College Admission Tips for Students with Learning Disabilities

written by: Jed Geary
Many of these tips can be applied to all students applying to college; however, there are a few tips that are specific to students diagnosed with a specific learning disability.
  1. Get good grades in the most challenging courses that are appropriate. Do an honor's project or take IB or AP classes if offered; do anything you can to show colleges that you like to be challenged and are curious academically.
  1. Be involved in extracurricular activities. Long-term commitment to a few activities is better than limited experience in many activities. Colleges want to see the leadership skills that come from years of experience compared to a longer list of activities with only limited exposure.
  1. Write a quality essay. While it should be proofread, it should also have a student's voice. Admissions counselors read essays for a living; they know when an adult has had too much of a hand in the essay.
  1. Do your best on the ACT/SAT. If the tests don't reflect your ability, state your case in your application and ask your counselor to state this in his/her counselor evaluation. Also, consider schools that don't require tests in admissions.
  1. Assess the support services offered by the college. This should take place prior to submitting an application. On the application, expressing in detail your knowledge of the services offered at the college and how that's a good match for you will help assuage any concerns they may have about your academic ability and diligence.
  1. Demonstrate your ownership of the application process. Colleges and universities want students who are eager to own their education, not students they have to coddle or who will rely too much on their parents or counselors. Here are some ways to demonstrate ownership:
               a. Call the college or go online to sign up for admission tours.
               b. Follow up with the college to ensure your application is complete.
               c. Take the lead in conversations with the admissions representative at college fairs.
               d. Prove that you don't need your parent to take over the application process for you.
  1. Demonstrate an awareness of your learning challenges and how you intend to address those areas of need with the strategies you have developed along with the help of their support services/faculty.
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Learning Diversity is a blog hosted by Eagle Hill School where educators, students, and other members of the LD community regularly contribute posts and critical essays about learning and living in spaces that privilege the inevitability of human diversity.

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