Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Silmser, Lisa

Second Reader

Charles Strand;


This literature review examines studies that investigated and evaluated the relationship between self-advocacy and college program completion in postsecondary students with disabilities. Research was reviewed that used school-aged participants with disabilities, postsecondary-aged students with disabilities, high school faculty, postsecondary faculty, parents of the students with disabilities, and two and 4-year college Disabilities Services staff. Many factors are involved in why students with disabilities tend not to self-advocate for themselves or ask for support or assistance in secondary and postsecondary educational institutions. Inversely, some motivators promote students’ self-advocacy decisions, which has sparked interest in this area of study. The studies reviewed showed a positive relationship between self-advocating and college graduation. Student participants of the studies showed a significant increase in college completion when reporting they had registered with their two or 4-year college’s disability services office, requested eligible accommodations, asked questions on learning content, and asked for support and assistance. Effective transitional services that offer the skills needed for self-advocacy development during high school is key to building confidence in obtaining postsecondary support and requesting assistance. Student involvement in their IEP meetings and IEPs has also been attributed to a higher rate of requesting accommodations and college success. Students who receive proper quality self-advocacy practice, with their IEP development and meetings, and are informed of their eligibility for support will prepare them with the tools needed to complete their college programs efficiently.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis