As the new school year begins families with seniors with an NVLD are often faced with many difficult decisions as they consider which college(s) to apply to as college is expensive. Go to a community college that is cheaper but you will be mostly on your own when it comes to receiving support services or be willing to go to a college that has a comprehensive support programs that assists those on campus who have a disability? While there is no right or wrong answer there are things to consider.
Academically, at community colleges, it is often up to you to connect with the office that assists students with disabilities to receive support which can be overwhelming. At schools with comprehensive supportive programs you are assigned a Learning Disabilities Specialist (this is often a fee-based service) who meets with you regularly as part of your schedule. This often increases commitment level since it’s scheduled like a class. Mandatory study programs that your student must attend are another extra feature that many of the specialized programs have. Students that participate see that they are not alone when needing extra support which can be a huge confidence booster.
Socially, several families choose a local community college as they feel NVLD students can feel more secure socially living at home while attending college. However, living at home can also hurt your opportunity to make new friends and grow socially. Being on a supportive campus getting connected to others is an easy way to make friends. Through extra support classes and on campus life there are many opportunities to grow socially. I was fortunate that our school had a strong theatre and sports and fitness departments, both of which were very strong interests of mine so it provided a great outlet to make friends.
When it came time for me to choose a college to attend my parents knew I needed a strong comprehensive support program and campus life. Dean College was the school I chose since they could support my needs the best. While there I participated in two programs, ARCH for my first semester and PLS (Personal Learning Service) for the second semester. Both of these programs had an extra cost but it was well worth the investment. ARCH was just for LD kids and PLS was something all students could receive. After Dean I attended Curry College, another college with a strong support program and once again I understood how helpful these programs are.
Overall college decisions aren’t made lightly as there are many factors to consider. First, remember that there are schools that have strong support programs for students with disabilities often come with a fee. One of the things you need to ask yourself is are you a hard worker? If your answer is no then buying into support programs wouldn’t be worth the investment. However if you are academically and socially engaged I say with full confidence supportive colleges are an excellent option.
**All information, opinions, and suggestions in this article are those of the author and do not constitute medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.**
I am truly a believer of the comprehensive support program!Share your own story