Questions To Ask During The College Search
By Lauren L. Leavitt, M.S.Ed.

 

Finding the right college is very important for every student. Finding the right match for a student with a learning difference is particularly important. It is critical that a student with a learning difference choose a postsecondary setting that will help that individual maximize his or her potential.

 

It is important to start the college search looking at the same factors that all students consider. Size, geographic location, selection of majors, admissions requirements, cost, resources, athletics and social activities, are important features of a college experience. Once these things are considered it is time to ask the following questions:

  1. Is there a separate admissions process for LD students?

  2. What documentation is required? Are accommodation determinations based on the high school IEP recommendations?

  3. Is there a separate LD program?

  4. Are there selective criteria for admission to the LD program?

  5. Is there a separate fee for enhanced LD services?

  6. How many LD students do you serve?

  7. What is your retention rate for all freshmen? For LD students?

  8. What is your graduation rate for all students? For LD students?

  9. Does your institution offer remedial and/or developmental courses for credit towards graduation?

  10. Does your institution offer substitutions for foreign language or math courses? If so, what documentation is required? What is the process?

  11. Do you ever offer waivers? Under what circumstances?

  12. Do you have staff members trained in the area of learning differences?

  13. What is the LD counselor/student ratio?

  14. How long does a student wait to get in to see a counselor ( a day, a week..)?

  15. How do you handle emergencies? Are there walk-in hours?

  16. How are testing accommodations handled? If I qualify to take my exams with extended time how much time can I have? Where do I take the test? What if my exam is in the evening and your office is closed? If I need a distraction free space will I always get it?

  17. What services do you offer?

  • tape recorders

  • alternative forms of testing

  • note taker

  • option to tape lectures

  • extended time on exams

  • reading machines

  • typing services

  • taped textbooks

  • computer availability

  • distraction free space

  • support groups

  • calculator use during exams

  • priority registration

  • study groups

  1. Do you offer tutoring? If so, is it offered by:

  • LD Specialist

  • Faculty Member

  • Graduate Assistant

  • Peer Tutor

  • Paraprofessional

  1. Are tutors trained to work with LD students?

  2. Is there a fee for tutoring?

  3. Do you offer career planning? Can graduates use career services?

  4. Does the academic adviser work in tandem with the LD specialist?

  5. Do you offer study skills and/or learning strategies courses? Are they offered for credit?

  6. What is the climate on your campus for LD students?

  7. Do you expect the services that you are telling me about today to ALL be here in the Fall?

  8. Are there regular workshops for faculty members about working with LD students?

  9. How many complaints do you get from students about faculty or staff members in a year? How are they handled?

  10. Does your campus have an ADA/504 Compliance Officer?

  11. Have any lawsuits or OCR complaints been filed against your campus?

  12. Is there strong support from the faculty members and administration for this program?

 

Please keep in mind that many schools are offering good services in decentralized programs. If a campus has an individual in charge of working with LD students, tutoring for all students and individual attention from faculty members, it may meet the needs of some students. Not all campuses have LD Programs, however, all must have at least mandated services. A student seldom needs fewer services than he or she received in high school. Look for a program that addresses the student's needs and help the student to be realistic!