Types of college accommodations and services

All colleges are required by law to provide certain supports and services to students with learning disabilities. But some provide more than the bare minimum. Refer to this list as you compare the accommodations and services at different schools.

Commonly available accommodations

  • Extended time on exams (not the same as “untimed” tests, which are not typically available)

  • Use of laptops for tests and exams

  • Use of calculators for tests and exams

  • Permission to make audio recordings of classes (some schools may loan out smart pens for this purpose)

  • Reduced course load — but financial aid may be reduced as a result

  • Priority registration for courses

  • Copies of notes from a classmate

  • Access to audiobooks

  • Access to voice recognition software

  • Access to text-to-speech programs

Accommodations that may be more difficult to get

  • Extended time on papers and projects (typically not given on an ongoing basis but rather as situations arise — such as for students with acute medical or psychological episodes)

  • Course waivers and substitutions (colleges may choose to give these but are not required to)

  • Alternative exam formats, such as oral rather than written exams (colleges typically do not grant this)

Other services that may be available

  • Training in adaptive technology

  • Help with study skills and time management

  • Learning specialists (may cost extra)

  • Mentoring programs

  • Student support groups

Learn more about how to work with your child to choose a college. See a list of college programs for kids with learning and thinking differences. And find out how self-advocacy helped a college student access her accommodations in college.


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