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College Life as a Student with Learning Disabilities

Preparing to go to college can be daunting. But for a student with learning disabilities, thinking about all the projects, reading assignments, exams and finals can be completely overwhelming! I felt this way. I was diagnosed with dyslexia in third grade along with other learning disabilities that commonly accompany dyslexia. From elementary school through high school, I changed schools seven different times, all because my parents were trying to find the right place for my education as a student with dyslexia. I received some amazing help throughout my schooling, and I have even overcome some of the major hurdles dyslexia presents. However, I was nervous to be on my own at college to navigate completing assignments and understanding concepts in class. I was concerned that I would not be able to keep the academic success I was able to achieve in high school. Fortunately, in my senior year of high school, I became a dual enrollment student at Grove City College where I was able to meet and become familiar with the Disability Services on campus. Zach Brown, the director of Disability Services, was able to work with me to figure out what accommodations could best help my academic success. Some of these included extra time on exams, peer note-taking, and even permission to use a special recording pen that he recommended. I have utilized all of these, and they helped me tremendously.

I have access to all of these resources, and I know that they will help; however, this can only take you so far. I have been able to gain a lot of experience when it comes to completing assignments and studying for exams. I learned quickly that if you do not stay on top of things, you can make life really difficult, really fast. Here are some tips that I have learned as a student with learning disabilities to keep from becoming overwhelmed and help with learning the material instead of just trying to get it done.

  1. Time management. As a student with learning disabilities, I can take longer than other students to get things like reading assignments done. That is why being careful about how you spend your time is important. Time management is a difficult but invaluable skill. It is easy to get distracted, (especially since I have ADD) but creating a plan for how you will get things done each day and sticking to it will help you in the short term so you do not have to stay up till two in the morning. Time management will also help you in the long run, by creating a valuable habit that will serve you your entire college career. I write out all of my assignments for the entire semester on a desk calendar so I can see what is coming. I then plan out what needs to be completed and when. This helps me to make wise choices and stay in control of my time.
  2. Talk to your professors. I cannot stress this enough. The professors are amazing at Grove City College. They all desire to help each student achieve success and to learn well in their classes. All of my professors have been very accommodating when it comes to my learning disabilities. They want to help!

I have had a wonderful experience at Grove City College, I am in my fall semester of sophomore year and have achieved the Dean’s List academic excellence award for each semester I have completed so far. Do not be afraid to dive into learning amazing things!

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