Every college is unique. This is why you will hear college counselors, this one included, talk about the importance of finding the right fit. Part of their uniqueness includes how they offer academic support. Some colleges will offer accommodations for classroom/lecture hall environments and testing situations while others will offer a varying amount of tutoring. The tutoring may be offered by peers who scored well in last year's class or had up to 14 hours of tutor training while other schools may offer professional tutors who have master's degrees. Some colleges have tutoring that is centralized within a learning center and others have tutoring run through the academic departments.
It is important to understand that two different laws govern the assistance that students with learning disabilities receive in high school versus college. In high school, students with learning disabilities are covered under the federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). There is no special education at the college level. When students matriculate to college, they are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are significant differences for what this means for students. The link below is an excellent resource outlining the most significant of these:
Many of these tips can be applied to all students applying to college; however, there are a few tips that are specific to students diagnosed with a specific learning disability.
There are three universal tips for college success that are not limited to students with learning disabilities and that I would give all 18-year-olds heading off to college and possibly leaving home for the first time.
Both the SAT and the ACT are examinations used in the college admissions process for the purpose of rating a student’s abilities and likelihood for success in college. For many students, testing is not the best way to measure a student’s ability. Although there are more schools moving away from this admissions requirement (see www.fairtest.org for a list), they are still a minority.
Despite all the work that you have done researching colleges, the best indicator of which college will be right for you will be your college visits. In addition to considering academic programming, the availability of support, and the other critical factors that we have outlined, it is important that you get a sense of the campus life at the schools on your list. Remember, this is the place where you plan to spend the next four years.
- How many schools? For most students, applying to between 5 and 8 schools is a reasonable rule of thumb. These should include schools from each of the categories described below: reach schools, match schools, and safety schools.
From the recommendations of the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
Evaluation must be a formal, comprehensive assessment that documents the existence of a learning disability.
Testing must be administered by a professional diagnostician trained in the assessment of learning disorders. The written assessment must include the name, title, and professional credentials, including any licensing or certification information.
Most transition programs combine instruction in independent living skills with either education or work. The educational component of these programs varies considerably. Some of these programs lead to specific certification or an Associate degree while others focus on practical living skills.