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HomeLearning DifficultiesHealth & DevelopmentLife After High School

Planning For College: A Team Effort

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By Dria Fearn

Check out scholarships

Scholarships = Free Money You Don’t Pay Back. Since most scholarships out there are for high school seniors, you need to get started as soon as possible so you won’t miss the deadlines. I’ve found Fastweb.com to be a good source of scholarship information. You fill out pages of personal information, and in a matter of minutes, the site has sorted through its database and provided you with the ones that apply to you. They will also send you an email message you when more scholarships are released.

Check with your school district, place of worship, and local organizations to learn about scholarships you may be eligible for. There are not many scholarships out there strictly for individuals with disabilities, so don’t be afraid to apply for mainstream scholarships.

Selecting A College

Visit the campus before making a decision

Ask yourself these questions when considering schools. Where do you want to live: urban or rural setting? What size campus are you interested in? What class size is best for you? By visiting the campus, you and your parents can decide if the atmosphere is a comfortable one for you. However, don’t pick a school simply because it offers a specific major because you may change your major at least once during your college years.

Planning For Enrollment

Seek priority enrollment

Priority enrollment is early registration for classes, and students with disabilities typically are eligible. Be sure to ask the Disability Services Office for details, and use it!

Get into classes

If you don’t get a class you want (or are placed on a waitlist), show up on the first day. Some students who are enrolled may decide not to attend, and you’ll be able to take the open spot. If it’s a course you absolutely must take, talk to the professor who may make an exception and add you - even if the class is already full.

Gather information from peers

Ask current students at the college about different professors and classes. If you’re not good at memorization, you may not do well in a class that simply regurgitates material. I learned early on not to take the “easy” classes because the classes that were easy for my peers were more difficult for me. I’ve actually done better in the “harder” classes because they force me to be more engaged in the material. If you’re interested in the class, you’re probably going to work harder, and you’ll get more out of it.

Successful Learning Strategies

Know your learning preferences

What’s the best way for you to learn - auditory, visual, or kinesthetic? Auditory means you learn best by hearing, visual by seeing, and kinesthetic by doing. In college, teaching styles tend to be geared more toward auditory and visual learners, making it more difficult for kinesthetic learners to succeed. This can be a problem for students with LD or AD/HD who often prefer kinesthetic learning activities. For kinesthetic learners, I recommend taking a little non-distracting object, such as a koosh ball or silly putty, to class for your non-writing hand (especially if you’re a compulsive pen clicker like I am) to channel excess energy.

Succeed in the classroom

  1. Go to class!

    If you don’t go to lecture, you’re not going to know what the professor considers important. You can cut your studying time in half by simply going to lectures, and concentrating on what the professor discusses. You can spend less time studying what the professor doesn’t talk about. That said, going to lecture is not a license to skip the reading assignment.

  2. Sit in front!

    When you sit at the front of the classroom or lecture hall, there are fewer distractions, especially important if you have AD/HD (like I do) and need to be away from doors and windows. And because you’ll seem interested in the course, it may be easier to establish a good relationship with the professor.


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