As a high school sophomore who was not coping well with the pressures of high school, I decided to begin college early. With the support of my family, I talked to my guidance counselor. He listened and agreed to let me earn high school credit by attending college.
My First College Experiences
When I arrived at college, my advisor (the head of Disabled Student Services, and disabled himself) tried to persuade me to take remedial English classes to ensure that I was prepared for college level work. English, however, was my strongest subject, and I refused. He was angry and showed his displeasure by repeatedly stating that this was an unwise idea. I went on to receive A's in the majority of my classes, and never received a C in my five years of attendance there. He finally decided not to fight me.
What YOU Can Do
In talking to other disabled students, I have found that many guidance counselors recommend remedial courses for disabled students regardless of the student's age and prior academic record. While remedial courses are beneficial for some students, they should not be used for all. If you are feeling short-changed in your educational process, I recommend the following:
- Consider enrolling in a local community college as a high school student if you feel you can.
- Consider part-time enrollment. This reduces the risk of disability related complications. It also allows you conserve your energy, put greater focus on individual classes, and better track your academic progress.
- Remind yourself that you have the right to choose your own classes, and that you know yourself better than anyone. Remind other students of this as well.
- Get tested for a learning disability if your performance in one area is significantly lower than others. Remind advisors and students that a person can be both gifted and learning disabled.
- If you know that you have a learning disability that will prevent you from graduating, petition the requirement. Petitioning means to request a complete waiver of the requirement or to ask for a course that can be taken instead.
- Join a disabled student club. If there are none on campus, start one to promote socialization and discuss grievances.
Above all, remember that a college degree is worth the time, sacrifices and challenges. It is an investment in yourself.NEXT WEEK: Laura provides insights on coping with dyscalculia, a little-known learning disability that makes college math and science courses particularly difficult.