The Student Room Group

applying for dsa

update: i’ve applied for DSA, now i’m waiting for my gp to send back the evidence form. after that, i just need to wait for my needs assessment. thanks for the help, i’ll probably have more questions so i’ll still post on here.

hi everyone. i’ve just finished my a levels and year 13, and am going to university in september. i’ve been approved for both tuition & maintenance loans, but i haven’t actually applied for dsa (disabled students’ allowance), and i’m not sure if i’m going to or not.

here’s my reasoning:
1) i don’t know when the deadline is
2) i’m not sure that i even need it
3) the process looks confusing & tiring
4) my parents will likely not help me
5) a lot of support doesn’t require dsa

i’m autistic, diagnosed at age 12 and i also have a history of mental health conditions, so chances are i am eligible. but i’m not 100% sure what i’d use that money for. i don’t know if i need anything *specifically* because i am neurodivergent and studying, if you get what i’m trying to say.

anything like therapy i don’t think is covered, as those aren’t costs which have been brought on from studying. i can imagine myself struggling with the new environment and everything, but the uni (warwick) already offers support for all students, disabled or not, even without any dsa.

however, i think it might be useful to apply, as if i don’t need it i guess i just won’t end up having it. i’m planning to contact my uni’s disability team, and ask them what support they have both for dsa recipients and just students in general. what are your thoughts / experiences?
(edited 10 months ago)
Original post by taylors_version
hi everyone. i’ve just finished my a levels and year 13, and am going to university in september. i’ve been approved for both tuition & maintenance loans, but i haven’t actually applied for dsa (disabled students’ allowance), and i’m not sure if i’m going to or not.

here’s my reasoning:
1) i don’t know when the deadline is
2) i’m not sure that i even need it
3) the process looks confusing & tiring
4) my parents will likely not help me
5) a lot of support doesn’t require dsa

i’m autistic, diagnosed at age 12 and i also have a history of mental health conditions, so chances are i am eligible. but i’m not 100% sure what i’d use that money for. i don’t know if i need anything *specifically* because i am neurodivergent and studying, if you get what i’m trying to say.

anything like therapy i don’t think is covered, as those aren’t costs which have been brought on from studying. i can imagine myself struggling with the new environment and everything, but the uni (warwick) already offers support for all students, disabled or not, even without any dsa.

however, i think it might be useful to apply, as if i don’t need it i guess i just won’t end up having it. i’m planning to contact my uni’s disability team, and ask them what support they have both for dsa recipients and just students in general. what are your thoughts / experiences?

1) There's no deadline, you can apply at any point in your time at university. It's a separate body from the university.
2) You might find it more beneficial than you realise when you have the assessment, as there's computer programs they can provide to help you. You don't have to use everything they give you but you might need them in the future or recognise their usefulness in the future.
3) It's not that bad. You can print off their form for medical evidence, give to your GP to fill in and then send it off to DSA. It can take some weeks before you get things delivered. The biggest obstacle is getting the proper evidence from the doctor, as they need to specify how your condition affects your ability to study, everything else falls into place afterwards.
4) That's ok. You're an adult, you don't need your parent's help to apply. It's simpler than you're imagining it.
5) Check out the support your uni provides without DSA and what DSA can provide and decide if you think it's worth applying for and whether the help without DSA would be enough for you.
Reply 2
The big one I've found helpful is having a specialist mentor (Warwick can sometimes provide them for a limited time without DSA, but they don't have funding to keep that up forever). I meet mine once or twice a week, and find it super helpful for staying on track, but also for navigating all of the complicated uni systems and communicating between different teams/departments. They've been particularly good for navigating exam arrangements, mitigating circumstances, en suite subsidy etc., as well as dealing with accommodation services being a bit of a nightmare in general, and ways to cope with living independently alongside studying an intense degree. It's also just nice to talk things through sometimes, like ambiguous instructions on assignments: having a staff member within the uni there for reassurance or to chase up those "silly" questions for you makes things so much more doable!

Some of my friends also have DSA study skills mentors on top of this, which I personally wouldn't find helpful, but I know can be good for more essay-based subjects.

I don't really use my DSA software (although I might in later years where some lectures aren't recorded), but I use the printer and ink allowance that I got through DSA, and it saves me several hundred pounds a year - well worth having as a student! I also got laptop insurance paid for (since I need my laptop to run the DSA software), which saved me another few hundred pounds last year when it broke.

