Dealing With a Learning Disability? ADD? ADHD?
Having a Hard Time Getting it Together
in High School?
Then this blog entry is for you. It's about my recent site visits to colleges in New England with strong support programs for students like you--to help you get on track for college and help you stay there. I primarily targeted colleges that offer substantial, comprehensive support programs (not just accommodations and minor services) for students who have learning disabilities (including ADD /ADHD). Some were two-year colleges that award associate degrees and prepare students to go on to four-year colleges and universities. Others were four-year colleges that award bachelor degrees--often in a major that prepares a student for a career upon graduation.
One two-year college that I visited exclusively serves students with learning disabilities. Other colleges that I saw have only a portion of the student body with learning disabilities, but have substantial programs to support them academically and also to help them to integrate extracurricularly and socially into the rest of the student body. In some cases, those colleges also have students who--though not diagnosed with LDs--are late bloomers or have had difficulties "getting it together" in high school and need a strong support program to help them become successful in college.
Two of the colleges offer various learning and life skills programs to help students with learning disabilities transition from high school to college. Most of the colleges offer some kind of summer transition programs. And one college that I visited offers a yearlong, post-high-school/pre-college program, with a strong academic and life-skills component, that awards some college credit for the year's academic work.
I was very pleased to talk with the various college administrators and students about their schools in general, and also in particular about the support given to students with learning disabilities to help them navigate through their college years and beyond. As you can imagine, I learned a great deal from long conversations with students. Most often, they were eager to sing the praises of the LD support services that they were receiving. Repeatedly, I would hear something like: "I never thought I'd be able to make it in college. But the support I get from the Learning Center is wonderful and makes it possible for me to be here. Believe me: I would never be able to get through college without it; and with it I'm doing great!"
You may wonder why College Dimensions--being LA-based--would be interested in looking so closely at schools on the east coast. The answer is simple: such schools, with extensive support programs in a small environment, are in short supply on the west coast. The two schools in the western US that offer substantial support programs for learning disabilities are both larger universities, where kids with LD and related issues--fresh out of high school--sometimes can get lost or very distracted. Many educators believe that particularly at the beginning of college, students with substantial learning disabilities (including ADD and ADHD) often do best in a smaller environment, with more individualized support.
The schools I visited recently could be an excellent choice for a student with a diagnosed learning disability, and also for a student who is a late bloomer and needs a supportive environment to help get it together in college. If you would like to learn more about these colleges, please give me a call, and I'd be glad to talk with you.
Dona Heller, J.D.
College Dimensions LLC