It is no secret that I am a strong believer that students with an NVLD and similar disabilities are better suited to attend colleges with comprehensive support services as it increases successful outcomes. It isn’t unusual for these students to face more than academic challenges so they greatly benefit from having daily support. However, I am also realistic. If you’re not dedicated to your studies and achieving personal growth these programs won’t increase your likelihood for success as unlike in high school they won’t track you down.
For example, when I was starting the ARCH program at Dean College our director, Dr. Smith was clear that college was a privilege so your own work ethic determines how much support you will receive from her and the rest of the ARCH team too. I noticed how true this was immediately as did the other dedicated students in the program as her door was always open to us whether we needed her guidance and support or just wanted a friendly conversation. She truly acted like a school counselor to us how she helped make our transition to college an easy one.
Conversely, students who didn’t listen to Dr. Smith’s advice received less support. This resulted in some students dropping out. This appeared to cause some frustration for them and their parents as they had heard that comprehensive support programs increased the likelihood of success. However, since college is a privilege, program directors aren’t required to keep nagging the undedicated students to take advantage of the available support. Therefore more attention and support are provided to the students who possess a great work ethic and high levels of determination.
The Learning Specialists shared the same philosophies as Dr. Smith. Fortunately for me, it worked for my benefit. Since the student right after me rarely showed up to their personalized learning services session, by midterm time I would continue to work with my learning specialist. This was especially helpful if I had a test to study for or a long-term project to work on. As my learning specialist’s focus turn to me as she saw I wanted to succeed in college.
Consequently, it is important to attend each program’s information sessions and once accepted to schedule a personal meeting with each director.. How you connect with each of the comprehensive support program teams can contribute to how much you utilize all the support being offered to you. In addition, knowing upfront about how much support they offer is important too as some expect more independence on the students’ end which some students aren’t ready for so it can negatively affect their study skills. My parents did this with me and it led to me choosing Dean and their ARCH Program because it was clear Dr. Smith’s leadership gave the perfect balance of independence and support. Also, very early on it was clear she was just like my track coach which made maintaining my determination from high school very easy.
That being said, while I understand it can be frustrating when resource room teachers and school counselors appear to know very little about these programs, the truth is this could be because they haven’t had enough students who are highly committed to their studies and growing personally. I personally experienced this frustration as my list of potential programs and schools all came from my parents and Eagle Hill. However, by attending Dean and then Curry I developed more of an understanding of why they chose to not learn about the wonderful schools with comprehensive support as most of their students wouldn’t have been great candidates for these schools as these programs expect you to work very hard and to take advantage of everything being offered to you.
Overall it is important to understand yourself as a student and your goals for college. The comprehensive support programs are only worth the investment if you are willing to take advantage of all the resources and support being offered to you. This was why Dean worked out so well for me as I attended all components of the program and wouldn’t hesitate to ask for assistance if I needed it. Whereas the students who didn’t do this ended up falling through the cracks and missed out on having the opportunity to really succeed. So please when searching for colleges with comprehensive support make sure you are willing to work hard to succeed.
Eileen is a Project Social Ambassador and blogger for The NVLD Project. She loves helping others understand they can achieve their goals and dreams through hard work and dedication.