As well as contacting disability services, I'd recommend getting in touch with two of the student societies to get a student perspective on support at Warwick, Enable and Autism at Warwick. Both have active discord servers if you wanted to get in contact with current students before you arrive, and other ways you can contact them on the SU site :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by taylors_version
hi everyone. i’ve just finished my a levels and year 13, and am going to university in september. i’ve been approved for both tuition & maintenance loans, but i haven’t actually applied for dsa (disabled students’ allowance), and i’m not sure if i’m going to or not.

here’s my reasoning:
1) i don’t know when the deadline is
2) i’m not sure that i even need it
3) the process looks confusing & tiring
4) my parents will likely not help me
5) a lot of support doesn’t require dsa

i’m autistic, diagnosed at age 12 and i also have a history of mental health conditions, so chances are i am eligible. but i’m not 100% sure what i’d use that money for. i don’t know if i need anything *specifically* because i am neurodivergent and studying, if you get what i’m trying to say.

anything like therapy i don’t think is covered, as those aren’t costs which have been brought on from studying. i can imagine myself struggling with the new environment and everything, but the uni (warwick) already offers support for all students, disabled or not, even without any dsa.

however, i think it might be useful to apply, as if i don’t need it i guess i just won’t end up having it. i’m planning to contact my uni’s disability team, and ask them what support they have both for dsa recipients and just students in general. what are your thoughts / experiences?

I would strongly recommend you apply. You will have a Needs assessment that will show you all sorts of software that could help you. There are also things you may not even be aware of that would help.

Take all the support offered :smile:
Original post by -Eirlys-
3) It's not that bad. You can print off their form for medical evidence, give to your GP to fill in and then send it off to DSA. It can take some weeks before you get things delivered. The biggest obstacle is getting the proper evidence from the doctor, as they need to specify how your condition affects your ability to study, everything else falls into place afterwards.


for the medical evidence form, do i need to have my GP fill it in before or after i apply for DSA?
hopefully i don’t need an appointment, since it’d be easier for me to just email it over / hand it in.
Original post by taylors_version
for the medical evidence form, do i need to have my GP fill it in before or after i apply for DSA?
hopefully i don’t need an appointment, since it’d be easier for me to just email it over / hand it in.


You should get that evidence beforehand as that's the evidence they ask for when applying iirc. You won't need an appointment, just ask the receptionist to get a doctor to fill it out for you. There may be a fee involved.
Reply 6
Original post by taylors_version
for the medical evidence form, do i need to have my GP fill it in before or after i apply for DSA?
hopefully i don’t need an appointment, since it’d be easier for me to just email it over / hand it in.


Hi I'm also autistic and have been diagnosed with mental health conditions
I just sent in a report from my ASD assessment and that was all the evidence that I needed so didn't need to see the doctors to get them to fill in a form
For me I find the DSA really useful. I can provide the information about the software if it will help but one of the most useful ones is glean which records the lectures with the PowerPoint so if it's going to fast etc, I can put a marker and make notes on it at a different time
Original post by -Eirlys-
You should get that evidence beforehand as that's the evidence they ask for when applying iirc. You won't need an appointment, just ask the receptionist to get a doctor to fill it out for you. There may be a fee involved.


ok, so you apply and then submit the evidence they just don’t consider your application until they have it.
i had a gp appointment this week, so i’m waiting for my form back. also, they do it for free, at least at my surgery.
Original post by Interea
The big one I've found helpful is having a specialist mentor (Warwick can sometimes provide them for a limited time without DSA, but they don't have funding to keep that up forever). I meet mine once or twice a week, and find it super helpful for staying on track, but also for navigating all of the complicated uni systems and communicating between different teams/departments. They've been particularly good for navigating exam arrangements, mitigating circumstances, en suite subsidy etc., as well as dealing with accommodation services being a bit of a nightmare in general, and ways to cope with living independently alongside studying an intense degree. It's also just nice to talk things through sometimes, like ambiguous instructions on assignments: having a staff member within the uni there for reassurance or to chase up those "silly" questions for you makes things so much more doable!

Some of my friends also have DSA study skills mentors on top of this, which I personally wouldn't find helpful, but I know can be good for more essay-based subjects.

I don't really use my DSA software (although I might in later years where some lectures aren't recorded), but I use the printer and ink allowance that I got through DSA, and it saves me several hundred pounds a year - well worth having as a student! I also got laptop insurance paid for (since I need my laptop to run the DSA software), which saved me another few hundred pounds last year when it broke.

As well as contacting disability services, I'd recommend getting in touch with two of the student societies to get a student perspective on support at Warwick, Enable and Autism at Warwick. Both have active discord servers if you wanted to get in contact with current students before you arrive, and other ways you can contact them on the SU site :smile:


yeah, having a mentor which you see regularly (esp to chat about mental health / autism) sounded really useful i’ve just submitted my evidence, and am waiting for them to get back to me (hopefully relatively soon, so i can have the support in place).

how does the needs assessment work? i’m not going to stress over it until they’ve reviewed my evidence, but i don’t really get how it works. how do you choose which centre to do it at? since i’ll probably do it over video call for convenience, does it have to be nearby?
(edited 10 months ago)
Original post by taylors_version
yeah, having a mentor which you see regularly (esp to chat about mental health / autism) sounded really useful i’ve just submitted my evidence, and am waiting for them to get back to me (hopefully relatively soon, so i can have the support in place).

how does the needs assessment work? i’m not going to stress over it until they’ve reviewed my evidence, but i don’t really get how it works. how do you choose which centre to do it at? since i’ll probably do it over video call for convenience, does it have to be nearby?

