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Choosing a College/University

Choosing a college/university can be daunting. Should you base your decision on the best program for what you want to study, where the school is, where your friends are going, or the school’s amenities and extracurricular activities? While you don’t need to make the process any harder, you might want to start putting some thought into your decision.

Check below for some things to consider when choosing a school.

Distance From Medical Care Providers

You have many options for your education. You can choose to go to a school close to home or far away. You can start at a community college close to your home and health care providers and later transfer to a school that is farther away if you choose to.

Consider the school’s distance from a Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC), hospital, and other medical and pharmacy services. If you will be using a new treatment center, most HTCs have referral resources and other services to help ease the transition.

Quality of the Campus Health Center

As you tour potential schools, visit the campus health center and ask questions to be sure you’re comfortable with the quality of its staff and services. Also, check if the school offers any emergency health services.

If you do not self-infuse, find out:

  • The health center hours.
  • If they have staff members capable of performing infusions.
  • If they will store your factor and supplies.
Having medical help easily accessible on campus may help determine your school selection.

Campus Layout

Consider the size and layout of the campus.

  • How far are the classes from the dorm rooms?
  • What are the transportation options? Is there a shuttle to carry students between classes or must you walk? It’s especially important to have an idea of the amount of walking you will do if you are susceptible to knee or ankle bleeds.

Check out how accessible the various campus facilities, including dorms, classrooms, and library are. For example, you may need easy access to buildings if you sustain an injury while in school. Buildings constructed or renovated after June 3, 1977, have to meet accessibility requirements set out by Section 504, and after January 26, 1992, by the Americans with Disabilities Act. These acts require that all programs within these buildings provide easy access, and that new construction must be built to accommodate all persons with disabilities. However, sometimes schools are limited in their budgets and buildings may not always follow the code.

Housing Options and Residential Life

If you’ll be living on campus, find out where the dorms are located. If any are located near the health services center, you may want to ask if you can live there.

If you self-infuse, find out if you can have a refrigerator in your room to store factor and supplies.

The school’s Office of Disability Services will be a good resource for answers to these questions. Once you arrive at school, they will be able to help make any special arrangements you need. The Office of Residential Life may also be able to help you gather information on your housing options.

If you live in a dormitory, you’ll probably have a resident advisor (also called an RA) who is responsible for providing guidance, advice, and supervision to students in the building. Typically RAs are older students. Your RA might be someone with whom you can confide about any difficulties you are having, including those related to your bleeding disorder.

In addition to talking to the staff at the Office of Disability Services and the Office of Residential Life about self-infusing and asking any other bleeding disorder–related questions, you may want to find out what types of rooms are available at the school. The rooms may be singles or doubles, in a hall, or part of a suite. If you’re not comfortable sharing a room, you may want to find out what options you have. Whether or not you have a roommate, you may want to tell your RA about your bleeding disorder in case you need assistance.

For more information on telling others about your bleeding disorder, go to Disclosure and Life on Campus.


What resources does the Office of Disability Services provide? For example, the office staff can help you arrange to make up a test or assignment you missed for health reasons, take a class online if you can’t physically attend, or schedule a lighter course load.

It also may be a good idea to speak to current students with bleeding disorders or students who require similar health accommodations from the school.


Attending colleges and technical/vocational schools can be very expensive. Costs often include tuition, fees, books and supplies, room and board, health insurance, transportation, and spending money. You can help cover these costs by applying for financial aid and other outside funding, such as scholarships. Some financial aid offices can help direct your funding search. Check out the scholarships available specifically for students with disabilities.

For more information about special scholarships, go to Academic Scholarships for Students With Bleeding Disorders.

Insurance Considerations

As you may already know, health care for people with bleeding disorders can be very costly. Until now, your parents may have been financially responsible for your health care needs. However, as you get older, health insurance provisions may change. Often, some type of personal change—whether in school status or work—creates the need for a change or modification in health insurance.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does your family’s health insurance cover you on campus?
  • Is health insurance available for students?
    • Is it required?
  • What does it cover?
    • Medications?
    • Blood work and visits with nurses?
    • Procedures?

Usually colleges offer student health insurance plans that cost less than private policies. Be aware that not all the costs associated with your treatment will be covered by your school’s plan. Make a list of your medical needs and call to see what’s covered and what’s not.

If your parents have health insurance, you may be covered by their policy. The recent Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance companies allow kids to stay on a parent’s plan until age 26. Check with your parents or their insurance provider about the cost. If you’re eligible for coverage under both your school and your parent’s policies, you can compare them and choose the best plan for you.

Recreation Center/Fitness Facilities and Sport

Playing sports at school is a good way to get involved in campus life and meet people. Of course, it’s a great way to keep muscles and joints in good shape. Choose sports and activities that won’t hurt your body now or cause problems in the future. Play safe by using protective gear and doing stretching and strengthening exercises.

See what sports and physical education options the school offers. Are there physical education (PE) class requirements? According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, campus recreation facilities must be accessible.

For more information about safe sports and activities, go to Playing it Safe.


If your joints ache when it rains you may not want to choose a school in the Pacific Northwest; if you melt in the heat you may not want to choose a school in the South. These are just a couple of examples of why you should consider the regional climate of the school’s location and your body’s reaction to different types of weather.