College is attainable for students with learning differences and special needs. Most colleges are prepared to accept and support students with learning, physical, and mental challenges.  In fact, schools such as Carnegie Mellon and Marshall will provide coordination of care options for students on the autism spectrum.

 

While most colleges have disability offices where students can secure help in accessing the school's curriculum and activities (note taking, transportation, preferential seating, etc.), it's important to know that colleges are not under the same obligation as K-12 schools to provide students with support.  In order to access special services, students must be able to ask for and justify what they need.  There are two key elements to the success of students with learning differences and special needs:

 

Plan ahead:

 

Before heading off to school, find the exact location of the Disability Office and the best method to contact them.  Get to know someone in the office before arriving on campus.

 

Students who have received services through an IEP or 524 program in high school, should retain all of their paperwork, including medical records.  These documents will help justify a request for services. 

 

Self-Advocate:

      

The best way for students to get what they need is to speak up.  Whenever possible, we recommend that students openly identify their learning differences and special needs and learn to communicate exactly what issues arise from them.   The clearer students can be with the administration, the better the administration can respond.

 

Students must self-advocate beyond the disabilities office.  A student speaking to professors directly about his needs will often be key to making a class work for him.  The same goes for fellow students.  Social success is far more likely if a student is comfortable in his own skin, and puts those around him at ease.

 

Handling these interactions face-to-face may not be right for every student.  Sometimes it’s easier to put things in writing or have letters sent on one's behalf.  Ultimately, only you will know your own best course of action.  As long as it involves asking for what you want, you’ll be ahead of the game.

 

The following are just a few of the many websites that feature information about schools that offer disability services.  Check these out and do your own more directed Google searches.

 

CollegeAutismSpectrum.com

 

RiseScholarshipFoundation.org

 

CollegeAcademicSupport.com

Our Take

"Thank you for helping me to receive the opportunity to go to such a great school.  I appreciate your help more than you know!"
 

-Alexis

UC Berkeley

 

"Thank you for all of your help and support.  I would never have been able to do it without you."

 

-Allison

University of Pennsylvania

Class of 2021

 

"The BIGGEST heartfelt thank you.  We dropped our daughter off at college today.  University of Hartford.  FULL RIDE.  We truly believe that the help you provided her with was a significant part of this achievement."

 

-Tom and Cristina,

parents of Ruby

University of Hartford

Class of 2019

 

"I got into UCLA!!!  I want to say thank you.  I couldn't have done it without you."

 

-Devon

Transfer to UCLA

Class of 2018

 

"My son applied to 13 schools.  EVERY letter referenced what a great essay he had.  I know if he hadn't worked with College Fit 360, that wouldn't be the case."

 

-Shari, mother of William

Washington University in St. Louis

Class of 2019

 

"What is cool and impressive is your commitment to the kids

and caring about them."

 

-Jan, mother of Jake

Taking a gap year

 

“I just heard that I HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED TO WELLESLEY COLLEGE!!!!!  Thank you so much for everything you guys have done to help me have the options that I have right now…”

 

 -Robin

 Wellesley College, Class of 2018

College Support for Students with Learning Differences and Special Needs