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learning disability..how do you disclose it in your apps?

loveyouuloveyouu Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
how do you disclose your LD to a college you're applying to..is there a place that asks? cause i didn't see any space that says if you have a ld click here..r u suppose to say it in your essay..
Post edited by loveyouu on

Replies to: learning disability..how do you disclose it in your apps?

  • mildredmildred Registered User Posts: 686 Member

    Technically, you are not to blatantly mention your l.d. on your University apps.

    For example, putting Joe "Dyslexia" Brown on your University apps would be a bad idea.

    ^ This is a little joke ^

    On your essay, it would be more of a conscience call on your part as to whether or not you would want to bring up your l.d. I truly believe that you would need to seek parental guidance for that.
  • shawbridgeshawbridge Registered User Posts: 5,247 Senior Member
    If you disclose it, I think mildred is correct that the most likely place for disclosing it is in the essay. It might also show up in your transcript if any of your courses are Special Ed courses.

    I suspect many people will be better off not disclosing. But, someone may choose to disclose to explain their performance in some course or area, why they did badly on the writing part of the SAT, why you didn't take a foreign language, etc. The LD may also be integral to your ECs or you academic interests.

    But, I don't think it is obvious that most people should disclose. If you don't disclose, you can go to the college's disability service office and talk with them when you are visiting to see if there would be a good fit.
  • eastcoastmommaeastcoastmomma Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    Your question is one that our family wrestled with last year at this time. My son was identified with a learning disability in high school. Once he received accommodations, his GPA with honors and AP classes shot from a 3.0 to a 3.8.
    On college visits, he always scheduled time at the campus Disability Services Office. Because of his late identification, he wants to utilize support services and wanted to make sure the Disability Services Office was a place he was comfortable. He decided not to apply to schools where the offices were located away from the center of campus, or in cramped basements, with staff he didn't feel comfortable with.
    After searching for the answer to your question and seeking guidance from many admissions people across the country, it was a very personal decision for him. Some admissions counselors told him that when they read an application that discloses a learning disability they will contact the campus Disability Office to make sure the student can be supported.
    He decided to disclose his learning disability in an essay. Not the main essay, but in an additional personal statement. All of his applications asked if he wanted to add anything that wasn't covered in the application. It was a short essay 150/200 words. If he couldn't attach it to his application he did on line, he put it in the package that the guidance counselor sent out. The main reason he did it was he wanted to put the issue on the table. My son felt that if the college was uncomfortable with his learning disability that maybe it wasn't the right place for him. He is comfortable with it and wanted to know that the college would be too.
    He had a successful application process and was accepted to his top choice school. He did his college research based on majors, visited campuses, talked with admissions counselors and Disability Services Offices. It was a personal choice for him and he felt comfortable with how he approached it.
    We all can give you advice from our personal experiences, but this decision is a very individual one, one only you can make. I wish you all the best.
  • eastcoastmommaeastcoastmomma Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    When my son applied to college, his "official" transcript did not list his Resource Room/Support period grades. The school could not disclose that he was in a Special Education class, only he could, if he decided to do that.
    Until he saw a copy of his "official" transcript, he thought he would be forced into disclosing his learning disability. There was nothing on it that would have identified him as a Special Education student.
  • mildredmildred Registered User Posts: 686 Member
    The situation of eastcoastmomma's son is a great example of what one should maybe think of doing with regards to applying for University.

    You know, loveyouu, if you would like to...you could maybe share (all anon. like) more of your situation after you have obtained some parental guidance or something.
  • shawbridgeshawbridge Registered User Posts: 5,247 Senior Member
    My son will disclose and I expect he'll do it in the essay, although eastcoastmomma pointed out that there may be room for a supplementary essay. His record is sufficiently unusual that it probably wouldn't make sense without it. He's partially homeschooled to get more intellectual challenge than the school could offer and partly to work on his writing (he's quite dyslexic). He hasn't taken a language but will do an immersion class in Central America. As a writer, he's persevered and succeeded despite the LDs and has improved a lot. He also took the Harvard freshman expository writing class last summer. He's co-authoring a novel. And, he reached the finals in a Moot Court Competition and one of the judges, who was judging the competition, offered him an internship (little does he know how slowly my son reads).

