By Jan Kerchner, Certified Educational Planner
From entrepreneurs to celebrities, airline founders to financiers, investors to authors, people with learning differences have been many of the game changers in our society. Your student is in good company!
College is the logical next step after high school and, with appropriate advanced planning, students with learning differences can have a successful college experience. Below are three critical items for parents of LD college bound students to consider when preparing for the college admission process. In all cases, early transition planning for college is key to your student’s personal and academic success.
1. Evaluate your student’s readiness for college and help them develop the skills to balance their academic and personal lives.
Be realistic about your student’s readiness to manage independent living while maintaining good grades. Balancing life and managing time in college can be difficult and students unprepared to do so, find themselves sleeping in their childhood bedroom during what should have been their second year of college.
If your student is still in middle school, there is time to develop the skills necessary to successfully manage academic and personal life. However, if your student is a junior in high school and you are still telling him when to go to bed, checking on his homework completion and reminding him of upcoming tests or soccer games, there is work to be done. Be honest with yourself and your student and if there are some weak areas, work on those now.
2. Identify the parameters necessary to maximize your student’s success in college.
With your student, prepare a list of factors that are key to his or her academic success. Consider the type, location, ambience and size of the college. But more importantly, consider the academic rigor and the level of LD friendliness of the college. Finally, define the accommodations needed for him or her to achieve academic success. Colleges offer a breadth of support services for students with learning differences. However, keep in mind that they vary from college to college. Research is tantamount to finding the right fit.
The accommodations being utilized by your student in his or her education are documented in your student’s Individual Educational Plan (IEP) and in the Psychological Educational Evaluation completed by the licensed psychologist who diagnosed your student. If your student is finding them useful in his or her current setting, look for colleges offering similar accommodations within their support services.
Below you will find a link to an interesting article regarding student debt. It posits that our concern with student debt should not be directed at those who emerge from University and have incurred debt, but, rather, those who accrue a small amount of debt but never get their degree. So for those who ask the question, “is there still value in higher education”, the answer is yes!
Read more here.
by Karen Lerner, Educational Therapist, The College Blueprint
If you are looking at our website and thinking about college application support for your child, but also recalling how that child has been struggling in middle or high school, please take a moment to read this blog.
I recently read an article by Anthony Carnevale, of Georgetown University, who was discussing the current state of Career and Technical Education (CTE), or what we previously referred to as Vocational Training, in our school system. One interesting point that he made was that each year 400,000 students who are in the top half of their high schools, matriculate to college, but fail to earn a degree at either a two or four year college eight years later. There are many reasons why a student might not stay in school – financial considerations, geographic changes, etc. However, I deal with students who have academic, social, and/or emotional issues, and those struggles are probably also represented in this number.
Finding the right school for a student with specific learning, emotional, or social concerns is one way to approach this situation. The College Blueprint routinely works on analyzing student issues and then identifying schools that will be a good fit. But another approach is to ask your child what he/she wants to ultimately do with his/her life, and proceed in another direction – that of finding a solid institution that provides CTE. There are many in Orange County that will help support your child in all types of careers, offering not only academic support, but courses that are focused on specific interests. Additionally, the nature of much of the course work allows for a multi-modality design to the curriculum; the student that struggles with paper and pencil might have a better chance with a more kinesthetic approach to his/her education.
Finally, for many of my students, they operate better when they understand the relevance of taking their courses, and a program where each class leads to a career makes expending the effort easier. We can help with identifying and supporting acceptance to CTE institutions right here at The College Blueprint.