Letters to Professors
Once your registration has been finalized, you should request a digital letter of what we call “Letters to Professors.” This letter performs the role of disclosure: they notify your professors that you are registered with Disability Support Services and that you are entitled to the accommodations for which DSS has deemed you eligible. You may only request this letter if you are registered with Disability Support Services and have been deemed eligible for academic disability accommodations.
Request a Digital Letter to Professors for the Semester
It's our policy for all students who have approved accommodations to request a digital Letter to Professors at the start of each semester. Your professors are not under any obligation to meet a request for accommodations without first receiving your letter from DSS, so we recommend that you submit your request for as soon as possible. We will email, to your GW email address, your digital PDF-formatted letter, which you can choose to forward directly to your professors or print-out to share during office hours. This process takes approximately 48 hours in total, so please be mindful of your own deadlines when placing your requests.
As your professors change from term to term, it is vital that you request a new and current digital letter for each semester of your academic career. You should not use any letters provided from previous semesters for current classes; even if they are for the same accommodations or given to a professor you previously worked with, they will not be obligated to any requests for accommodations if your letter is not up-to-date.
Confidentiality and Self-Advocacy
Though your letter does reveal your DSS registration, it still protects the confidentiality of your documentation and your specific disability status. You are not required to disclose the specific diagnosis of disability that makes you eligible for an accommodation. Only in select circumstances—and only with your approval—will DSS reveal any confidential information to faculty or any other parties.
Therefore, we encourage you to think of this letter as a kind of self-advocacy. By providing your letter to your professors, you are advocating for the implementation of the accommodations that facilitate your work at the university.
At the same time, we expect that you will respect your professors’ schedules and will provide your letter as soon as you receive it. If you need further assistance with disclosing your DSS registration, please contact the Office of Disability Support Services.