Once upon a time, students with learning and other disabilities, rarely, if ever, pursued post-secondary education. But, thankfully, times have changed and there are many different options available for students who need extra support. In this blog, we outline several options, each with their own advantages, disadvantages, and specific populations they serve.
It’s extremely important that students and families get professional help in identifying which option is best for each person and situation. Your School Counselor, Special Education Liaison and College Counselor can each be effective support persons in this process. But the purpose of this blog is to make it clear that there ARE options, and anyone can pursue education after high school if they want to.
Option 1: Post-Graduate School Program
Also known as a 13th year of high school, this can be a good option for students who would benefit from one more year of maturity before entering a traditional college. Students can work on academic skills and/or athletic skills in hopes of gaining an advantage in college admissions.
Option 2: Specialized Program
These are programs designed to support students who need comprehensive vocational, social, behavioral and/or life skills support and who are not ready for the rigor of a college program. Many of these programs have a work/study aspect that young adults find appealing. Focus is on independent living skills and may offer both a vocational track or community college track.
Option 3: Community College/ Vocational Training/ 2-Year Colleges
Community college allows a student the opportunity to take one or two college courses at a time while living off campus or at home. Vocational training allows students to focus on one trade rather than taking many classes that may not interest them. Many students also work while taking community or vocational classes. Many community colleges and vocational training programs offer support services for students with learning disabilities.
Option 4: Special-Focus College
There are a few colleges out there that primarily support students with learning disabilities. These colleges support students who plan to earn an Associates or Bachelors degree. They offer significant support for various types of disabilities.
Option 5: Traditional College with Comprehensive LD Services– The college has significant support to adapt the college experience to your needs.
There are several colleges that have comprehensive academic support programs. They have a dedicated department of professionals who work exclusively with students with disabilities. Courses, small-group instruction and tutorial sessions are readily available. In addition, counseling and support groups are often available to assist in interpersonal skill development.
Option 6: Traditional College with Moderate LD Services– There is support on campus to help you adapt to the traditional college experience.
These colleges offer traditional 4-year degrees and typically have an office on campus to coordinate services for students with learning disabilities. Full-time staff is available but students are largely encouraged to be independent and monitor their own progress.
Option 7: Traditional College with Minimal LD Services- The responsibility to adapt is all yours!
Colleges that provide only minimal services typically only provide those accorded to students by law. May not have a resource center for students with learning disabilities, or it may not be regularly staffed.
*All colleges are required to provide students with documented disabilities appropriate accommodations.
Campus Bound Counselors have many years of experience helping students with disabilities navigate the post-high school planning process. We work closely with high school teachers and counselors to find the best fit for each individual. To learn more about the pros and cons of each program, or if you feel that Campus Bound can help you, contact us today: firstname.lastname@example.org.