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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Post-Graduate Programs: A Precollege Option for Students with LDs

The transition to college is stressful and sometimes overwhelming for many first year students.  For those with a diagnosed learning disability, however, the challenges that arise can feel insurmountable.  Just because a student has graduated from high school and has been accepted to the college of his/her choice, does not necessarily mean that s/he is prepared for the next step.  Many students struggle, not just with the new academic requirements placed upon them at the college level, but also the emotional and social components that come along with this new phase in their lives.  Many students are ill prepared for the new-found independence, relative lack of structure and new social opportunities. 

One option that can assist the college-bound student is participation in a post-graduate, or 13th year, of high school.  Many traditional post-graduate, or PG, programs have a boarding component that allows students to experience living away from home, while still under the watch and guidance of professionals.  Students participating in PG programs also have the chance to take higher-level classes, further develop interests to explore in college, and participate in athletics. 

At Woodlynde School, we have developed a PG program for local students who need an additional year of academic and social growth before moving on to college.  Developed in conjunction with Rosemont College, students take two classes each semester in the mornings at Rosemont College. In the afternoons, students attend math and writing classes at Woodlynde School, and receive further instruction in study skills needed for success in college.  In addition, participating students can enjoy an extra-curricular activity at Rosemont College to help expose them to the social opportunities available at college.  For students who are successful in the program, they have the added advantage of automatic acceptance to Rosemont College for the following year.

Other post-graduate programs exist throughout the country.  While some may not be right for students with learning disabilities, many are worth exploring as a possible alternative to direct college matriculation.   Here are two other outstanding PG programs:

http://www.thamesacademy.org/index? - Thames Academy at Mitchell College


Kristen Tabun
Director of College Guidance
Woodlynde School
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