Many students with learning challenges have questions about college so it is truly helpful to understand the 9 best ways to transition from high school to college with learning differences.

 Students with learning differences have Individual Education Programs that identify specific diagnoses and the state appropriates accommodations to level the playing field and give each individual ways to reach their full academic potential.

Along the way, these students have had cheerleaders as professionals cheering them on and motivating them to succeed to the best of their ability.

That is why when it comes time to move on to college, students need the 9 best ways to transition from high school to college with learning differences and keep these items in mind at all times.

During high school, your child had assistance in time management, organization and planning, initiation of assigned tasks and checkpoints ensuring completion of these tasks.

They have also been provided with word banks, study guides, readers when necessary, books on tapes, calculators, scribes and numerous tools that have fostered their skill set and academic performance.

However, once it is time for college, these very students who have successfully negotiated and navigated their way through high school now need to prepare for how they are going to self-advocate for their individual needs in an environment without an Individual Education Program or IEP plan.

If your child has a learning difference, transitioning from high school to college can be seamless if preparation and protocol is followed.

9 Best Ways to Transition from High School to College with Learning Differences

  1. The key to a successful transition is communication and transparency.

Once accepted and committed to a college, students need to obtain a current psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluation.

2. Evaluations older than three years are not considered current. Then, they need to notify Student Disabilities Services on Campus.

This conversation is best taking place prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

3. Planning and implementation of specific accommodations as well as the selection of appropriate courses is essential.

4. By partnering with Disability Services, qualified students will receive equal access to their education, appropriate accommodations and assistance in ways to self-advocate.

5. At most colleges and universities, students will be asked to complete an ADA Intake Form.

ADA stands for the American Disability Act and by filling out this form; students begin the process to receive individual accommodations based upon recommendations made in their formal evaluations. This is one of the 9 best ways to transition from high school to college with learning differences.

The Intake Form asks what accommodations are being requested.

Common requests include; extended time, preferential seating, taking tests in a quiet and separate location, books on tape and use of a calculator.

There is another section on The Intake Form that asks students to describe how their disability “Currently impacts and substantially limits your academic work, class schedule, class location and/or residential living situation.”

It also asks to, “Include previous accommodations received plus accommodations that you think you will need on a college level.”

6. Colleges often provide an orientation prior to the start of school as a means for students to settle in and meet people prior to the arrival of the full student body and the commencement of classes.

It is during this time that new students and their parents can make appointments with the office of Student Disability Services, and receive guidance from a counselor who has had the opportunity to read and review individual formal evaluations and Intake Forms.

Make Specific Requests for Accommodations During Orientation

7. During the course of this conversation, specific requests for accommodations can be made. This conversation is critical to a child’s success and makes it part of the 9 best ways to transition from high school to college with learning differences.

A discussion will then ensue with other members on the Committee of students with disabilities, and in a short amount of time, students will receive written notification explicitly stating what accommodations have been approved.

8. It is important that students maintain copies of their accommodation letter. “At the beginning of each term, a student must request their accommodation letters for faculty, staff and campus officials.

The student will deliver the accommodation letters in a timely manner prior to the need of the accommodation.

Accommodations are not retroactive, so students are encouraged to request accommodation letters the first week of classes.

Accommodations are in place only after the student notifies the instructor and discusses arrangements to be made.”

9. In addition to specific accommodations being given to qualified students, college professors, writing centers, and learning excellent programs are available on campuses allowing additional support for each and every student who seeks guidance.

Following the 9 best ways to transition from high school to college with learning differences will allow for the most success.

Dana Stahl is an educational consultant and learning specialist who has a history of being learning disabled herself.

She became a learning specialist to assist children with learning issues find compensatory strategies to reach their social-emotional and academic potential.

Dana’s practice, Educational Alternatives LLC focuses on educational advise, advocacy and school placements.

Recently, Dana wrote The ABCs of Learning Issues, a Parent and Teacher Choice Award-winning book, which is a a practical guide for parents to help them further understand their children’s learning, attention and anxiety issues. This book bridges the home-school gap by demystifying areas of concerns and captures how parents and educators can work together guiding children to reach their full potential. The ABCs of Learning Issues is available in English and Spanish through Amazon.

Parents can visit her website to ask confidential questions and concerns regarding their children through the AskDana component on my website.

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