What Do You Mean, How I Learn Can Influence My Transition Into College?

For any student, the college transition can be filled with a sense of uncertainty and mystique. And, no doubt, most college bound students experience bumps in the road, but are able to work through them unscathed. This, in-part by their ability to communicate challenges to those who can help and thus gain access to the support they need.

But, what about for students with learning disabilities? —Gaps in college readiness can affect students’ ability to successfully make the transition.

Struggling College Student

College Transitions and Learning Disabilities

The high school to college transition can be a significant challenge for students with learning disabilities.

And this is why—

Social skills and self-advocacy skills overlap and are necessary for college success. Assessment can identify students who struggle with social skills but still report good self-advocacy skills. Self-advocacy skills are easily attainable with teacher that students have known for a long time (like in high school).

However, if asked: “How would you do advocating for your needs with a person you do not know well, like at college?” — Students do not report as favorably.

The ability for students to accurately discuss their disability without parental support with a person unfamiliar to them is necessary, if they enter a “traditional” college setting. In traditional college settings, if you don’t ask for help – you don’t get help.

Parents of students with learning disabilities far too often, don’t know where to turn.

Independent Educational Consultants (IECs) work with students who are at varying levels of college readiness. For many students, levels of maturity and life experiences allow for greater ease during the high school to college transition. IEC’s can play a vital role in helping families see the transition to college through a different lens.

Time Management Skills

Another example of overlap is time management. Students with learning disabilities and who struggle with time management can work with their high school teachers and tutors.

In college, the ability for students to independently manage not only academics but all aspects of their life is necessary.


Begin or continue investigating potential college readiness challenges for your teen now.

Create an action plan to address areas of self-awareness and self-advocacy, and skills-building.

Maintain an open and non-judging environment of discussion about your teen’s learning disability.

Maintain an open and non-judging environment of discussion about your teen’s learning disability.

Work closely with an IEC in all areas of consultation.

Posted in
Dr. Leslie Tucker College Consultant
Learning Differences