Odds are you are probably like me and let one important consideration slip; food. Don't worry though, there is still plenty of time to look into it! By now you are probably starting to receive your letters of acceptance, and if not will be here very soon. This makes it the perfect time to help you narrow down a school based on dining plans. While many colleges do offer gluten free options, far too often they are unsafe for consumption by somebody with Celiac Disease. As such, I have a few tips, tricks and warnings.
- Visit the campuses of the schools you are considering again, looking at both housing options and dining options. While you look try to note if there are any options for housing that will provide you with a kitchen.
- Explore the dining halls, see if you can locate any gluten free options and see if they are separate and safe. If possible chat with a chef and see what precautions they take, get a general idea of what to expect.
- Determine if the dining plan is a requirement for first year students.
- Calculate the cost difference between the dining plan (assuming it offers safe gluten free options), and making your own meals (assuming you can get a kitchen).
My school personally doesn't offer safe gluten free options but required the dining plan for all first year students. As a result I had to petition to be allowed off the plan, if you choose a school and need to petition the dining plan, it is a good idea to start the process immediately. I made the mistake of waiting to the last minute and it was nearly disastrous as I likely would have needed to pay for a month or two of food I would have been unable to eat. For me, the petition requires a note from my physician, and some paperwork to be submitted. It is a simple enough process but one to definitely be aware of. Just do the option that is best for you, be careful of possible cross contamination, and consider the difference in time and cost of preparing your own food versus a dining plan. If there is something I missed here that you have questions on feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer!
Thanks for reading, and as always, enjoy!