10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning Differences

10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning Differences

List of the Top 10 Colleges with Strong Support Systems for Students with Learning Differences

When it comes to a college education, one size certainly does not fit all. This is especially the case for students with learning differences. About 1 in 5 people in the United States has a learning difference. Given the proper accommodations and support systems, people with learning differences can excel in college and beyond. According to a Hechinger Report article, while 94% of high school students with learning differences receive support, only 17% of college students receive it. Both a lack of available resources and students’ decisions to not take advantage of support are at play here. While there is definitely progress to be made when it comes to colleges accommodating and supporting students with learning differences, there are some colleges that go above and beyond in doing so and make it easy for students to seek out the support they need. Discussed below are 10 such colleges.

InfoBlog_17_CollegesForLearningDifferences_American-300x200 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesAmerican University, Washington, DC:

Freshmen with special needs at American University can take part in the Learning Services Program (LSP), which helps students build their academic and social skills. LSP students can meet with a program coordinator in the summer before freshman year to discuss course selection and registration. Students in the LSP attend a specialized freshman writing class and meet weekly with a writing coach and academic advisor. They are also paired with an upper-class LSP student mentor. After freshman year, students can take advantage of the Academic Support and Access Center, which offers counseling, free tutoring, study skills workshops, and connections with jobs and internships.

InfoBlog_17_CollegesForLearningDifferences_Marist-300x200 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesMarist College, Poughkeepsie, NY:

The Learning Disabilities Support Program at Marist pairs students with a learning specialist who can help them with their organization, time management, note taking, study skills, and social interaction. Freshmen can meet with their learning specialist twice a week, and students can meet with them as long as they feel is necessary. An important feature of this program is that it teaches students to advocate for themselves and to discuss their issues and needs with their professors. Marist students also have the opportunity to take part in events that raise awareness about disabilities and differences.

InfoBlog_17_CollegesForLearningDifferences_Curry-300x200 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesCurry College, Milton, MA:

Curry College has a student-to-teacher ratio of 11:1, which makes it easy for students to get individualized support. The faculty in the Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL), which focuses on reading, listening, writing, and organization skills, work with students in small groups and individually for 2.5 hours a week. Students take one credited PAL course each semester, which helps them build useful skills for their other classes. For an additional fee, PAL students can take part in a summer program the summer before freshman year to get extra help in the transition from high school to college. The PAL summer program also includes trips around the Boston area.

InfoBlog_17_CollegesForLearningDifferences_Lynn-300x200 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesLynn University, Boca Raton, FL:

The Institute for Achievement and Learning (IAL) at Lynn University helps students discover their personal strengths and challenges, advocate for themselves, and gain independence early on. Some of the courses at Lynn are even taught by IAL fellows who are trained in different teaching strategies. Resources at the IAL include one-on-one tutoring, coaching, and a testing center where students who need assistance on tests have access to readers and scribes. While in freshman year, the focus of IAL is more on writing and skill development, in later years, the focus shifts to self-advocacy, school-life balance, and problem-solving strategies.

InfoBlog_17_CollegesForLearningDifferences_UofA-300x200 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesUniversity of Arizona, Tucson, AZ:

Students with learning differences who are looking for a “big school experience” should definitely check out the University of Arizona. The university’s Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center serves over 500 students with a wide range of needs. Students meet weekly with learning specialists who help them develop a unique learning plan to succeed in their college courses and to work on executive functioning, attention, and learning skills. The SALT Center also offers tutoring, computer labs, and workshops on such topics as test taking, time management, and reading. For an extra fee, there is even life coaching specifically catered to students with ADHD.

InfoBlog_17_CollegesForLearningDifferences_UConn-300x200 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesUniversity of Connecticut, Storrs, CT:

The Center for Students with Disabilities at UConn offers tutoring and workshops on a wide range of topics, including study skills, networking, and the best use of technology for studying. Through the Beyond Access Program, students meet weekly with a trained Strategy Instructor to work on skills such as time management and organization, stress management, self-advocacy, memory and concentration, social skills, career prep, health and wellness, and reading and writing strategies. UConn also offers a summer program for high school students called UCPREP. This 6-day program helps students build study, learning, and independent living skills.

