Checklist: Questions about colleges with special programs

By Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos

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?

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    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 serves as executive director of learning development at Understood.