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 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? 


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: Transfer Journey – Community College

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. 

The transfer process was an immensely enlightening project that allowed me a chance to seriously consider my academic interests for the first time. Before my application to USC as a second-year transfer student, I applied to other colleges for freshman year admission, but the process was very haphazard. My mindset departed very little from the immature notion that college was a mere step towards a generalized ideal life path. While I received offers from several colleges with scholarships, my own uncertainty and doubt prevented me from ascertaining a sense of direction at any of the universities that admitted me. The year in community college where I took GE (General Education) courses and did my best to correspond my coursework with the guidelines laid out by USC gave me a needed boost of discipline, rigor, and confidence to confront the overwhelming question of, “what I want to do in college?”  Going into the application process with a much-needed sensible approach, I was able to truly envision myself at USC. With USC’s research focus, I realized the institution could allow me to continue my search for the greater truths within my academic interest. In many ways, students are scared to research their colleges in fear that research would reveal truths that shatter their idealistic illusion of college; but my maturation in community college has allowed me to shake away this unfounded fear. I applied to USC not because I became enchanted by their football games or culture, but because I developed a liking to their research focus in the realm of my historical interest and their generous financial aid. 

Overall, the process went without many issues. I attended a community college that had a Articulation Agreement with USC, so I was able to gain necessary counseling and advice through both in-house community college advisors and email communication my USC Admission Counselor. However, I must stress this notion that it is very much a necessity for you to do individual research on USC; there is plenty of available and accurate information on the USC website. While the act of talking and confirming with knowledgeable people is an amazing tool to fully understand whether USC is the right institution for your goals, please conduct your careful research of the school. 

Written by Tae Jin Suh (he/him/his), 4th year student majoring in History, transferred from El Camino College  

Transfer Talk Tuesday: Transfer Journey – Out of State 

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. 

Hi! My name is Kamilah. I transferred from a large state school across the country to the University of Southern California. I am a Transfer Ambassador for the 2021-2022 school year and a third-year transfer student studying Business Administration (likely to emphasize in Leadership and Innovation).  

Part One: Headed to USC…just kidding…unless | The Transfer Journey 

My journey to USC started in 2019 when I received the QuestBridge scholarship during my senior year of high school. If you are unfamiliar with QuestBridge, they are an organization that seeks to connect “high performing, low-income students with prestigious universities.” There were 16,248 people who applied for the honor and 1,044 were chosen to receive it – myself being one of them. Receiving this honor also meant that I had received a ‘full-ride’ for college. I was beyond honored to get this award. I remember the elation of myself and everyone around me who had helped me get to that point in my life. A full-ride to college had been my goal for the past four years, but finally attaining it became…bittersweet. My joy began to transition to anxiousness as I looked up and down the list of 40-something schools but didn’t feel truly called to any of them. To make a long story short, I am the kind of person who doesn’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. In the end, I basically voided my scholarship and traded the prospect of a full-ride to go to my local state university.  

I know. You’re thinking, “are you insane?” Everyone around me thought the same, and many didn’t hold back on letting me know it.  

Circling back, it was a few days after we had to submit our college decisions for QuestBridge when I realized there was a school on the list I had never seen before: the University of Southern California. How did I miss this? I had scrolled through that list some 50 times and I had never seen USC. I began researching it and I realized this is what I had been looking for. It checked off literally every box I had for the college I wanted to attend. I hurriedly looked up the USC application deadline and saw it was only a few days away. I scrambled together the best app I could over those next 72 hours, but, ultimately I was denied admission that year. I loved my state university, so although I was sad about USC, I moved forward. What’s meant to be will be, I thought.  

A while later, I learned about USC’s transferring options and I was excited but again anxious. I was beginning to no longer feel like my previous university was right for me anymore. I thought “What if I get rejected (again)? USC is very expensive; how can I afford it without QuestBridge? How will I afford to get across the country multiple times a year?” and many more doubts. I had so many worries – so many that I almost didn’t even turn in my application. If not for the encouraging words from my USC Admission Counselor, I probably wouldn’t even be here. Fast forward, I was accepted to USC a few months later during the summer after my Freshman year. I am currently in my third year and I am now on campus.  

Part Two: Wait, y’all have airports in Tennessee? You don’t travel on Horse-back? | Being an Out-of-State Student 

I grew up in Chattanooga: the third largest city in Tennessee, but nothing compared to the size and diversity of LA. If you’re like me, and you’re from a city that is not LA or NYC, you may get the odd “do y’all still use candle-lit lanterns for streetlights” type of statements. Such comments are few and far between (and often harmless), but if I do get them I just quickly let them know that “I do read by candlelight, but only for the aesthetic” and move on. The point of this is to tell you much of what is in LA is also back home, and vice versa. It may be one concern for people moving from one city to LA, especially if those cities’ cultures are vastly different. Of course there are some places special to you and your town (i.e. mine and my friends’ beloved pizza place called Mellow Mushroom). However, I also have a beloved pizza place here in LA –  Blaze (my friends here love it too).  

As a Transfer Ambassador, I hear that many transfer students worry about adjusting socially. My advice is to just be you and do you- that’s how you will find your people. There are so many types of people here, don’t worry about fitting one mold or another.  

Another concern may be travel time and airfare costs. Personally, there is little we can do to mitigate travel time unless teleportation becomes real. Until then, you’ll just have to carve out a day or two to travel. For me, the time I spend traveling to and from school to home is about 12 hours, only about 6 are spent in the air. It is honestly very tiring, so I recommend you give yourself a day or two to get adjusted – especially if you’re crossing time zones. Regarding cost, I try to buy my tickets as early as possible so that I can get a good price on airfare. I recommended not booking your flight until the day after the USC academic calendar ends. This will help you mitigate any ‘take-my-final-exam-or-fly-home’ conflicts in case anything happens that you did not foresee. This will also give you more time to pack!   

Part Three: Fight On | My conclusion + advice to future Trojans 

Many places like to talk about their ‘school spirit,’ but the Trojan spirit and family are some of the most formidable ones I’ve ever seen. I feel very welcomed and proud to be a Trojan. Trojan alumni truly want to see you win and USC puts so much effort in crafting us into well-rounded, supported individuals upon graduation. I feel like there is no tool available that USC doesn’t offer.  

Even while dealing with a global pandemic, I am glad that I took the leap of faith and  transferred to USC. The 12 hours of flight time is worth it, 10 times over. I would fly 24 hours straight if it meant that when I touched down, I got to be a Trojan. 

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