Students With Learning Disabilities
A learning disability can add an extra layer of complexity to the college search and admission processes. Luckily, according to Will Small at LD Resources, “there are many colleges and universities in the United States that have good track records when it comes to accommodating learning disabilities.” There are also several good guidebooks and websites that can help inform and focus your search.
Some questions to consider:
Will you disclose your disability on your application?
This is a personal decision. Your college will have no knowledge of your disability if you choose not to disclose your disability. Even if you have an IEP, or received extended time on the SAT or ACT, information about your disability is not included on your high school transcript or test results.
However, many students do choose to disclose their learning disability in their application for admission. This is often done through the “additional information” section or through a student’s essay. Disclosing a disability helps colleges admission personnel better understand the context surrounding an applicant’s grades and test scores.
What learning support services do colleges provide?
Available services might include taped textbooks; reading, writing, math, or study skills centers; assistance with note taking; preferential or early registration; course substitutions and/or waivers; social skills groups; etc. Students are advised to reflect upon the services they accessed in high school, and assess which services may continue to be helpful in college. Most colleges offer academic support services (such as a writing center or math tutoring) to all students, and specialized services for students with disabilities, but quality and staff training in these programs can vary widely. For this reason, it pays to do your research, visit colleges, and ask questions.
Who should you contact, and what should you ask?
The following articles/web sites may be of help:
The College Solution Blog: Getting into College with Learning Disabilities
LD Resources: Choosing a College For Students with Learning Disabilities
Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
Another resource of note:
The K&W Guide to Colleges For Students With Learning Disabilities or AD/HD is available at Sturgis and through the Cape Cod Libraries (CLAMS) system. It contains extensive information about the level and types of learning support services at over 300 colleges, and brief profiles of 1,000 additional schools. Published by the Princeton Review the K&W Guide also offers advice on finding the right program for each student’s needs, and is a respected source of information on college admission for students with learning disabilities.