When it is time to apply to colleges, many students with learning disabilities regret that they didn’t begin the preparation process sooner. In fact, planning for college should commence freshman year in high school. Here is a checklist that can help students to create possibilities and maximize their higher education options.
High School Freshmen
- Start now with college prep courses.
- Study hard and aim for good grades. It does matter!
- Become involved in activities.
- Get work experience and begin saving money for college.
- At your IEP meetings, start to become your own voice, your own advocate.
- Take the PSAT in the spring for practice.
- Stay on top of your academic work. Seek help if needed.
- Get involved in your community.
- Register for an SAT/ACT prep course or take online practice exams for free.
- Start researching colleges.
- Take the PSAT in the fall for practice.
- Register for an SAT/ACT test in the spring.
- Continue to study hard and get good grades.
- Prioritize the factors most important to you in a college or university (i.e. size of school, location, class size).
- Make a preliminary list of colleges of interest.
- Attend college fairs and high school visits.
- Visit schools and ask your top questions.
- Contact your school district’s vocational rehabilitation counselor – get retested.
- Explore majors that match your skills and interest, but know that it is perfectly NORMAL and okay NOT to know what major you want. Take advantage of career exploration programs offered through your high school and local colleges.
- Clarify application and financial aid deadlines for each school.
- Register for the October SAT/ACT.
- Learn how to build a college essay.
- Visit and interview at various schools.
- Submit applications to more than one school.
- Keep working hard in your classes. Grades still count.
- Complete the FAFSA (financial aid application).
- Make your final college choice.
High School Juniors
By getting an early start on the college process and following the suggestions outlined in this blog, students with learning disabilities can create possibilities and craft an outstanding college application. If you need one to one guidance, feel free to contact me for an individualized approach.
All the best, David
David Carson, LD Coach and Mentor
David Carson is coach and mentor for students with learning disabilities and is also the author, of the Survival Guide for College Bound LD Students.