what's worked and what hasn't.
- If you'd prefer to review these questions in person, verbally or otherwise, you can do so by scheduling a meeting with OARS staff anytime!
- Supporting Documentation: Every student must work with a professional care provider to complete a Supporting Documentation Form for Care Providers or equivalent documentation of disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. You can submit one of the two forms below, or if you have any documentation verifying your diagnosis and functional limitations, you may submit that instead.
You can submit documentation with your self-report via the registration form (recommended), fax it to us at 413.559.5481, or mail it to us at Hampshire College OARS, 893 West ST. Amherst, MA 01002. If you or your provider have questions, refer to our Documentation Guidelines (PDF).
- Review or make Additional Requests on the OARS Portal: Once you complete the registration form or if you have previously registered with the OARS office, you will be able to log in to the secure OARS Portal to review your case. From there, you can view approved accommodations, make any additional accommodation requests, upload required documentation, and submit Semester Request forms to apply your academic accommodations to your classes.
- One-on-One Appointment (Optional): Once your file is complete for review, you will be notified via email of your accommodations. You can reply to this email to schedule an intake appointment (usually lasting 1 hour) in which you would meet with an OARS staff member to discuss your accommodations and support recommendations. Here you will have a chance to ask any questions about your documentation and why accommodations were approved or denied, and to explore and understand any other support services available at Hampshire.
If you are entering the Hampshire College community in the fall or spring, we recommend that you send in your request and documentation in the summer or winter using our OARS Registration form, or by logging into the OARS Portal once registered. This allows accessibility services staff to review your case with enough time to ensure your accommodations are in place on the first day of classes. Please note that housing accommodations requests for entering students have earlier deadlines, and are subject to availability after that date.
Students can, however, register with OARS at any point during their academic careers. Once approved, the OARS staff will support your advocacy around implementing these accommodations. Please review our detailed registration instructions and FAQs for more information about types of accommodations and how to register with OARS.
Once approved for accommodations, you are entitled to those accommodations throughout the Five College Consortium and throughout your time at Hampshire. The circumstances in which this might not be true would be if you take substantial time off, if your accommodations are initially approved on a temporary basis, or if your disability and/or functional limitation changes.
Once the registration process is complete (you have turned in a self-report and medical documentation) you will receive a letter from OARS via your Hampshire College email outlining the accommodations that you have been approved for, and you will review your approved accommodations on the OARS Portal.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the approved accommodations, check-in with an OARS staff member. These are the accommodations that will be listed in your academic, housing, dining, or ESA accommodation letter.
Students may request accommodations related to academics at any point in their academic career.
Academic accommodations relate primarily to:
- In-class accommodations related to how one receives, captures, and processes information or expresses ideas and conveys understanding.
- Exam-based accommodations, primarily applicable to Five College classes as Hampshire has few exams.
- Modifications applying to work outside of class
- Assistive Technology
How do I receive my academic accommodations once approved?
Once approved for academic and exam-based accommodations through the OARS registration process, there is a two part process for applying your accommodations to your classes at Hampshire - the Semester Request form on the OARS Portal, followed by participating in the Interactive Process with each professor and your academic advisor as needed.
Semester Request Form on the OARS Portal:
- Students are responsible for completing the Semester Request form on the OARS portal each semester to apply approved academic accommodations to each of their classes.
- You have the choice about which accommodations you need in each class and which you’d like to share with your academic advisor.
- OARS strongly recommends submitting your Semester Request form as soon as your schedule is finalized, or by the end of the add/drop period.
- As you choose when to share and what to include, please remember that accommodations are not retroactive.
- Once you complete the Semester Request form, your professor will be able to review what you sent on their OARS portal account.
- The next step is to schedule a meeting to communicate about your accommodations with each professor. Together, you will discuss a plan in more detail for how your accommodations will apply to their particular class.
- This is called the Interactive Process, and is key to meeting your access needs in college
Five College Classes
Hampshire students taking Five College Courses
Hampshire College students that are enrolled in a Five College course and would like to receive accommodations must fill out the Request for Five College Accommodations Form and upload this to your OARS Portal account. Once your form is received by OARS the director reaches out to staff from the Five College Access Offices. In turn the Five College Access Offices will send out their accommodation form to their faulty and/or departments. Secondly, you are now allotted the services of the Accessibility Office on the campus you are attending. We recommend reaching out directly to the Disability / Accessibility Services office on the other campus to establish contact during semesters where you are taking one or more classes.
Five College Students taking Courses at Hampshire
Any Five College student with a disability enrolled in a Hampshire College course is expected to turn their Five College Accommodation Request Form to OARS via email at email@example.com. You may need to meet briefly with a member of the OARS staff to process your accommodation forms and learn how accommodations are implemented at Hampshire. Please contact OARS at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name, student ID, home campus and availability to meet remotely. OARS staff will discuss your accommodation and send accommodation forms to instructors and contact any other relevant departments.
You can start the housing accommodation process by requesting changes through the Office of Residence Life. If that change requires formal accommodations, you will be asked to register with us through the above process. Once you have registered with us, we will send your housing accommodation letter to the Office of Residence Life, who will set you up with compatible living arrangements as soon as possible.
If you are in need of accommodations based on a short-term illness or injury, please utilize the disclosure process above and see our Temporary Accommodation Page for more information.
The decision to disclose a disability to the College is wholly voluntary. You may not, however, receive an accommodation from the College without such disclosure and providing appropriate supporting information and documentation. The information provided by you will be treated as confidential and will be disclosed by the College only as necessary for it to assess or implement your requested services or accommodations. Students are legally considered to be adults. Communication of confidential information with parents or professionals regarding disabilities must be authorized by the student.