Disclosing Learning Disabilities

<p>My daughter is very bright and meets all W&M standards except one: through the roof standardized test scores. She was very recently diagnosed with a learning disability. Is this something she should disclose on the application or would it be held against her during the admission process? She has developed her own accomodations through the years for studying and keeping her grades excellent. William and Mary is her top choice. She would have applied ED except her test scores are lower. She is retaking them again today.</p>


<p>It's really up to the student whether or not they disclose a learning disability in the admission process. We certainly encourage students to provide us with any information that helps us to put any part of their application in context (in this case your D's standardized test scores). We certainly do not hold a learning disability against any student. With academic information, we try to evaluate whether W&M is a good fit and whether a student can be successful at W&M.</p>

<p>A quick piece of advice: students with learning disabilities are eligible to receive accommodations while taking either the SAT or the ACT, provided that the disability is documented. Since your daughter is applying regular decision, she should still have time to receive such accommodations, if she chooses to sit for the test again at a later date. I don't know all of the requirements, but it'd definitely be worth looking into. If the test that your daughter is taking today doesn't go quite as well as you both hope, you should be able to update her scores again before decisions come out.</p>

<p>It's pretty unfortunate that so much focus is placed on the SAT/ACT, given that these tests have very little predictive value of success beyond a student's first year of study. These tests are also incredibly unfair to people like your daughter who suffer from learning disabilities, as well as students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. There have also been multiple studies which suggest that these tests are one of the weakest indicators of success in the classroom at university. </p>

<p>Even if it is unfair, selective institutions like W&M are pretty protective of their SAT/ACT score ranges, so you and your daughter really should do everything you can to get that score up. Every part of the application counts, even if the review process is holistic.</p>