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How to Prepare your LD Student for College

By Judith Greenberg, Ph.D.
President, School Finders, LLC

With fortitude, accommodations and professional testing, your child is almost ready to graduate from high school and the whole family feels the relief. Don't put your feet up; don't plan a vacation yet because it is now time to get serious about selecting the right college for your learner. By now, your student should have a good sense of how he or she learns best and how to prioritize time to maximize results in the way of grades. College is a different routine than high school. Whether public, private or home school, high school brings the services and accommodations to the student. College does not, each student needs to be an advocate and ask for each service, accommodation, tutor, or for testing extra time.

How do you and your senior find the best college when so many say, "we have a program and services for LD students"? The programs vary greatly from minimal peer tutoring to math and writing centers, unlimited professional tutoring, preferential registration and quiet test rooms. Websites may mention the information but the following steps and questions should be asked before applying to a college. Call the admissions office and speak with the director of the learning program for the campus. Schedule an appointment if that is the only way to reach the right person and then the student should find out:

  • If I've had an IEP (or 504) all through high school, what do you need me to supply in order for me to have services and accommodations at your college.
  • Do you require recent testing? How recent?
  • Does the testing need to be through IDEA or ADA or is that not an issue*?
  • How many hours are tutors available? Is there a limit to the number of hours per week per student?
  • Is my advisor trained to work with students with LD issues?
  • Will my advisor help me pre-register?
  • Can I take tests orally, by computer, have extended time, with a reader or any other aid you need such as a scribe, calculator, speech-checker, tape recording and so on?
  • Are there distraction-free environments?
  • Are there add costs for the services I need?
  • Will my professors be notified of my LD/ADHD and is the notification done by the student or the program Director?
  • Are course substitutions allowed?
  • Is any other assistive technology or human professional help available that I have not already asked you about?

You get what you ask for and colleges encourage you to ask so do not let yourself down by waiting for help, go get it !

* The testing is the same; the language to explain the results is different based on either Individuals with Disabilities Act or Americans with Disabilities Act. A good psychological tester can write two reports form the same test results and you'll have what you need for each college's requirements.

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help people find the right help for their special needs children and teens. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, type of special education professional, specific special education professional, or educational methods.

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