College Admissions & College Success – SAT/ACT Accommodations & Learning Disabilities
Greetings Students and Families,
Many teens are diagnosed with learning and emotional disabilities– some requiring accommodations. I partner with various providers and their families to understand and navigate a myriad of issues that surface relating to course selection in high school and college, college applications, college essays and having high school accommodations extended to SAT, ACT, AP and IB exams. Learning and preparing to navigate seamlessly through school and the workplace requires support that allows each student to feel confident and ready to embrace their path in meaningful, joyous and impactful ways.
It’s fairly routine to have your student tested for and receive Accommodations for any potential learning disabilities — ranging from testing anxiety, ADHD/ADD, dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Executive Dysfunctioning, Dysgraphia and others. Begin with a conversation with your family physician for an appropriate referral to a specialist. Early assessment and evaluation are essential to building a plan for your student to manage and navigate their educational path with ease. There are a myriad of special educational services available to students at all levels of education. In middle and high school, some parents are unnecessarily concerned about a perceived stigma and the impact on college applications. Rest assured – college applications do NOT entail nor require submitting any information about your student’s medical records, accommodations or anything remotely related to personal information outside of any voluntary information a student might want to reveal in a personal college admissions essay.
Accommodations in High School: SAT/ACT
SAT and ACT Testing Accommodations for Learning Disabilities
College Essays– Should You Discuss Your Disability?
The short answer- it depends! The Common App prompts have been fairly predicable and remain relatively unchanged for 2021-22- (there’s a new prompt on “kindness”). REgardless of the prompt you select each of the 7 available choices are all essentially the same version of the same question requiring students to respond to a prompt that reveals for the reader how a student navigated high school to share a story about family, school, travels, work or personal interests in a way that shares sufficient information demonstrating your strengths, character, vision and the person you will be joining the freshman and campus community. So…..Is your disability a defining aspect of your persona? Is this the best topic you want to be recognized/known for? If you strongly see your disability as defining – then clearly , write about it. Chances are, even the “struggle” you may have encountered is less important to understanding how you fit into the campus than some other life experiences you might share. Let’s discuss!
Accommodations in College: Extending your High School IEP/504 Plan into College
Colleges recognize that a growing and significant part of the college-aged student population have documented learning disabilities. The range of support services offered to students has increased dramatically in the past two decades. Since students are residential – the range of support services oftens exceeds what was made available to students during middle and high school. Assistance ranges from counseling services, residential dorms with designated staff to classroom accommodations such as those encountered prior to college including taped lectures, extended time on exams and isolated/distracted free testing.
If you qualify for support at the high school level and had a IEP or 504 Plan in place, once you’ve committed to enroll at college, you’ll receive a host of information, including medical forms (vaccine records, medical information, release etc) that provide details on accommodations. The college maintains a disabilities service office and it’s there where the student will provide documentation (if testing was more than “X” years ago you may need to revalidate the disability) of the learning disability and begin the process of securing the accommodations for housing and instructional /classroom issues. If your student does qualify for support, you will want to be very thorough in exploring the available services at every college on your list. All colleges will be able to provide routine accommodations including extended time and special testing arrangements. Not all colleges have the resources or reach to provide other services including taped lectures or more complex issues. Regarding dorms, students who may need a single dorm room should make sure that the freshman dorms do offer this option to students.
SAT AND ACT TESTING AND DISABILITY ACCOMMODATIONS:
Colleges Offering Strong Support for Students with Learning Disabilities
There are many universities offering support services, but some colleges are well known as providing stronger services and attention. If you qualify for support, it’s important to incorporate this factor into your consideration of universities. If possible, during your campus visit, stop in at the LD support office and discuss the opportunities for support offered to undergraduate students.
American University, University of Arizona, Bard, Beacon, Clark, UC-Boulder, University of Denver, DePaul,Fairleigh Dickinson, University of Georgia, Lynn, Manhattanviille, Marist, Marymount, Mercyhurst, University of New England, Northeastern, Purdue, Rochester Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, Vermont
IEP vs 504 Plans
The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a student with a disability identified under the law who is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.
504 Plan Defined
The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a student with a diagnosed disability identified under the law receives accommodations fostering academic success and access to the learning environment.
All student who have disabilities don’t necessarily require specialized instruction.
Your courses and extracurricular experiences throughout high school may be impacted by your situation – and your college plan, including testing and finding the right campus “fit” are unique. Please reach out to discuss your unique situation.
DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGIC EDUCATIONAL & COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PLAN FOR SUCCESS? ARE YOU ON TARGET?
Your Personalized Educational and College Admissions Plan Results in Motivated, Self-Directed & Confident Young Adults Ready to Succeed!
Based in Boca Raton in South Florida, and Boulder/ Denver, Colorado Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD provides comprehensive educational planning and college application advising to students in-person and remotely throughout the US.
With over thirty years of experience as a university professor & admissions committee member you’re invited to leverage her extensive knowledge of university curricula and career opportunities to BUILD YOUR COLLEGE PLAN!.
Professor Emeritus –