Office of Student Accessibility Services (OSAS)

Happy Summer! We hope you are enjoying a well-deserved break and are getting excited for the upcoming academic year! In this week’s blog post, we are highlighting our Office of Student Accessibility Services (OSAS). Whether you are a new or returning Trojan, OSAS is here to provide accommodations to help students with disabilities thrive both in and out of the classroom. 

The purpose and practice of OSAS are to ensure equal access for Trojans with disabilities in compliance with state and federal law. OSAS serves all students in credit-granting courses and programs of study – undergraduate, graduate, and professional; on-campus and on-line. In addition to providing equal access, their mission is to meet the needs of our students, remove disability-related barriers, support civil rights, and raise awareness on behalf of students with disabilities. OSAS provides a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all of the Trojan Family. 

We reached out to Madison Shaw, OSAS’s Assistant Director of Policy, Programming & Evaluation, who answered our questions about how students can receive accommodations and how OSAS continues to work with students and the rest of the Trojan community: 

How easy is it for students to get the services and accommodations they need? 

“We try to make our accommodation review process as easy and streamlined as possible. Students can also reach out to us to speak with a staff member if they have questions. Here is a little insight to our registration process:  

  1. Begin by telling us about you. Please complete the Online Student Application. Help us get to know you by answering each field as thoroughly as possibly. 
  1. Provide documentation. After you click the “Submit Application” button, you will be directed to a second screen where you will be invited to upload any supporting disability-related documentation. 
  1. Meet with your OSAS Specialist. We like to make sure we have a full picture of you and your experiences as a student. Your OSAS Specialist will generally reach out as part of this connection process, and schedule a time to meet with you in-person or via phone or virtual/video meeting.” 

[You can visit https://osas.usc.edu/ for more detailed information on the application process, providing documentation, and meeting with your OSAS Specialist] 

How are students assigned to OSAS staff? 

“Students can be assigned to any Specialist—the only exception is if they are Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) or Blind/Low Vision (BLV). The DHH and BLV services require a little more complex coordination so we typically have those students work with the Specialist in that area.” 

How much contact throughout the year do students have with OSAS? 

“It depends! Some students only contact us to register and initiate services. Other students may need more regular check-ins. We’re happy to be in contact with students as much or as little as they would like.” 

Are these accommodations free to students? 

“Yes!” 

How involved with OSAS are the faculty members? 

“OSAS frequently collaborates with faculty to support students with disabilities. We often receive outreach from faculty with questions about specific accommodations and regularly present to different academic programs. It is extremely important for us to have a strong relationship with faculty so we can work together to support our students.” 

What’s your favorite part about working for OSAS? 

“The OSAS team is truly dedicated to supporting our students—I love working in an office with a shared goal of increasing accessibility and awareness for students with disabilities. I have been fortunate to work with some truly spectacular USC students. Many of them still keep in touch, and I love receiving updates about their lives and accomplishments after they have graduated.” 



Transfer Talk Tuesday: Campus Resources

Transfer Talk Tuesdays are a series of personal blogs where current USC transfer students dive deeper into their real-life stories, perspectives, and experiences in transferring to USC. Note that each transfer application is unique and there are no guaranteed paths to transfer. For guidance on how to put together a competitive transfer application, please review our Transferring to USC brochure. 

Jacqueline (Jackie) Lutz-Hibbard is a junior Biochemistry major from Pasadena, CA. In 2020, she transferred from a small liberal arts college on the east coast to USC. Jackie is on the pre-health track and is a research assistant for multiple studies at USC’s Health, Emotions, and Addiction Laboratory. She is involved in student clubs, ranging from book clubs to clubs which promote health education.  

Transferring to USC felt quite daunting at first. I moved from a tiny college on the east coast smaller than my high school, to USC, which at first felt like a metropolis. As transfer students, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and lost socially as well as academically. However, once I arrived, it was like a new world had opened up to me –  I was able to dive right into campus life. The good news is that USC offers numerous resources, honestly too many to list. USC truly supports its students in every aspect of life –  job/career opportunities, academic support, and social and cultural support.  

Academically, there are many programs set in place to support students. My favorite resource available here is Supplemental Instruction, or SI, which is an academic support program for difficult classes. SI is where students who have taken and passed specific classes  run study sessions and offer academic support. These are great opportunities to review the material in a more casual setting as opposed to lectures, and I think is one of the main reasons why I passed my organic chemistry class! There are other tutoring options such as the Writing Center or the Math Center, which offer one-on-one feedback and support for classes or other projects.  

Something I was anxious about when starting USC was how to get accommodations for my disability. At my previous college, I gave up on getting accommodations after the first semester because of how difficult the process was. However, at USC it couldn’t have been easier. Accommodations are run through the Office of Student Accessibility Services (OSAS), and the process (which is entirely online) took about 10 minutes on my end. Beyond testing and course accommodations, OSAS offers other personalized support to students with disabilities.  

