How You Should Judge Colleges: What Factors Should I Consider in Evaluating Colleges? (page 4)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on May 5, 2014

Disability Services

If you have been receiving support services in high school, you may want to continue receiving services in college. In high school, you may have received extended time on tests, use of a computer for essays, a reader, a listening device, or some other accommodation. These services, if you have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan, were mandated in high school under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Once you are in college, your parent’s legal authority has ended, and you must advocate for yourself. Advocating for yourself includes knowing everything about your disability, speaking up for yourself, and making decisions for yourself. Many colleges have resources available for you, although you must find out about these services yourself; no one will contact you.

Before you complete high school, your parents can ask for a close-out meeting, where your family and the professionals you have been working with in high school can discuss what services, if any, you feel you need in college. It is very important that you obtain current (usually within one year) psycho-educational testing (consisting of cognitive and academic achievement tests), which you can provide to colleges. You should also know the name of your specific disability, whether it is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a learning disability, a physical disability, or another type of disability. How does the disability impact your learning and your overall life? Will you be able to manage living on campus, or would you be better off commuting to a college?

You do not need to identify yourself as a student with a disability in the admissions process, unless you want to or you are applying to a special program for students with disabilities. Once you are admitted, however, you should make an appointment with the Office of Disability Services (called different offices in various colleges) and sit down with these professionals to discuss your needs in college.

Most colleges offer some type of service. Others offer full programs with higher fees, depending on what type of services you require. There are some colleges that are exclusively for students with disabilities, such as Landmark College in Vermont. Landmark describes itself as a college for high potential students with learning disabilities and ADHD. You may decide you do not need any services in college, and you could function very well on your own. However, you may want to inform your professors so they are aware of your disability. The choice is yours, but you should become educated about your disability before choosing a college.

Some Colleges That Offer Disability Services or Programs

  • Adelphi University
  • American University
  • Clark University
  • Curry College
  • Hofstra University
  • Iona College
  • Landmark College
  • Lynn University
  • Manhattanville College
  • Marist College
  • Mitchell College
  • Muskingum College
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • St. Thomas Aquinas College, NY
  • University of Arizona

Study-abroad Programs/Co-ops/Internships

Two areas in which students are usually very interested are study-abroad programs and internships. Study-abroad programs give students an opportunity to broaden their perspectives, to immerse themselves in other countries while they are still in college, and to earn credits while spending time away from campus.

When researching colleges, you should find out if the university offers study-abroad options. Colleges and tour guides usually indicate what percent of their students participate in study-abroad programs, but you need to get details about these programs before you commit to them. Do students usually get their first-choice program? Do you need to speak the language of the country you want to visit? Is tuition the same as what you would pay on campus? What additional expenses will there be? Will you get course credit or will participating delay your graduation? Most colleges offer some type of study-abroad program, so make sure you get comprehensive information before you select a college based on the reputation of these programs.

Other colleges are known for their co-operative (co-op) programs. These programs can give you an advantage when you are looking for a job after graduation. Co-op programs give you on-the-job experience while you are still in college. Many colleges provide students with internships either during the school year or during the summer. When visiting colleges, ask about the reputation of the internship office, and whether or not the college has the resources to help you find an appropriate internship.

Study abroad, co-op programs, and internships can provide you with a worthwhile college experience which can enhance your résumé and assist you during your job hunt after college.

Some Colleges That Offer Co-op Programs

  • Drexel University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Johnson & Wales
  • Long Island University
  • Kettering University
  • Northeastern University
  • Pace University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Waterloo
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology
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