Checklist: Questions about colleges with special programs

To meet the needs of students with learning and thinking differences, colleges offer a range of support services. Some even offer specialized programs, usually at an added cost. But how can you tell if a specialized program will be a good fit? Knowing what questions to ask, and which details to look for, can help you make a good choice. Use this checklist when you’re thinking about college support services.

Questions to ask the college

  • Must a student be accepted through regular admissions before applying to the program?
  • Does the program also consider students who were not accepted through regular admissions?
  • Is there an additional fee for the program?
  • What specific documentation of disability is required?
  • Will documentation need to be updated each year? If so, at what cost?
  • How easy is it to personalize the help a student gets in this program?
  • Does the college have general resources like a writing center and tutoring services?
  • How different are the specialized services from those offered to all students?
  • What does the office of disabilities services offer, apart from the program?
  • Does the staff from the disabilities office or learning center facilitate communication with faculty about a student’s challenges?
  • Would a student still have access to a departmental advisor in addition to the disability office and learning center staff?
  • Does a student have the option of transferring out of this program?
  • How do students in the program feel about it? How did the program help them?

Questions for the student and family

  • Are you comfortable with the disabilities services staff?
  • What kind of benefits would this particular specialized program offer?

About the author

About the author

Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos is a writer and editor for many national publications.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Bob Cunningham, EdM has been part of Understood since its founding. He’s also been the chief administrator for several independent schools and a school leader in general and special education.


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