The Catholic University of America

ADA Guidelines


Pre-Admission Inquiries


Definition: Pre-admission inquiries are defined as those inquiries made orally by those interviewing applicants, including any alumni who may be involved in the interview process. It also includes any questions on written materials sent out by the university that might be construed as inviting information about a disability.


Prohibited Inquiries:

  • Pre-admission inquiries about the applicant's disability or possible disability (e.g., you cannot ask "Are you disabled?" or "I notice that you are in a wheelchair, will you only be able to take classes in buildings that have elevators?").

  • Questions about alcohol and substance abuse. Questions should be limited to behavior and conduct, and not to status or treatment or history.

  • Questions about whether or not the applicant has sought counseling or treatment for an emotional or mental health problem.

  • Asking an applicant if he/she received accommodations on an admissions test.


    Permissible Inquiries:

  • Asking about an admitted student's necessity for modifications after the applicant is admitted. For example, if you are supervising a law student with a learning disability who is on law review, and the student does not have the ability to do cite checks because of the learning disability, then you might ask whether a computer program that can do the cite checks for the student would be helpful.

  • Asking for voluntary identification of a disability (this is known as self-identification) in the pre-admission stage if actively engaged in affirmative action efforts, provided:

  • that it is made clear that the information requested is intended for use solely in connection with affirmative action efforts;

  • the request is on a voluntary basis;

  • the request will be kept confidential; and

  • refusal to provide it will not subject the applicant to any adverse treatment.

Source: Clark v. Virginia Board of Bar Examiners, 880 F. Supp. 430 (E.D. Va. 1995); 28 C.F.R. § 35.104 and 34 C.F.R. § 104.42.




liniks updated 5/29/08 rab

updated mlo 2/18/09