What to Ask When Choosing a College
Find the best college or university to meet your needs.
- Is there a separate procedure for admission to the learning disability program?
- Are SAT or ACT examinations required?
- Are non-standard SATs accepted?
- What documentation is required for admission to the learning disability program in addition to standard requirements?
- Is a personal interview required?
- Is any special testing required? If so, what are the tests and who must administer the testing? How recent do tests have to be?
- When is the best time to apply? Is there a cut-off date?
- When can I expect to hear of my acceptance or rejection?
- How is an admission decision reached?
- What are the admission criteria for transfer students?
Questions About the College or University
- What courses of study are offered?
- Do these meet your goals and abilities?
- What is the average class size?
- Is there a wide range of academic choices in the college or university?
- How much time is spent in each class?
- What percentage of the faculty is full-time or permanent as opposed to part-time adjuncts? (Having many part-time instructors may indicate that extra help, availability during office hours, and faculty advising may not be readily available or adequate to best serve the needs of students with learning disabilities.)
- What grade point average must a student maintain to stay in the college or university?
- Are there course modifications for students with learning disabilities?
- What social and co-curricular activities are available?
- Are the dorms suitable for your social and emotional needs?
- Have you visited the college and talked with students?
- Do faculty welcome and respect students with learning disabilities?
Questions for Learning Disability Programs
- Are there individual and group tutorials?
- Are tutorials scheduled to fit into the student’s program?
- Are additional tutorial sessions provided based on a student’s needs? Or is there only a drop-in service?
- Are tutorials conducted by educators with advanced degrees?
- Are program services offered in a central location?
- Are resources coordinated to meet the individual student’s needs or must the students advocate for their own needs?
- Do program personnel have ongoing relationships with faculty to sensitize them to students’ needs?
- Is the staff available on short notice?
- Are alternative modifications for academic performance available and delivered systematically (i.e., not left solely for the student to request)? Examples:
- Books on tape
- Recorded lectures
- A standardized procedure for extended time tests
- Courses or workshops to help writers with learning disabilities succeed in required college English composition courses
- Are students mainstreamed in all college courses?
- Is the program flexible in its theoretical educational approaches to helping the student with learning disabilities? Or is it locked in to one theoretical framework?
- Is a summer diagnostic-experiential program required?
- What criteria are used to evaluate the student’s performance during the diagnostic period?
- Are the student’s social and emotional needs addressed?
- Do certified professional social workers (or psychologists) meet with students individually or in groups?
- Are support services required or left to the student’s discretion?
- What services are available for career advising?
- How are parents’ concerns and questions addressed?
- Is there a multidisciplinary team to coordinate academic and social/emotional interventions?
- Is there ongoing professional supervision of tutors (i.e., peers, educators, mentors, educational therapists, special education teachers) and counselors (social workers)?
- What is the ratio of professionals to students in the program?
Policy and Procedures
- Is a representative from the program available to answer all your questions clearly and thoroughly?
- How many students are in the program?
- What do students pay for support services? Are these charges considered in the school’s financial aid packet?
- Will part of the services be paid by health insurance?
- How are transfer students integrated into the program’s services?
- Does the official transcript respect student’s confidentiality by not revealing that students have participated in a special learning disabilities program?
- How long does a student stay in the program? (Some schools offer services for a limited period while others are available as long as the student needs them.)
- Is the program available to graduate students?
Questions for Schools That Do Not Have Learning Disability Programs
List the services you will need, and ask for specific details about how you would receive these. (Whom to see, what are the services, when are they given and by whom, and where are they provided?)
- Are these services available without fee?
- What documentation of your learning disability is required?
- Who is responsible for coordinating services for students with learning disabilities? Is this a full-time permanent position?
- Does availability of these services depend on the enlightenment and goodwill of each instructor or is it established by school policy?
- How hard must students advocate for themselves to get special services?
- How many students with learning disabilities are in the school?
- Are faculty responsive to the needs of students with learning disabilities?
- Is there a learning center where content tutoring is available for all students?