InfoBlog_17_CollegesForLearningDifferences_UnivIowa-300x200 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesUniversity of Iowa, Iowa City, IA:

The REACH program at the University of Iowa provides support for students with intellectual, cognitive, and learning differences. It is a 2-year transition certificate program great for students who need extra support or who aren’t ready to jump into the college experience just yet. REACH students all live in the same dorm (along with non-REACH students) and receive extra support from trained RAs. They have the opportunity to participate in community internships and hands-on learning experiences, be paired with a peer mentor and create a portfolio of work about their transition to college. REACH students are able to get the “Big 10” college experiences while getting the support they need every step of the way.

InfoBlog_17_CollegesForLearningDifferences_Mitchell-300x200 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesMitchell College, New London, CT:

More than a third of undergrads at Mitchell have a registered disability. Freshmen with special needs have the opportunity to meet with a learning specialist three times a week through the Bentsen Learning Center Program. The program focuses on learning skills, writing, and career readiness. There are various levels of support, so the program can be catered to each student’s unique needs. Students also have access to workshops on organization, comprehension, memory, time management, test prep, and more. Mitchell also runs Thames Academy, a gap-year program to help students with learning and attention issues transition to college. Students who participate in Thames Academy can earn college credit.

InfoBlog_17_CollegesForLearningDifferences_WVWC-300x200 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesWest Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, WV:

Through the Learning Center at WVWC, students with special academic needs have access to one-on-one professional tutoring, academic counseling for goal setting and organizational skills, and classes that use the Lindamood-Bell approach—a technique for addressing difficulties in math, reading, writing, and cognitive processing. The Mentor Advantage Program provides several hours a week of organizational and strategic content academic counseling plus daily check-ins with a professional tutor. It even offers evening drop-in hours for extra support. Through MAP, freshmen attend a course on making the transition to college.

InfoBlog_17_CollegesForLearningDifferences_Denver-2-300x200 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesUniversity of Denver, Denver, CO:

The Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) at the University of Denver offers students with special needs one-on-one support, tutoring, writing workshops, student activities, leadership projects, and help developing organizational and time management skills. Students meet with a counselor for an hour a week to go over strategies for learning and organization, and academic tutoring uses a variety of learning strategies. The LEP has a fee, but students who cannot afford it can take advantage of free resources through the Disability Services Office. The Disability Services Office ensures that students have access to test accommodations, alternate formats for text and materials, course substitutions, interpreters, and any other required services. Students with learning differences at the University of Denver can participate in a mentoring program where they work with younger children who have learning and attention issues.

Screen-Shot-2017-10-24-at-11.14.42-AM-207x300 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesIf you’d like to learn more about these colleges from current students or alumni or want some extra help with the college transition process, organization and study skills, academic courses, or pretty much anything else under the sun, have a look at Konversai. Founded on the premise that everybody everywhere has valuable knowledge, skills, and experiences to offer, Konversai is a platform that connects providers of knowledge with seekers of knowledge on any topic of interest through one-on-one live video conversations. Whether you’re looking for math tutoring, information about a particular college, SAT or ACT test prep skills, help developing an exercise routine, recipe ideas, advice on your upcoming spring break trip, language or musical instrument lessons, help revamping your wardrobe, or something else entirely, there’s sure to be a knowledge provider on Konversai who can help you out. The best part is that you don’t have to leave your home. You can be anywhere in the world; all you need are a device, a reliable Internet connection, and yourself. Screen-Shot-2017-10-24-at-11.10.59-AM-212x300 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning DifferencesAll Konversai users are encouraged to be both knowledge provider and knowledge seekers on any and as many topics as they wish. Knowledge providers are also encouraged to charge as much as they want for their time. If they don’t need the money, they can always hold sessions for free or donate their earnings to a charity of the choice. Konversai’s mission is to democratize knowledge, put the human connection back into the heart of technology, and make the world better by enabling meaningful and authentic conversations between people who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. Become part of the movement by signing up for Konversai today!

Written by: Pavita Singh


  1. Best Colleges Online. 20 Incredible Colleges for Students with Special Needs.
  2. Best Value Schools. 20 Best Value Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities 2017-2018.
  3. Fulciniti, Francesca. (2015). The 18 Best Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities. PrepScholar.
  4. Sorensen, Marianna. (2016). Top 10 Best Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities. College Magazine.
  5. Understood. 15 College Programs for Kids with Learning and Attention Issues.



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