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15 College Programs for Kids With Learning and Attention Issues

By The Understood Team

939Found this helpful
939Found this helpful

While all colleges must provide basic supports to students with learning disabilities and ADHD, many go beyond that. Some even offer fee-based programs to help build learning and executive functioning skills. Check out this list of 15 from Lauren Sagat, director of college guidance at Purnell School in Pottersville, New Jersey.

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Mitchell College; New London, Connecticut

The Bentsen Learning Center Program (BLCP) at Mitchell offers different levels of support over the four years of college. (Mitchell also has a two-year degree program.) Freshmen meet with a learning specialist three times a week. The program focuses on learning skills, writing and career readiness.

Nice feature: Mitchell runs the Thames Academy, a gap-year program to help kids with learning and attention issues transition to college. Students can earn college credit.

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Curry College; Milton, Massachusetts

The faculty at Curry’s Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL) work with students individually and in small classes. Students take one credited PAL course each semester. The program focuses on reading, listening, writing and organization skills.

Nice feature: For an extra fee, PAL has a summer program to help with the transition from high school to college.

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Lynn University; Boca Raton, Florida

Students in Lynn’s Institute for Achievement and Learning (IAL) work with academic coaches to build learning and executive functioning skills. The program offers four types of tutoring: content, group and individual tutoring, plus process tutoring to help with writing, speaking and organization.

Nice feature: Some courses at Lynn are taught by IAL fellows trained in different teaching strategies.

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University of Arizona; Tucson, Arizona

Students in the Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) program meet weekly with a learning specialist to work on executive functioning, attention and learning problems. The program also offers regular workshops. Topics include things like test taking, time management and reading.

Nice feature: For an extra fee, SALT offers ADHD and life coaching to help with organization, focus, daily structure and starting and finishing tasks.

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Muskingum College; New Concord, Ohio

The PLUS Program at Muskingum offers three levels of support: full-service, maintenance and independence. Students start with full-service support, meeting with a learning consultant for an hour each week. They also get at least one hour per week of tutoring for each course they take.

Nice feature: Students are encouraged to take a reduced course load each semester.

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McDaniel College; Westminster, Maryland

McDaniel offers different types of support programs. The most intensive is the Academic Skills Program. Students meet weekly with a support counselor to work on academics, time management, organization and self-advocacy. The college’s PASS program (Providing Academic Support for Success) offers group academic support sessions three times a week.

Nice feature: McDaniel has a program called MAP (Mentorship Advantage Program) that provides interactive workshops on social skills, organization, time management and more.

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West Virginia Wesleyan College; Buckhannon, West Virginia

Students in the Mentor Advantage Program (MAP) meet with tutoring staff several hours a week. They work on general organization skills along with strategies for specific courses. Freshmen attend a course on making the transition to college. MAP also provides evening drop-in hours for extra support.

Nice feature: For an extra fee, the program offers a daytime check-in option for organization help, studying or test review.

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King’s College; Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

The college offers a three-tier program for freshmen called First Year Academic Studies Program (FASP). Students start out meeting individually and in small groups with a learning specialist four hours a week to build executive functioning and learning skills. Support decreases as the year goes on.

Nice feature: The program also works on self-esteem, stress and anxiety issues.

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Dean College; Franklin, Massachusetts

Dean’s Arch Learning Community is a step-down program. This means it starts out with intensive support for two years and decreases over time. In the beginning, students get three hours a week of academic coaching. They also attend smaller-group courses and a weekly seminar.

Nice feature: Students can remain in the program for four years if they pursue a four-year degree. (The college also offers two-year degrees.)

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University of the Ozarks; Clarksville, Arkansas

The Jones Learning Center (JLC) offers students daily one-on-one access to the academic support staff to work on academic and organization skills. There’s no limit to how often they can meet. The program also provides peer tutoring and note-taking services.

Nice feature: JLC offers specific support for students with autism spectrum disorder.

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Northeastern University; Boston, Massachusetts

In the Learning Disabilities Program (LDP) at Northeastern, students work with a learning specialist for one hour, twice a week. As part of the program, students must commit to attending all classes and LDP sessions.

Nice feature: The program specifically works on building students’ motivation and persistence.

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David & Elkins College; Elkins, West Virginia

Students in the Supported Learning Program work with a program instructor for an hour a week to develop academic and organization skills. They also come for five hours a week of supervised study hall. The program monitors their progress throughout the semester, based on goals they set at the start.

Nice feature: There are weekly group meetings for students with ADHD and executive functioning issues.

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Marist College; Poughkeepsie, New York

The Learning Disabilities Support Program at Marist pairs each student with a learning specialist. Freshmen meet with the specialist twice a week to work on learning, organization and study skills. Students may still get individual support after the first year. But they’re expected to become more independent as time goes on.

Nice feature: The program prepares students to discuss their learning issues and needs with professors.

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University of Denver; Denver, Colorado

Students in the Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) meet with a counselor for an hour a week to develop strategies for learning and organization. (Students have access to a professional organization expert). LEP also offers academic-content tutoring that uses different pathways to learning. Information might be presented visually or through movement, for instance.

Nice feature: Students can participate in a mentoring program where they work with younger children who have learning and attention issues.

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American University; Washington, DC

American has an intensive program for freshman called Learning Services Program (LSP). Students meet weekly with a learning counselor. They attend a special section of the freshman writing class and meet weekly with a writing coach for that course.

Nice feature: Students in the program are paired with an upperclassman who is their LSP mentor.

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About the Author

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The Understood Team is composed of writers, editors and community moderators, many of whom have children with learning and attention issues.

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