Boston Area College Visits: Learning Support profile
Diane explored some of the Boston area schools early October and experienced the beauty of New England during the fall. Below are some interesting facts about each school and some information about the level of support offered on campus for students with documented learning differences.
BOSTON AREA SCHOOLS
Boston College is located in Chestnut Hill, MA, in the outskirts of Boston at the end of the Green “B” trolley line, making it easily accessible to downtown. The campus is gorgeous with stately buildings reminiscent of European castles. Boston College is a Catholic university and follows the Jesuit tradition. Students who attend BC are polite, caring, well-dressed, and well-spoken individuals in addition to being excellent students.
The level of support at Boston College is coordinated services. Qualified students with learning differences are encouraged to disclose their LD either in an essay or in the “additional information” section of the Common Application. They can also submit their documentation at the time of application. This information will be shared with the Conners Family Learning Center. Students will not be denied admission if they fulfill the qualifications for admissions. If a student appears to be borderline for admission, their application is reviewed by a special committee who advises admissions about the student’s chance of success if admitted. This can be advantageous to a student who truly has the ability to be at Boston College.
Their signature program is the their cooperative learning or“co-op”. The students can spend up to three six-month periods working full time, often for pay. While participating in the co-op the students do not have to pay tuition, but they are still considered a full-time student. Because of the working component, many Northeastern students complete their college experience in five years, but will pay the same tuition as the four years, room and board is an additional cost. However, last year Northeastern announced that they are moving to a four year option as well.
Northeastern offers a comprehensive, fee for service program for students with documented learning disabilities through the Disability Resource Center. They can meet with a learning specialist at least two times a week to receive tutoring and help with study skill strategies. The students get assigned a “Super Advisor” who helps them with course selection. There is a separate application for the program and an interview with the director is required.
Mount Ida is a small (1500 students), supportive college located in Newton, Massachusetts. It offers both Associate Degrees and Bachelor Degrees and blends pre-professional and liberal arts. The largest major is Veterinary Technology with a brand new, five million dollar facility on campus. Some other interesting majors are Bereavement Studies and Funeral Home Management, Hospitality Management, Sports Management and Equine Management.
Mount Ida offers a comprehensive, fee based, learning support service called the Learning Opportunities Program (LOP) for students with documented learning disabilities. A noteworthy fact for the school is that they do not require a foreign language for admissions nor is foreign language required as part of the curriculum. The student life is a little quiet on the weekends; many students work or go home. There is no Greek Life on campus.
Dean is a “small, caring college that bridges the leap between high school and university by offering two year and limited BA degree programs.” They are currently petitioning to increase the number of BA programs. Located about 50 minutes outside of Boston in the town of Franklin, it is a very pretty New England campus. The student body appeared friendly and down to earth.
The strength of Dean lies in their Academic Support Services. They provide personalized advising and support to all students and have many options to choose from.
Personalized Learning Service (PLS): The specialized program for students with documented learning differences Learning Labs: small group tutoring for students who need additional help with a content course with a professional academic coach
ARCH: for students with learning differences and/or ADHD who need intensive academic skill development
Disability Support Services: For students who need accommodations only
Pathway Learning Community: one semester program to assist students who are not LD during the transition to college
The campus is located in the lovely Beacon Hill section of Boston and is strictly a city campus. It is a medium sized school, approximately 5,000 students. An interesting option for incoming freshman is to study abroad at their campus in Madrid, for the first semester. The top third of the incoming class receives this invitation and about 30-40 students take advantage of this opportunity. The school attracts a more “practical” student, a student who will work a few jobs while attending school.
WORCESTER AREA SCHOOLS
Clark University, one of 40 schools included in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” is located in Worcester, MA, a small, urban city. Clark, is known for the close relationship between students and professors who promote student success. 2,200 undergraduate students and 750 graduate students. Clark’s pedagogy is based on 3 basic principles: “Learn Through Inquiry,” “Make a Difference,” and “Experience Diverse Cultures.” Clark is a great school for students who are bright but need a nurturing environment with small class sizes and positive interaction with professors in order to strengthen their skills and find success.
The level of support at Clark can be categorized as coordinated services. Students with documented learning disabilities, who are able to self-advocate can avail themselves of services such as help with course selection and advisement, one-on-one meetings with professional staff, tutoring (for a fee), and note takers which can be arranged.
Professors send mid-semester progress reports to the Office of Disability Services so that struggling students can work on improving their grades, however students must take initiative with all of the services provided.
Becker College is a small college with 1,739 students, 1200 of whom are full-time, located in a suburban part of Worcester, MA. Tree lined streets and lovely older homes surround the campus. Both two and four year degrees are offered. There is also a second campus in Leicester, MA, a more rural setting, that houses the veterinary science program, the equestrian program and athletic fields. Housing is offered on both campuses. Leicester offers more traditional dorm style living while Worcester residence halls are in large homes.
The level of support at Becker can be categorized as coordinated services. Services for students with documented learning disabilities are offered on both campuses through the “CLC” or Collaborative Learning Center. Accommodations offered include extended time on tests, distraction free testing environment, and the opportunity to work with learning specialists.