How to Choose the Best College if You Have an Intellectual Disability

By Michaela February 3, 2021 College Search Press

Historically, college may not have always been in the cards for students with intellectual disabilities, but thankfully higher education has come a long way to create inclusive campuses. Colleges everywhere are broadening their academic catalogs to accommodate students with these disabilities.  

Before you begin your college search for an inclusive education that fits all of your individual needs, there are some things you should know if you have a learning or intellectual disability and want to pursue a college degree.

Know Yourself, Know Your Resources

First, you and your family should evaluate your own capabilities. In what areas do you see yourself needing the most support? List them. From there, outline the campus services that would best help you succeed academically and socially. Because while colleges do their to make accommodations, inclusivity can look different for every student.

Inside the classroom, this can include allowing extra time for finishing tests, preparing a quiet or even empty space for testing, specially-trained tutors and leniency on leaves of absence from class.

Outside the classroom, these inclusive campus resources can include specialized housing arrangements, educational therapists, specially trained tutors and academic advisors, life skills coaches, or career services advisors with specialized training to assist in the later transition to the workforce.

Start Local

For many students with intellectual disabilities, it’s natural to begin the college search close to home, in an area you know and with a built-in support system of family of close by. Start your college search by making a list of the colleges near your hometown, then research the disability resources and accommodations they have available. 

At the very least, students with an intellectual disability should seek out the services of the campus disability coordinators that are now present on the majority of college campuses. 

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