How the Admission Process Works
The admission process starts when a prospective applicant contacts the Guide Dog Foundation and indicates they are interested in a guide dog. They can call us or send their request via email.
The Consumer Services Department gathers this information and reaches out to the prospective applicant. They speak about the guide dog lifestyle and answer any questions a potential applicant has about our programs. Consumer Services also checks to see if the applicant meets the Guide Dog Foundation’s requirements for using a guide dog (i.e., that they are legally blind, have completed Orientation and Mobility training, etc.).
If the prospective applicant has met our criteria, and decides that a guide dog may be the right choice for them, an application packet is sent out. If they are unsure about getting a dog, additional information on the program is sent (if they are interested). For those who still need Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training, we will provide a list of agencies in their area that offers this training.
Once an individual sends in the various pieces of the application, their file is considered “active.” We then contact each applicant to arrange an interview. For applicants in the Long Island, New York area, it most likely will be an in-person interview at the applicant’s home. For out-of-area applicants, a telephone interview is arranged and we also request a 10-minute video (CD, DVD or a link to a video online), to give us a glimpse of their O&M skills as well as the areas where they live and work.) These interviews help us better understand the applicant’s needs—vital information for the matching process.
Once the application is complete, it is presented to our Student Selection Committee. If accepted, formal notification will be given, and based on the materials submitted, our training staff will begin the matching process to find an appropriate dog. Once that happens, the applicant will be contacted for an upcoming class.
If they are not accepted, and we cannot provide a guide dog at this point (i.e., applicant not in good health, does not have sufficient orientation skills), we will tell them why their application was denied.
The next step for an individual applicant varies on a case-by-case basis. Some are encouraged to apply again when their situation has resolved. For others – perhaps those for whom a guide dog is not the right option (for example, someone who wants a dog just for companionship) we provide them with suggestions for another mobility aid or specialized program at another organization.
Click here to learn more about the application process, including how to apply for a guide dog online.