How should students address their learning differences on the application?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

How should students address their learning differences on the application?

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

How should students address their learning differences on the application?

Honestly, directly & thoroughly. You can't hide one, or you could be looking at an early exit from the campus.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

How should students address their learning differences on the application?

There is some division on this question. I have always believed that a student should fully disclose the information about their learning differences, that rather than being something to hide, is instead an important, but not defining, part of who an applicant is while also providing important context in which to view their overall record. However, there are those who fear that, the law notwithstanding, schools could 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, and thus may use it as a reason to deny 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

How should students address their learning differences on the application?

If your learning difference had an impact on your high school academic performance I think you need to address that. If you believe your test scores are a result of your learning style, again I would discuss that. Don't do it in a whiney fashion. Rather, take responsibility for your work and own the situation. Clearly state your concerns IF you feel you will need to utilize special services on campus. If you plan to fly under the radar in college and there are no red flags in your application file, then there is no need to bring up the subject.

Lora Lewis
Educational Consultant Lora Lewis Consulting

How should students address their learning differences on the application?

This depends very much on the individual student's academic history and personal situation. Applicants are in no way required to disclose their LD diagnosis on college applications, but if you think it could be valuable information for admissions to use wen evaluating your application, you should consider it. Don't use your LD as an excuse for underachievement, but if it i a legitimate contributor to the level of your test scores or grades in certain areas, provide admissions with the information they need to adequately assess both their ability to provide you with the best quality education and your ability to be successful at their institution. Most applications offer an "additional information" section that provides a good place to briefly but thoroughly describe your learning differences. Your counselor might also make reference to your LD and accommodations are part of his/her recommendation. Don't, however, make your LD the focus of your admissions essay. Your learning style and differences are just a part of who you are and the way you take in and relate to the world around you. Use your essay to reveal a broader picture of your spirit and individuality.