Frequently Asked Questions

What is a disability?

A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual.

  • Major Life Activities The phrase major life activities refers to normal functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
  • Physical Impairment:  A physical impairment includes any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following bodily systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory and speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine.
  • Mental Impairment:  A mental impairment includes any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
  • Learning Disabilities:  A learning disability is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities.  These disorders occur in persons of average to very superior intelligence.

I have a disability, how will this affect my application and the admissions process?

The University will make admission decisions using criteria, which do not consider an individual's disability. Thus, the University will not impose or apply admission or eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out individuals on the basis of their disability, unless such criteria is necessary for the provision of the program, service or activity being offered. The University believes that this carries out the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Students with disabilities desiring to enroll in any program, service or activity of Pepperdine University must be able to meet the minimal standards of both the University and the particular school, program, service, or activity to which admission is sought.

The University does not engage in any affirmative action programs for students with disabilities, nor does it consider a student's disability in evaluating admission criteria. It is, of course, within the student's discretion to inform the Admissions Committee of a disability if they wish. If this choice is made, the University will not discriminate against the student on the basis of the disability and will make reasonable accommodations when necessary.

I've been accepted at Pepperdine, and I have a disability… how do I receive accommodations?

Students with disabilities have the responsibility of contacting the DSO as soon as possible after they have filed their intent to enroll with the University.  A staff member will assist you in putting together a disability related documentation packet for review, see "Guidelines for Disability Documentation", and will set up an intake interview for you with the director in order to assess your needs.  Your documentation should be sent to the DSO either by fax or by regular mail as soon as possible before your first semester of enrollment at Pepperdine.  Accommodations will not be granted until the DSO director has reviewed your documentation and approved reasonable and appropriate accommodations.  You should not assume that the University knows any information about your disability because you chose to include it in your application for admission.  If you do not have documentation, or if your documentation is insufficient, a DSO staff member can refer you to an appropriate professional for evaluation.

I have turned in all of the documentation that Pepperdine requires … what happens next?

When the director has completed your documentation review and has determined that your disability has a current functional impact on your academic work or your participation in Pepperdine's programs, he/she will work with you to determine what accommodations are reasonable and appropriate for you.  The DSO staff will also assist you with the necessary paperwork required to request services.

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