Finding the Right College to Support Your Special Needs

No two people learn the same way. For those who have learning styles or challenges that aren’t compatible with a traditional high school approach, finding a school that is a good match (or finding ways to make your current school better serve you) can be its own challenge. That’s what makes planning for college so exciting: It’s a perfect chance, and maybe the first one you’ve ever had, to choose the educational environment where you will thrive. 

Your success and happiness in college depends in great part on how well your college meets your needs. If you already have an IEP or 504 plan in high school, you probably have a good understanding of what those needs are. If you’ve never had formal diagnostic testing but just know there are things that could help you do better in college, pay attention to those. Whatever you need, there are colleges that can provide it. 

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The Gift of “I Don’t Know”

A big part of planning for college is focused on the future. What schools will I apply to? What will I major in? Who am I going to be when I “grow up”? At times, it might seem like everyone around you has answered these questions (and that you’re being plagued by adults who won’t stop asking them), and if it can be unsettling and even embarrassing if you haven’t yet.

But there is another way to look at the uncertainty you might experience when you’re planning for college: As a gift. As crazy as it may sound, that feeling of “I don’t know” can be a positive, and if you embrace it, it can benefit you not only on your journey to college, but throughout college and your future. What does “I don’t know” really mean? 

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