Selecting a College for Students with Learning Disabilities
As you are selecting a college, there are many things to consider, especially in relations to learning differences. While there are many excellent support programs; often that application process can be daunting and there is much information to sift through. Below are a few things to consider as you go through the selection process.
Support, Services, & Accommodations
While all colleges and universities are required to have a disabilities office, services can vary greatly; figuring out what makes a college the best fit for you begins with the programs and services offered. Effective programs include:
- Weekly meetings with professional learning specialists
- Course advising based on a variety of inputs beyond the syllabus
- Specialized curriculum or reduced/redistributed course load
- Skills development and remediation in academic subjects
- Professional academic coaches and tutors
- Modified exam arrangements
- Support/Assistance with note-taking
- Assistive technology and support
- Assistance with proofreading
- Executive function support
- Alternative forms of textbooks, readers, electronic text readers
- Assistance with developing oral expression
- Life skills support
- Social skills training
- Training and support in developing goals and maintaining motivation
- Transitional programs
- Early intervention programs
- Secondary support program application to ensure the student is a good fit
Prepare to Visit/Apply Questions
There are many resources available but nothing can replace a well-prepared visit to a potential college. When planning a visit and the follow-up application consider the following:
- Begin the process early
- Do your homework; look on the web, request materials to review before you visit so you will have the opportunity to ask your questions face-to-face.
- As the student, prepare your questions and materials before you arrive for the visit.
- Take your documentation with you to discuss with the program director.
- Ask how accommodations are determined and granted at the college and what documentation you will need?
- Ask to speak with current users of support services and/or their parents
- Know your facts; ask if they track their LD graduates. If so where do they go? Graduate school, employment?
- What is the retention rate of LD students?
- What types of support does the institution offer faculty about accommodating students with special needs?
- Is support, tutorial, and instruction in the program offered by interns, graduate students, peer tutors or trained professionals?
After your visit, make sure you organize the materials you were given, keep track of cards and contact information.
- Journal your thoughts, that is a great way to remember your experience
- Additional questions with the Application, reach out to the contacts you received
- Apply early
- Update any outdated documentation so it will be ready for school once enrolled
- Take advantage of orientation or transitional programs
Understood | For Learning and Attention Issues. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en
Transition of Students With Disabilities To Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transitionguide.html
Amy Osborne, Director
Institute for Learning Differences
Thomas More College
333 Thomas More Parkway
Crestview Hills, KY 41017
* Accommodations in compliance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are offered to the student at no charge. Please see disability services or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.