For our experienced consultants, selecting a college is about finding the right fit for an individual student. With thousands of two- and four-year institutions, there is something for everyone. Students and their parents should not be swayed by well-known names or stories of friends of friends— they should take the time to research and visit schools to make sure they fit the student’s academic, social, and learning needs. It is important to not pick a school that is over the student’s head academically even if the student is accepted as students with learning challenges usually need to work harder and longer than their peers.
We always advise students to find out about the learning support on campus. If the college simply complies with the ADA law but doesn’t offer learning services, the student should look elsewhere. A wide variety of supports are available for students with documented learning disabilities such as extended time, a distraction-reduced testing environment, and assistive technology for reading and writing. Some colleges offer one-to-one tutoring; others offer group study sessions. Mentoring and coaching are also provided on some campuses.
If the student needs a coach or several tutors in high school, a college with a comprehensive learning program might be the right fit. These fee-based programs provide students with individual, regular meetings with a learning specialist. If a student needs more time to hone academic skills, a developmental program that provides a bridge between high school and college could be a good choice.
Once the student completes the research and has a college list in hand, it’s time for college visits. Spring break works well for most students as a starting point; for shy students, the first visits can take place over summer when campuses are fairly quiet. On the college tour, the student should visit the learning center and make sure that it is inviting, well staffed, and equipped with the right technology and resources.
All students should plan to revisit their top choices, sit in on some classes, spend a full day on campus, eat a meal or two, and possibly stay over. Students should feel secure with the learning support and confident that they can interact with professors, make friends, and look forward to calling this campus “home” for the next four years.
Yes, there’s a lot to think about and accomplish, but we will help develop a strong and workable college plan. High school is more than simply time for college preparation. Students should be encouraged to enjoy high school; parents should take the opportunity to enjoy their students before they finally leave home.