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Why career goals play a part in the college selection process for students with learning challenges

Last week, this series provided a general introduction to how students with learning differences can begin their search for the right college and the importance of selecting the right location in the college selection process.  Today, let’s  focus on career goals and the role they play in selecting the best college for students with learning challenges.

When selecting a college, you and your student should consider what it is your student hopes to obtain from attending college, so identifying a long-term goal is critical in the selection process.  Most students decide to pursue a college education in order to seek professional employment or move forward in career planning, however, many students changes their minds and their majors in the first, second or even third year of college.  Keeping this in mind, it’s important to recognize your student’s long-term individual goals and to select colleges that offer the educational programming to meet them.
Let’s consider the following questions:

  • What degree is needed in order to reach the career path your student has selected?
  • Does the college offer a program of study that matches your student’s career goals?
  • Do your student’s academic skills and interests match her career goals?  Are her interests identifiable with a career or are they better suited for a hobby?
  • Will specific learning disability-related obstacles prevent your student from reaching her career goal?

Students with learning challenges must not lose site of the fact that college life extends beyond a student’s academic needs. Rather than basing your decision solely on whether or not the college has a strong Disability Services Office, be sure the college can meet all of your needs and preferences, including academic supports and social opportunities.  Examining your student’s needs and preferences, the location of the campus and your student’s career goals will help you and your student select a college that best matches individual needs.   Remember, there are a variety of resources available to students with learning differences.  So, comparing your student’s academic and social abilities to the expectations of the selected colleges is a critical factor in selecting the right college.

Next week, look for a new series that discusses legal considerations for students identified with learning challenges.

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