While every college is required to provide basic support for students with disabilities and/or ADHD, there are some colleges with programs for students with learning disabilities that go above and beyond to create an inclusive and supportive environment for their neurodivergent students. Colleges with programs for students with learning disabilities have better engagement and graduation rates.
We believe this is because colleges with a culture of inclusion have a culture where students are encouraged to thrive, rather than just survive. When you’re sensitive to the needs of your students and provide them with many ways to learn and succeed, you’re not only helping students with learning disabilities, but also the entire student body.
So, before you start applying for college, check out this list of college programs for students with learning disabilities. Get the support you need to be successful and thrive.
Best College Programs for Students with Learning Disabilities
The schools on this list were added because they scored high in one or more areas, including smaller class sizes, accessibility, coaching and tutoring programs, and individualized learning plans.
Many other colleges offer similar services that did not make it to this list. So make sure you check in with your favorite colleges before you decide whether to apply. Every college should offer information on accessibility, ADA compliance, and special needs programs.
1. Landmark College – Putney, VT
Landmark College is different and notable because it is a school designed especially for students with learning disabilities. The school motto is “We Learn Differently”, and they seem to adhere to that dogma in every area of their curriculum.
They believe that people who learn differently are inherently capable of innovation. Their website states their mission is to ‘identify and assess ambitious opportunities and innovations that could provide future growth and institutional transformation.”
They offer traditional on-campus classes, online courses, and summer pre-college programs for students with learning disabilities. The school conducts and publishes groundbreaking research on autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities.
2. University of Arizona – Tucson, AZ
The University of Arizona offers an exceptional educational experience for students with disabilities. The college’s Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center helps every student create their own individual educational plan that boosts each student’s chances of success.
Another resource is the Access vs. Inclusion workshops, which help clubs and organizations educate themselves about inclusivity and accessibility issues within their organization or club memberships.
Dyslexic Advantage, Dealing with Different, Friendship Circle, The Atlantic, and College Magazine all endorse the school for its accessible approach to college life.
3. Mitchell College – New London, CT
Mitchell offers the Bentsen Learning Center Program (BLCP) for students who need extra help. There are different levels of support available through all its two- and four-year programs. A freshman meets with a learning specialist three times a week to discuss and practice learning and writing skills, as well as learning about potential career paths and professionalism.
If you are concerned about your child struggling with the transition to college from high school, Mitchell also offers the Thames Academy. This is a gap year program that offers college credit in a highly structured academic environment. It is designed specifically for students with learning and thinking disabilities.
4. Curry College – Milton, MA
The Curry’s Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL) program at Curry College works with students individually and in small classes. The focus of this program is to work on students’ reading, listening, writing, and organizational skills. Students who enroll in the program will take a credited course every semester.
You can also enroll your child in the PAL summer program. This program is designed to help children with disabilities transition more smoothly from high school to college. This course is a separate expense and is not covered by tuition.
5. West Virginia Wesleyan College – Buckhannon, WV
Wesleyan College has a program called Mentor Advantage Program (MAP) for students with learning disabilities. This program allows students to meet with tutors for several hours each week and work on their organizational skills, as well as strategies for success in specific courses.
Resources on note-taking, active listening, and study schedules are just a fraction of the resources available for students. Freshmen in the MAP program would attend an orientation course designed to help facilitate the transition from high school to college.
If you’re willing to pay an extra fee, you can also access MAP’s daytime check-in options. This gives students extra help with studying, organization, and test review.
6. Beacon College – Leesburg, FL
Beacon College is another college specifically geared towards students with learning disabilities or who are neurodiverse in some way. The focus is on creating as customized an approach to learning as possible.
They achieve this through small class sizes—no more than 15—which allows each student to receive the attention and support they need to succeed.
Their approach seems to be working. According to recent numbers, Beacon’s students have a 70% on-time graduation rate, and over 80% of them secure employment or graduate school placement post-graduation. That’s well above the national average.
7. University of the Ozarks – Clarksville, AR
The University of the Ozarks has developed the Jones Learning Center (JLC) to assist students with their academic and organizational skills. Unlike many similar programs, there is no limit to how often you can meet with tutors or how many hours you spend in the program.
JLC has specialized services for students with ASD. There are also note-taking and peer tutoring services available.
Looking for Support with College Programs and Applications?
Easterseals Arkansas offers several programs designed to help students with disabilities achieve their academic goals. Check out our Academics, Community, Career Development, and Employment Program (ACCE) through the UA Little Rock campus.
Contact us for more information about support for students with disabilities—both in Arkansas and across the country.