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College Counselor: My daughter has LD

Q: Will college admissions personnel take my daughter's learning disability into account when reading her application? Or will revealing it hurt her chances of getting in?

A: It takes all kinds of learners to make a school community, and if your daughter has the attributes, skills, and experiences that will make her a positive addition to a college, that's what will count. A learning disability, in itself, will not make her ineligible for college.

A learning disability is like any other disability -- and it is illegal to discriminate against applicants with disabilities. But she will need to show that she is able to do the work. Students with various disabilities are admitted to an array of colleges all the time; but they not are admitted because of the disability. They are admitted as a result of demonstrating that they have been able to master academic skills.

It's important to let colleges know about the disability. If your daughter has been receiving services in high school, you'll want her to have them in college. Many colleges do a terrific job of providing support services for students such as readers and note-takers, extended time on exams, converting textbook and articles into Braille, and academic counseling. Some colleges do a more thorough job of this than others, and many times the extra services come with an extra price tag. You will have to do some research on this.

A thoughtful reader has sent us a link to an online article about colleges for students with special needs (on the website, "Best Colleges Online"} with details about good programs. Among the local schools listed is Hofstra University, whose PALS program has an excellent reputation. The list in the article is not comprehensive, and there are many other colleges, both public and private, offering support services for students with learning and other disabilities.

You will have to ask each college about services for students with disabilities; these will often be listed under titles such as "Office of Special Services" or "Student Support Services." CUNY has an "Office of Accessibility."

Another article lists colleges that provide special support for students with autism. These include Drexel, Rutgers, St. Joseph's University (Philadelphia), Boston University, the University of Connecticut, and the U of Arizona's SALT program. Locally, there are Fairleigh Dickinson in New Jersey, and the BOSS (Build on Special Strengths) program at Pace University.

Students with learning disabilities have to work extra hard for their accomplishments. All good wishes to your daughter in finding a college, or colleges, that will help her to reach her goals.

Last modified on Monday, 01 April 2013 12:09

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