Learning Disabilities

 

WHAT TO DO WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL…IN PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE…

 

1) Know your learning disability.

What is it?  How does it manifest itself?  What are your learning strengths?  Challenged areas?  What strategies work for you?  Which do not?  Pick the minds of your teachers, parents, guidance counselor and school psychologist for this information.  Attend your Annual Individual Education Plan meeting!  It’s your life and you will very soon be taking on the responsibility for knowing this information.

 

2) Grades/levels trade-off: Take college-prep level courses as much as possible, even if you get a B- instead of an A.

Basic level courses will not prepare you academically (even with excellent grades). Admissions Offices are looking for a college prep level courses on your H.S. transcript.

 

3) Examine the amount of special education services you have been receiving. Find your “critical threshold” for support.

If it’s a lot of service, push yourself a little and see if you can survive with a little less (while still giving you adequate support).  Colleges – even ones with comprehensive services – invariably cannot offer the same level of service as that received in H.S.  What is “nice to have” vs. what is essential for academic survival?

 

4) Update the testing if necessary.

Testing should be no more than three years old; some schools ask for material no more than two years old.  Junior year is a good time to begin arrangements.  Find out from the colleges you are potentially applying to what kind and type of documentation they need before you arrange for testing, and then speak to your high school guidance office.  They may or may not be able to provide exactly what the college asks for and it will be your responsibility, not the high school’s to comply.

 

5) Visit the college(s) of your choice.

Either late junior year or during senior year, visit the Admissions Office and the office providing special services.  Interview them as much as they interview you.  They may have the learning disabilities support you want, but do they have the sports?  The major?  The student life?

 

Remember, when researching schools of interest, there’s a big difference between services and programs for students with learning disabilities. If you go through the above exercise you will be able to determine what you will need for help and can incorporate that into your decision making process. Or if you are unsure of the differences or want to know what questions you should be asking the colleges, then give College Planning Solutions® at call at 781.681.9411.

 

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