From our years of experience, we have identified several contributing factors that allow students with learning differences to be successful in college. Our basic success profile below features four of these categories, and our success profile questions are designed to direct students toward their preferred choice in each category. NOTE: While this brief online survey and success profile can be valuable in helping you become aware of general guidelines, you may want to consider a professional at some point who will perform a much more thorough assessment of your student’s needs, reviewing psychoeducational reports, school transcripts, and other pertinent documents, as well as giving more detailed advice.
One of the most important success factors for students who learn differently is the level of support provided by the college they choose. Not all colleges provide the same level of support. We have built a database of hundreds of colleges, describing the level of support provided by each college. Below is a brief overview of the range of support available:
Another success factor for students who learn differently is finding the right ratio/(proportion?) of academics to social activities. Many students want a balance of these, so they can be successful academically and also have time for fun outside the classroom. Students who are academically focused might want a more intense academic experience, while students who are socially focused will want to find colleges with many activities, sports, and clubs on campus.
Look for colleges where you can be more focused on academics and where a majority of students will have similar to stronger academic ability. You should consider colleges where your GPA and test scores fall between the 25th and 50th percentiles of accepted students.
Look for colleges where you can have a good balance of academics and social life, where your GPA and test scores fall within the mid-50th percentile of accepted students. You don’t want to be “over your head” academically.
Look for colleges where you can enjoy the social aspects of college without sacrificing your academics, where your GPA and test scores fall between the 50th and 75th percentiles of accepted students.
Colleges offer a variety of teaching methods, and students need to be aware of how they learn best in order to find the college that provides the right learning environment. College success depends on a match between a student’s learning style and a college’s teaching style.
You should consider colleges with smaller class sizes, where active learning takes place. Seek out colleges that have discussion-based classes, project-based learning, and opportunities for internships or co-ops.
You should consider lecture-style classes, where the professor presents material to the class and students listen and take notes.
You will likely be comfortable in both interactive and lecture-style classes. Class size might not be important to you; however, you should consider your ability to stay focused in large lecture classes.
Students typically attend classes for 12 – 15 hours per week. In order to be comfortable outside the classroom, students need to be in an environment that feels right to them. It is an important factor to consider when searching our database for colleges, but do not limit your college list too narrowly by only selecting one type of environment. Most students will be happy in a variety of settings.
Do you like the excitement of living in a city? If you follow professional sports teams or enjoy cultural activities, you might like attending a college in a medium to large city, where you can get around easily and choose from many activities and events going on at all times. Some urban colleges have a campus, while others are buildings within the city.
If you don’t want to be in a city, but want access to what a city offers, a suburban college might be for you. You might like some green space, but need to be within a short drive from a shopping mall or sports arena. You might also like having off-campus housing within walking distance of campus.
If you are not a city person, but you like the idea of walking off campus to restaurants, small shops, movie theaters, and community events, a college town, which might also be considered a small town/city (depending on where you are from) is a good option for you.
If you love green space and nature, and your idea of a fun day is a hike or bike ride in a quiet, natural setting, you might like a rural campus. Keep in mind that many colleges in this setting have a lot of activities on campus, so you might not need to go off campus to find things to do.