LEARNING DISABILITIES, ADD, and OTHER SPECIAL NEEDS
The goals of the college search and application process are the same for all students: to find and become accepted by colleges that are a good fit. And while students with Learning Disabilities or other special needs share those same goals, their college application process invariably involves significant additional issues, tasks, and preparation time. The key is to leave enough time to do the necessary research and complete the applications by the deadlines, without causing undue additional stress. Particularly if you start the process early, we can provide the helpful advice and support that you and your family will need.
At College Dimensions, our tasks and services to students with learning disabilities or ADD and their families can include:
- Reviewing the Student's Record. We would start by reviewing the student’s most recent psychological testing results, IEP, and transition plan (if applicable)
- Curriculum Review and Planning. We would review the student's high school curriculum and strategize with the student and parents about such issues as course waivers, advance planning to meet pre-college requirements, the strength of the student's curriculum, and issues regarding the student’s IEP and transitional plan.
- Consultation with the Student's Educational Psychologist. We would discuss with the student’s educational psychologist the learning disabilities, functional limitations, current accommodations, readiness for college, recommended type of college, proposed accommodations and support services at the college level, and related issues.
- Timeline. We would work with the student to develop an individualized timeline that would allow sufficient time to complete the various tasks in the application process. Again, for students with learning disabilities, it is particularly important to start early to do the necessary additional research, to provide extra time to prepare applications, and to lessen the stress inherent in the admissions process.
- Standardized Testing. We would advise and assist the student to prepare the materials necessary to apply for accommodations for taking standardized tests (including the PSAT, SAT, and ACT). The requirements differ among the standardized testing companies, and the applications must be prepared carefully and convincingly.
- Identifying Good Fit Colleges with Appropriate Support Services. We would advise and assist the student to research and identify a set of "Core Colleges" that would provide appropriate support services for his/her particular learning disabilities and/or special needs. It is important that the student and parents—in consultation with the educational psychologist and College Dimensions—evaluate the strength of the learning disability programs at the student’s targeted colleges. The nature and extent of support programs and services differ vastly from college to college, and it is extremely important to get the right fit for each student’s particular needs.
- College Visits. We would prepare the student and parents for college visits. This includes advising about the general approach, as well as providing lists of important questions to ask admissions officers, student disabilities program coordinators, and current students at the various colleges who have learning disabilities or special needs. For information about College Dimensions' site visits to colleges with extensive support programs for students with learning disabilities, please see our Blog Page.
- Whether, When, and How to Disclose Learning Disabailities. We would strategize with the student and parents about the approach for disclosing learning disabilities and/or ADD during the applications process. For students with relatively minor learning disabilities, this includes deciding whether or not to disclose the learning disabilities during the application process or wait until after acceptance. When learning disabilities are to be disclosed, we can advise the student as to how—and to what extent—the issue of his/her particular disabilities can be depicted appropriately and effectively in such contexts as the essays and other applications questions.
- Current Psychological Testing. We would advise the student and parents to obtain current learning disabilities testing by an educational psychologist, so that the student can apply and qualify for accommodations and support services in the college program.
- Applications for Accommodations and Support Services at College. We would advise and assist the student to prepare materials supporting the applications for accommodations and support services at the college level. Care must be taken to prepare an accurate and convincing application in order to obtain the necessary approvals for the support the student will need, once he/she gets to college.
- Transition Workshops: We can provide Transition Workshops for:
Dona Heller, J.D.
College Dimensions LLC