You’ll want to visit/contact the office of Disability Services at each college to which you’re thinking of applying and check out the services that they offer. While every college is required to provide accommodations according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the quality of support can vary widely. Depending on the type of learning differences you have and the accommodations required, you may want to select colleges that have comprehensive programs (often at an additional cost), but not necessarily. Many students with learning differences thrive at colleges of all kinds. One key will be for you to be proactive and advocate for yourself. If you find that difficult to do, check out some of the comprehensive programs (e.g. University of Arizona’s S.A.L.T., University of Denver’s LEP, Hofstra’s PALs, etc.) on the University Web Sites.
While the fundamental application process is no different, but students with learning differences 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 active than others. You can get basic information off the school’s website, but you will need to ask questions as well. There are some schools that are making a point of being particularly open to and supportive of students with learning differences—they are seeking to make it their niche–and obviously those schools are ones that student with differences might find particularly attractive all other things being equal. Ultimately, an applicant for whom this is a concern must do their research and ask the right questions.
The college search for a student with learning differences is pretty much the same with the addition of researching the support services available on campus. Some schools will have an actual support office, others an informal list of tutors, some colleges offer writing skiils centers, at some schools the services will be free, at others you may have to pay for certain services. It will be up to you to advocate for yourself, so you may as well begin the process during the search.
Will my disability be taken into consideration when I apply & to what extent, & how will I be accommodated if I enroll?
If you are a student with Learning Differences and/or ADHD, I recommend that you research and visit with the personnel in the departments that provide disability services at the college. These services may be in one department or spread over several departments with names like Disability Support Services, Office of Disability Support, Learning Support Center, and Academic Support Center. Think about what information you need to help you decide whether the program meets your needs.
Before you begin your college search, it’s important to have a very clear, honest idea of who you are as a learner. Work with your family, your teachers, and your resource support to clearly identify your needs and how you learn best. When you begin to explore colleges, do so with the goal of finding those that best meet your unique needs for educational support.
Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.
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