How should I go about my initial search if I am disabled?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

How should I go about my initial search if I am disabled?

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

How should I go about my initial search if I am disabled?

if you have your own counselor to work with you, your counselor may set up interviews with the admissions office and other people. that's the best way to go. if you do not have a counselor, you should visit schools with other seniors or classmates to gain different perspectives. if your parents are helpful and able to share their perspectives with you, you should consider their inputs seriouly. if you have college friends, they can help you with their experiences as well.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Disability and the College Search

An independent educational consultant may be your best starting point. There are guidebooks (The K&W Guide), information on websites, and your current educational providers to look to for information. Obviously the specific disability may drive your search. A mobility impairment presents a different set of circumstances than someone with dyslexia. Knowing what you will need to experience success in college is key. It will be up to you to advocate for yourself once you are on campus, so there is no time like the present.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Disabled Students

If you are physically disabled or have a chronic illness, you need to do research to find out if the college will happily accommodate your needs. Make sure the college you eventually choose is understanding about your condition. For Learniing Different students, there are questions you need to ask before your search. 1. Do you need accommodations only? 2. Do you need a comprehensive support program? 3. Perhaps you need a college dedicated to the Learning Different Student. All three are available. On my blog (www.collegeadventures.net/blog) I have written quite a bit about LD students, from ADD to Asperger's Syndrome. Take a look at http://collegeadventures.net/blog/category/college-for-learning-different-students/

Shannon O'Brien
Counselor Palatine High School

How should I go about my initial search if I am disabled?

The search you conduct will depend on if you plan to disclose your disability to colleges/universities. If you plan to disclose then you need to be aware of a college/universities services for you. Most of your smaller, private schools will offer more support and in a structured way. Larger colleges/univeristies will offer services, but they seem to offer the same types of services to all students. Another way to seek support/services is directly working with professors. Again, if you disclose to them the nature of your disibility and refer to your IEP document, then you have the paperwork to show what your needs are.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

How should I go about my initial search if I am disabled?

Students who have undergone a neuro-psychological or educational evaluation have an enormous advantage in the college search and admission process. Finding the right college fit requires students to know themselves well and students who have been diagnosed with a learning difference are armed with specific insight into their their learning style as well as their academic strengths and weaknesses. Using this knowledge, families can find learning environments most suited to the individual student. For example, students who receive accommodations for distraction-free seating assignments in high school will be best served enrolling in colleges with small class sizes. View self-awareness about your learning style as a strength that will allow you to find an ideal college match.

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

How should I go about my initial search if I am disabled?

Just like any other student, but it depends that everything related to your disability can be satisfied. When I was in college, a blind girl was in one of my classes. Someone took notes for her, and she got around the campus (Akron U) faster than you can imagine! She was also in a fire and was disfigured.

Kathleen Harrington
Owner New Jersey College Consulting

How should I go about my initial search if I am disabled?

Both four year and two year colleges offer disability services to students in need of assistance. The most important thing to keep in mind when a special needs student is researching potential colleges is the type of disability program he/she will need to be successful in their post-graduate years. The two programs: Structured vs. Self-Directed. A structured program offers above and beyond what is dictated by the government through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This program typically has an additional if not entirely different application process that requires documentation that accommodations and/or modifications are needed. A self-directed program typically does not require an additional application and is more than likely handled through the Office of Disability Services. The structured program is much more hands on with the special needs student.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

How should I go about my initial search if I am disabled?

The first thing you should do is to determine which institutions offer sufficient support for your particular disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, guarantees that all U.S. colleges/universities provide some level of services/accommodations for students with disabilities. Some institutions, however, have taken this requirement further, offering comprehensive programs supporting learning and/or physically disabled students. The level of support for specific disabilities will vary from one institution to another. Students should seek schools which offer the best support for their specific disabilities. Try the following websites: http://www.college-scholarships.com/learning_disabilities.htm http://concordspedpac.org/Colleges-LD.html http://www.dmoz.org/Society/Disabled/Education/Colleges_and_Universities After determining which institutions provide substantial disability support and reading the information available on their institutional websites regarding the disability services of those institutions, you may directly contact the disability services offices of the colleges/universities in which you are interested to find out more about the support available in each of them relative to your specific disability.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

How should I go about my initial search if I am disabled?

The fundamental process is no different, but students with disabilities do need to determine what the exact extent of the school’s effort and accommodations will be. Given the nature of the Americans With Disabilities Act there are certain things that every school must provide, but some are certainly more involved and active than others. Indeed, some schools are making a point of being particularly open to and supportive of students with learning disabilities—it is their niche--and so obviously those schools are ones that student with disabilities might find even more attractive. Ultimately an applicant for whom this is a concern must do their research and ask the right questions.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Disability and the College Search

The ADA has laws that ensure that a person with disabilities have all of the same access as one without. So search based on your academic and personal interest not your disability. Remember you are a human being with a set of different abilities and if I am not mistaken that is just like the rest of the world. So once you have chosen your college I recommend you go to the Disability office if you need special accomodations so they can be in place when you arrive for classes.