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7 Things to Think about When Looking for Colleges with Learning and Attention Issues

By Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos, Understood.org

You may be drawn to the excitement of a city or the quiet of a rural campus. But if you have learning and attention issues, you’ll want to take some time to consider these important factors.

  • Level of Support. How much learning support do you need? A number of colleges are aimed at students with learning and attention issues. But all colleges provide some level of support for students with documented disabilities. Some colleges have formal programs with classes in topics like note-taking and time management. These often cost extra. Some schools offer support through their disability services office at no cost. Some have learning centers with staff trained in helping students with learning and attention issues. Others provide only what’s required by law.
  • Services Offered. Colleges that offer a high level of support often provide a greater variety of services. Possible services may include note-taking support, testing accommodations, assistive technology and training, extended time, and help with writing, organization, and studying.
  • Size Versus Services. At a smaller college, it may be easier to talk directly to professors and staff members about what you need. But a small school may not offer the services you’re looking for. Or they may not offer as many courses in topics you’re interested in.
  • Distance. The farther away you are from home, the more you’ll have to independently figure out the details of college, such as signing up for classes or discussing an issue with your roommate. Do you feel confident about this? Can the school offer support? Would you be more comfortable if you were close enough to go home on weekends now and then?
  • Campus Social Scene. The level of social activity can have a big impact, depending on which areas are more challenging for you. If you struggle with focus or with time management, an active social scene may be distracting. It may be easier to make friends or find activities you’ll enjoy at one college versus another. Current or former students can tell you about the campus social life. You can also ask the admissions staff about campus groups or activities. Some colleges make a bigger effort than others to draw kids out and encourage them to get involved.
  • Course Load and Requirements. It’s not that common, but some schools may let you take a reduced course load. They may let you waive or substitute certain required courses and may let you have priority registration.
  • Student Support Activities or Groups. Support groups can give students with learning and attention issues a place to talk about their concerns. Leadership and mentoring programs can help you find other students with similar challenges. You won’t be the only student on campus with learning and attention issues!

Reprinted courtesy of Understood.org © 2014 Understood, LLC. All rights reserved.

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