No it doesn't have to be near by
I think most if not all are now online due to lockdown
For me once it was approved I got sent a link and it had a website which you put the post code in and it comes with online ones and you pick one and then just answer some questions, book an online time and then they'll ask you what sort of stuff you might struggle with
Original post by taylors_version
update: i’ve applied for DSA, now i’m waiting for my gp to send back the evidence form. after that, i just need to wait for my needs assessment. thanks for the help, i’ll probably have more questions so i’ll still post on here.

hi everyone. i’ve just finished my a levels and year 13, and am going to university in september. i’ve been approved for both tuition & maintenance loans, but i haven’t actually applied for dsa (disabled students’ allowance), and i’m not sure if i’m going to or not.

here’s my reasoning:
1) i don’t know when the deadline is
2) i’m not sure that i even need it
3) the process looks confusing & tiring
4) my parents will likely not help me
5) a lot of support doesn’t require dsa

i’m autistic, diagnosed at age 12 and i also have a history of mental health conditions, so chances are i am eligible. but i’m not 100% sure what i’d use that money for. i don’t know if i need anything *specifically* because i am neurodivergent and studying, if you get what i’m trying to say.

anything like therapy i don’t think is covered, as those aren’t costs which have been brought on from studying. i can imagine myself struggling with the new environment and everything, but the uni (warwick) already offers support for all students, disabled or not, even without any dsa.

however, i think it might be useful to apply, as if i don’t need it i guess i just won’t end up having it. i’m planning to contact my uni’s disability team, and ask them what support they have both for dsa recipients and just students in general. what are your thoughts / experiences?


Hey, I know you have applied now but I follow this TikTok account that has loads of helpful DSA content and they also have a site with more info on it, might be worth looking at as you go through the process https://www.tiktok.com/@thisstudentneeds
Original post by Jess_Lomas
No it doesn't have to be near by
I think most if not all are now online due to lockdown
For me once it was approved I got sent a link and it had a website which you put the post code in and it comes with online ones and you pick one and then just answer some questions, book an online time and then they'll ask you what sort of stuff you might struggle with


thank you!! i just received an email saying i’m eligible for DSA, with the link you mentioned.
how did you pick which centre to go with? mine comes up with quite a few. i could do in person, but online is easier.
Original post by NotebooksNCoffee
Hey, I know you have applied now but I follow this TikTok account that has loads of helpful DSA content and they also have a site with more info on it, might be worth looking at as you go through the process https://www.tiktok.com/@thisstudentneeds


thank you!! i’ve never been on tiktok though and it wants me to log in..
i’m sure i’ll work it out, and the site looks really useful as well! :smile:
Original post by Interea
The big one I've found helpful is having a specialist mentor (Warwick can sometimes provide them for a limited time without DSA, but they don't have funding to keep that up forever). I meet mine once or twice a week, and find it super helpful for staying on track, but also for navigating all of the complicated uni systems and communicating between different teams/departments. They've been particularly good for navigating exam arrangements, mitigating circumstances, en suite subsidy etc., as well as dealing with accommodation services being a bit of a nightmare in general, and ways to cope with living independently alongside studying an intense degree. It's also just nice to talk things through sometimes, like ambiguous instructions on assignments: having a staff member within the uni there for reassurance or to chase up those "silly" questions for you makes things so much more doable!

Some of my friends also have DSA study skills mentors on top of this, which I personally wouldn't find helpful, but I know can be good for more essay-based subjects.

I don't really use my DSA software (although I might in later years where some lectures aren't recorded), but I use the printer and ink allowance that I got through DSA, and it saves me several hundred pounds a year - well worth having as a student! I also got laptop insurance paid for (since I need my laptop to run the DSA software), which saved me another few hundred pounds last year when it broke.

As well as contacting disability services, I'd recommend getting in touch with two of the student societies to get a student perspective on support at Warwick, Enable and Autism at Warwick. Both have active discord servers if you wanted to get in contact with current students before you arrive, and other ways you can contact them on the SU site :smile:


thank you for all the information!! the site which NotebooksNCoffee sent me has a lot of the things you said!
i don’t know much about these softwares, but i’m sure i can ask i also did get an en suite, even though it was in high demand :smile:

how did you choose a needs assessment centre? i’m doing it remotely, does it matter which one you choose?

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