The Benefits of SASS–Personal Experience

The organization “SASS” stands for Student Accessibility Support Services. Their office is located in Merritt Hall 117. The SASS program has allowed me to personally thrive my first semester at McDaniel. Being a black woman who is an immigrant of this country with many learning disabilities, the SASS office makes me feel safe and understood for all of my differences. I started my journey with them in the spring of my senior year of high school where I had my intake meeting with Kendra Heard whose job title is Associate Director / Coordinator of Special Programs. During this meeting Kendra asked me a series of questions about my learning disabilities. Together we came out with a list of accommodations that were specific to me as an individual. Some of the accommodations were having a note taker as well as getting extended time on certain projects, assignments, and tests as well as alternate locations for tests. There are also many more accommodations available for not only me but other students in the organization.

I also participated in their Step Ahead program provided by the school. This program was specially made for incoming students who were part of the SASS program. It allowed me and many others to get the college experience but at our own time without having as many people on campus. We arrived on campus 6 days before the majority of the school. During this time I participated in mini lectures as well as fun activities which helped me become more comfortable in the school setting and the transition into college. Some of the activities we did were going to Target as well as going to the Players Fun Zone.

When the fall semester started and the rest of the students arrived at the school, I began my weekly meetings with my Academic Counselor, as a part of the Academic Skills Program. When you sign up for the Academic Skills Program, you will be able to get access to an Academic Counselor, “PASS”, “MAP” and many other benefits that are all covered under the program.

My Academic Counselor helped me become more familiar with the SASS organization at McDaniel College. She also helped me keep my academic life organized and on task for the first week. I meet with her for an hour-long session which takes place twice a week. During this time she will help me with upcoming assignments as well as keep me informed about SASS activities and events.

When you join, you also get access to graduate assistants and student workers. There are nine Academic Counselors, three Graduate Assistants, and two student workers in the SASS office. SASS has multiple programs available for students which are both easily accessible, educational and supportive. Such as “MAP” and “PASS”. “MAP” is an acronym for ‘Mentorship Advantage Program’. MAP always provides different activities for students each week. This semester they meet once a week on Thursdays from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM. “MAP” covers more of the social aspect of college. Some of the activities that “MAP” provides are Karaoke night as well as game night. These events also help build social bonds with other “SASS” members. “PASS”, on the other hand, stands for ‘Providing Academic Support for Success’. This semester they meet Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 7 PM to 9 PM. During these times they work to help students with school work and study sessions. Both of these programs are a part of SASS. Being a part of SASS also provides the opportunity to get tutors and study buddies which helps students study more efficiently and effectively. Some of the SASS programs do require fees. However, these programs are not a requirement. Those students who are registered with a diagnosed learning disability get their accommodations without charge. These accommodations might include weekly meetings with a Graduate Assistant for 1 hour aweek. You will also get access to the testing center and printer during the SASS office hours 8:30AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.