Grades and test scores aside, can a learning difference affect a student's chance of acceptance?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Grades and test scores aside, can a learning difference affect a student's chance of acceptance?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Grades and test scores aside, can a learning difference affect a student's chance of acceptance?

it can be a positive or negative result, and it better be revealed completely on the application - or else!

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Grades and test scores aside, can a learning difference affect a student's chance of acceptance?

It shouldn’t, but in reality it is hard to know, and concerns about that fact have led to a division of opinion on whether or not students should admit on their application that they have a learning difference or disability. I have always believed that a student should disclose the information, that it is not something to hide, but is instead an important, but not defining, part of who they are and a recognition of the fact provides context for their overall record. However, there are those who fear that, the law notwithstanding, schools see it as a problem, one they do not want to deal with or are not staffed to deal with once the student gets on campus. Thus it may be a reason to deny a student admission. My experience has been to the contrary and I do think that it is in the applicant’s best interest to provide the admissions office with a full picture of who they are that includes full knowledge of the situation.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Grades and test scores aside, can a learning difference affect a student's chance of acceptance?

It shouldn't. The issue is usually one of whether the transcript indicates there is a good match with the academic press. The rigor of your high school's curriculum and your transcript are a very good predictor of academic success in college. Beyond that, a school can't discriminate against you because you use a tutor, require the use of adaptive technology, or need any other accommodations.

Lora Lewis
Educational Consultant Lora Lewis Consulting

Grades and test scores aside, can a learning difference affect a student's chance of acceptance?

As with so many things in college admissions, it depends. Some schools don't even maintain wait-lists. Some take several students from the list, some take very few. This is also true of individual schools from one year to the next. A college might take 15 students from the wait-list this year, but next year only take three. Your best bet is not to stress about your chances of turning that wait-list status into admitted. Express your ongoing strong desire to attend the school via a letter, then put your wait-list worry aside and focus on choosing from among the colleges that have already offered you a spot.