    Without an explanation, it would be hard for an Adcom to understand why there were no language classes except for the immersion course and why there were so many unconventional English courses on his transcript. We are taking something of the position that eastcoastmomma's son did. "If they don't want me because of the LD despite my performance, I probably don't want to be there." We fully expect that some schools will not want him or at least will say that they can find someone equally gifted with no LDs so why take him? But the LDs are sufficiently pronounced that it would be hard not to mention them.
  • AnonyMomAnonyMom Registered User Posts: 333 Member
    Our kid had a more conventional transcript, although certainly fewer honors/AP classes than would have made sense without the LD, and decided not to disclose. The college seemed perfectly happy to find out about the LD after he was accepted, and directed him to the LD support office when there were questions about applying for accommodations. There did not seem to be any expectation that he should have revealed the LD earlier, or negatives coming from the college in the face of the post-acceptance revelation. Also, his hs guidance office has a relationship with this college admissions office, and clearly S's decision not to disclose -- which was supported, although not suggested, by the GC -- was not something the hs thought could damage that relationship.
  • AnonaAnona Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Interesting consideration about whether or not special ed is noted on a transcript (courses). That is something that parents should consider checking out. In my son's case, they changed the coding of "LD Support" to "Academic Support" or some such name. A savvy college could tell it was sped, though, because of the course number (x in the front, if I recall), and they can quickly figure out what "Academic Support" means. Of course, in my son's case, his resource class was simply a glorified study hall. (He needed help with pragmatics/social skills and not academics.) His A's in that class counted into his GPA.

    I think that disclosing a disability should be done carefully in college admissions. There is no affirmative action for disabilities in college and no benefit like there is for disclosing that one is a URM.
  • shawbridgeshawbridge Registered User Posts: 5,247 Senior Member
    College applications to start soon for my son. You are right, Anona, that if you don't have to disclose for the school to make sense of the applicant's record, it is probably better not to do so.I think he needs to disclose but wonder if he should disclose on some and not others.
  • eastcoastmommaeastcoastmomma Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    My son's Academic Support/Resource Room was not on his official transcript that was sent to colleges for admissions. Our high school has 8 periods, minus 1 for lunch, a student can have 7 classes, so anyone with less than 7 classes listed will catch an admission counselor's eye.

    When his official GPA was calculated it did not include the A+ from Resource. The grade report sent home included Resource grade in his GPA. Our high school produced 2 different grade reports/transcripts. No one from the school told me they would send out an official transcript without the Resource Room course listed.

    Best to ask your school/guidance counselor what is included on the official transcript. It may have a bearing on whether you disclose your LD.
  • marnikmarnik Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    My son did not mention LD specifically, but in reading his essay, it was obvious. In other words, it was never the main focus of the essay, but he said something to the effect "despite learning differences..." so the inference was there. There is nothing on his transcript about his LD. I would agree that it probably is important to find out how supportive a college might be, and what resources would be available, and no, there is no affirmative action for LD, but once accepted on the same basis as others, the support services are usually available.
  • Cardinal FangCardinal Fang Registered User Posts: 15,763 Senior Member
    I go back and forth about whether to disclose my son's learning disabilities on his applications (we're homeschoolers, so it's up to me to write the counselor's letter).

    On the one hand, I don't want him to seem weak. On the other hand, he has some low grades (in community college) that can be explained by his disabilities. On the first hand again, I don't want to seem whiny.
  • eastcoastmommaeastcoastmomma Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    Because of timing of when the counselor's letter was written -- before we had made our decision about disclosing LD -- our guidance counselor letter did not mention the LD. She left it to my son to describe his LD in his additional personal statement.

    One teacher's letter spent a paragraph on his LD and it discussed the successful accommodations used in high school. Another teacher recommendation never mentioned it, the teacher used his standard letter for his AP students.
  • bessiebessie Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    I fully support disclosure. Many applicants who have LD's have an interesting story to tell about how it affected their life so the essay can be an appropriate place to mention it. Also, a lot of college applications have a sections that says something like, "Is there anything else you would like us to know?' This is also an appropriate place to mention the LD. I think disclosing his LD actually HELPED my child get accepted to some schools. It explained a lot about his gpa/SAT differential and why he did not take zero period every year or take the absolute most rigorous schedule available. It also probably explained why he was so creative and artistic and why he spent some of his time the way he did. Of course, he took a few college classes (one to fulfill a HS requirement, the other two to see how he would do in the university setting) and did quite well, so that probably helped. He wrote his main essay about how his brain worked and why he would be a good fit at the school he was applying to and also disclosed the LD in the additional comments section. At SOME schools, though they would probably not admit it, disclosing may well be to an applicant's advantage because the application is routed through the student disability office, where people who are familiar with disabilities read the application and offer their input. Of course, it can only be an advantage when you are competitive, or close to being competitive, for admissions at the school you are applying to. At any rate, there came a time during the application process when my son simply decided to let the schools see him as he truly was and to let the chips fall where they may. And it turned out that, although his gpa was slightly lower than the average admitted student, he was admitted into every school he applied to (including three reaches). I think many families are wary of how their kids will be looked at, because any family with an LD member in it has seen that family member discriminated against or unfairly labeled because of the LD behavior so I understand why some would prefer NOT to disclose. Good luck with your applications next fall.
  • toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,794 Senior Member
    A cute story from a neighbor, who's son has ADD....His essay was about how he pays "too much attention" to everything and used examples of the benefits of ADD. It must have worked, as he got into a pretty good school.
This discussion has been closed.