As someone on the pre-med track planning on applying to medical school, there are a lot of ins and outs that can make the process overwhelming. USC offers specific resources such as the Office of Pre-Health Advisement and the Office of Pre-Law Advisement, as well as assistance for continuing education and pre-graduate students; offering students advisement, support, opportunities, workshops, and mentorship. Exciting events and academic talks are offered constantly throughout the year, with the chance to see and speak with leaders in many prospective fields.  

College is not just about academics and the transition can be hard for students, both physically and mentally. USC offers general medical care, as well as mental health programs including counseling, group or individual sessions, and also hosts wellness events.  

USC has numerous cultural and support centers on campus that host events, offer support, and have student lounges for identifying students to study, relax, or hang out with friends in specially designated spaces. Student cultural centers include the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs (CBCSA), Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS), and Latinx/Chicanx Center and Advocacy for Student Affairs (La CASA). Other groups include the First Generation+ Success Center, which offers resources including mentorship for first-generation, undocumented, transfer, and former foster youth students. Additional support centers are the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and the Veterans Resource Center.  

Finally, here are some fun, honorable mentions I wanted to highlight!  

USC Special Collections is in my opinion one of the coolest and most unique resources available at USC. Special Collections at USC is a department of the library which holds and cares for rare and historical books, manuscripts, archives, and historical photographs. This resource is available to all students, and one of my favorite memories at USC was being able to hold and flip through the pages of a book of maps from the 1700s!  

Another great USC resource is USC Visions and Voices, an arts initiative that hosts events to help all students regardless of major become engaged with the LA community and arts as a whole, which even includes taking students to plays and musicals in the LA area.     

Starting at a new school is nerve wracking for everyone, and being a transfer student can add  even more pressure. USC provides plenty of services and programs to help, transfer and first-years alike, successfully acclimate and welcome them into the Trojan family.  

Written by Jacqueline (Jackie) Lutz-Hibbard, a 3rd year majoring in Biochemistry



Transfer Talk Tuesday: How to Get Involved on Campus 

Transfer Talk Tuesdays are a series of personal blogs where current USC transfer students dive deeper into their real-life stories, perspectives, and experiences in transferring to USC. Note that each transfer application is unique and there are no guaranteed paths to transfer. For guidance on how to put together a competitive transfer application, please review our Transferring to USC brochure. 

My name is Nyah Gaitan and I am a junior transfer student from Glendale Community College majoring in Business Administration. As a transfer, finding my place at USC was one of my greatest worries. 

Spending my first two years at a community college made me concerned about how I would be able to catch up on the two years I would have missed as a freshman and sophomore at USC. Those two years are typically crucial for forming relationships with other students and the school itself. I had already established a group of friends, relationships with professors, and comfort in my community college. Thinking about doing it again as a transfer student only heightened my anxiety. I knew that it would take work and getting out of my comfort zone.  

Something really special about USC is that the school and the people that attend USC value the Trojan Family. From the very first moment I stepped onto campus, there was a lot going on. There were so many opportunities to meet new people, along with events made specifically for transfer students. After attending a transfer event myself, I began to realize that I am not alone in this process. There are thousands of other transfer students who are in my exact position, and all were Trojan Family members themselves. It’s hard. Meeting new people and finding my place in this new world was not easy, but there were an infinite amount of opportunities the community provided me.  

I am now a part of the Transfer Ambassador Program, the Special Events Committee, Marshall Business Student Government, and am a Marketing intern with USC Athletics. All of the activities I am a part of are related to my personal and professional interests.  There is quite literally something for everybody at USC, whether it’s student-led clubs, established organizations, or career opportunities, there are opportunities for growth everywhere. All of which can be found here: https://campusactivities.usc.edu/organizations/ 

I got involved not only to meet new people, but to also develop my passions in my major. For every academic school/college within USC, there are events being held for professional development; such as resume reviews and networking events with experienced industry professionals. It is extremely motivating and rewarding to be around other passionate students when given the opportunity. Apart from the vast variety of educational resources, USC has fun events going on every day. To take a look at some of the many events that go on around campus, take a look at the USC calendar: https://calendar.usc.edu/. From gamedays at the Coliseum and Galen Center to concerts in McCarthy Quad, there is never a dull moment at USC. 

I will not lie, the first few weeks at USC were challenging. It was difficult imagining that I would find a place in a school that was four times larger than my local community college. Your years at a university are a time for growth and development socially, professionally, and personally. Challenges are inevitable, but taking on the opportunities USC provides makes that struggle worth it. 

Written by Nyah Gaitan, (she/her/hers), 3rd year at USC studying Business Administration.