Physical Education (PE) and Swim Test

Students taking the Cornell swim test

You only need to submit the online Disability Self-Disclosure Form once, describing your concerns and needs related to both PE and the swim test on that one form.

Student Disability Services (SDS) works with students whose disabilities affect their ability to fully participate in PE courses or the swim test. We do this by developing an accommodation plan in consultation with Physical Education staff. Cornell encourages all students to complete the PE and swim test requirements within their first year on campus and highly recommends that you contact us as early as possible if you anticipate the need for accommodations in order to afford adequate time to develop a reasonable accommodation plan.

Requesting Swim Test Accommodations

  1. Complete a Disability Self-Disclosure Form.
  2. We will follow up with you to discuss your concerns with meeting the swim test requirement. We will let you know if we need additional information from you about your request.
  3. We will meet with you and PE staff to discuss concerns with taking the swim test and possible modifications or accommodations that can be implemented based on your disability. Potential accommodations include: an individual swim assessment, individual or small group swim lessons, a modified version of the swim test based on your effort and ability, or credit given for taking a substitution PE course. 
  4. If accommodations do not prove an effective means for meeting the swim test requirement, you will be advised of the petition process for requesting a swim test substitution.

Requesting PE Accommodations or Considerations

Cornell offers over 100 PE courses ranging from low to high physical exertion levels that appeal to a wide variety of interests, skill levels, and physical abilities. Many students are able to identify and enroll in courses that will be conducive to their individual interests and needs. If you are concerned about finding a PE course due to your disability, you should: 

  1. Complete the Disability Self-Disclosure Form and identifying the disability-related concern associated with the taking PE courses. Appropriate supporting documentation or information can be submitted as well.  
  2. We will follow up to meet with you to discuss your access concerns regarding PE courses. 
  3. We will have a follow-up meeting with you and PE staff to identify courses that appear conducive to your disability needs. If appropriate, we can also work to modify course activities and/or implement needed accommodations so you can fully participate in the course. Potential accommodations might include: rest breaks during class, modifying certain aspects of the course activities, or providing adapted course equipment.