Should students with learning differences contact the admissions office during the application process? Before applying? After applying?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Should students with learning differences contact the admissions office during the application process? Before applying? After applying?

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

Should students with learning differences contact the admissions office during the application process? Before applying? After applying?

Before applying is the optimum time to contact colleges. Get all the particulars first. If there are no drawbacks, then apply. If so, look elsewhere.

Lisa Carlton
Owner www.collegematchpoint.com

Should students with learning differences contact the admissions office during the application process? Before applying? After applying?

During the application process students with learning differences should typically go through the admissions process like any other student. If you have questions for admissions contact them. In most cases, I would not disclose a learning difference until after you have been accepted. Once accepted it is the Office of Disability Services that should be contacted.

Rana Slosberg
Owner Slosberg College Solutions LLC

Should students with learning differences contact the admissions office during the application process? Before applying? After applying?

Whether to disclose a disability during the application process is a personal decision. The college is prohibited from asking a student about a disability and may not deny admission because of that disability. Colleges are not required to waive or lower their admission criteria if a student discloses. A student might want to disclose if they have something to gain from disclosure. For example, a student might want to disclose if the disclosure explains poor academic performance prior to being diagnosed with a learning disability or if the student wants to highlight how they have learned to adapt and make adjustments to their learning style. If the student is applying to a special disability services program requiring a separate application, they may need to disclose during the application process. Sometimes, this application is not needed until after the student has been accepted to the college.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Should students with learning differences contact the admissions office during the application process? Before applying? After applying?

While learning differences and disability support is mandated by law there will always be variations and each school will operate in its own distinctive way. Consequently, it is best to be sure you are familiar with a school’s approach and procedures before you commit. For a student for whom accommodations will be a part of their experience, it is important to know how it is handled and to feel comfortable with that approach. Be sure to check it out as a part of the initial exploration process, and then nail down any lingering questions as you are making your final decision. It is too important to not be fully aware of how the process operates before you commit to attending.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Should students with learning differences contact the admissions office during the application process? Before applying? After applying?

I am a believer in full disclosure. The "fit" of the college is going to be very important in this situation. If you haven't shared what your needs will be, you may be disappointed to learn that they can't help you. It may be too late to rethink your applications if you get too far down this path. Obviously, if you can manage your learning difference without the assistance of the school, this is not an issue.

Lora Lewis
Educational Consultant Lora Lewis Consulting

Should students with learning differences contact the admissions office during the application process? Before applying? After applying?

This depends on your personal situation. There is no requirement that a student disclose their learning differences, and colleges cannot discriminate against applicants based on their unique learning needs. If it might be helpful to the school to know about your LD when evaluating your application, it could be appropriate to inform them. If not, there is no need to disclose. Students with LD who have questions about a school's services or how to receive services should contact the DSS or Disability Support Services at the college. They will be able to answer all of your questions. If you are not planning to disclose your status to admissions, don't be too concerned that DSS will somehow flag your application or otherwise let admissions know that you are seeking services. The two offices typically operate very separately from one another. Once you've been accepted to a college, it's a good idea to register for the services you are entitled to even if you don't think you'll use them. The first semester of college will be a period of major transition, and you may find that the help you didn't really need in high school is definitely required at the college level. You'll save yourself time and energy if you're already set up to receive services and can begin taking advantage of them as soon as you recognize the need.