LD College Visits
For a student with learning differences, finding a college with the necessary accommodations and academic support services is important to his/her academic success. All colleges must grant accommodations to students who present the necessary documentation as mandated by ADA and Section 504. However, services at the post-secondary level vary widely and can be grouped into three categories: minimal, moderate, and comprehensive program.
The colleges with this level of support offer basic accommodations services, such as extended time and note takers, for students that have learning differences and/or ADHD. Colleges grant accommodations to students who present up to date supporting documentation. However, often colleges with minimal services do not have staff members who specialize in learning disabilities and/or ADHD.
The colleges with moderate services offer moderate support to eligible students. The department has at least one learning disabilities professional on staff. Services include all the accommodations offered at the minimal services level and may include other services such as study skills workshops, pre-registration, and regular one-on-one academic advising.
The colleges with comprehensive programs offer the most support services for students with learning differences and are staffed by learning disabilities professionals. There is often a separate application, required interview, and an additional fee.
When planning your college visits, it is advisable to schedule a meeting with the director or a staff member of the college’s disabilities services department. Be certain to contact the office that will direct your student’s needs. Often there are different departments for physical disabilities, psychological disabilities, learning disabilities, and ADHD.
Below are sample questions that will help you gather information from your visit.
- What are your guidelines for documentation?
- How are accommodations granted?
- What accommodations and services are available?
- Distraction free/or distraction reduced testing
- Use of calculators
- Adaptive technology (Kurzweil, Inspiration)
- Extended time for assignments/tests
- Support groups
- Priority registration
- Professional tutors
- Peer tutors
- Academic advising
- Is there informal coaching?
- What is the application process for your program or services? (This varies widely from school to school)
- How long has the program been in existence?
- How many students are receiving services?
- Is there a fee for services?
- How often does the student meet with their advisor/counselor?
- Does your institution offer substitutions or waivers for foreign language or math courses? If so, what documentation is required? What is the process?
- Do you offer study skills and/or learning strategies courses? Are they offered for credit?
- Does the college offer summer jump-start programs before a student’s freshman year?
- Do you expect any changes in your support services in the near future?
- The Princeton Review: The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- The College Source Book for Students with Learning and Developmental Differences, by Midge Lipkin