For Families: Choosing a College

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There are several different kinds of programs for students with ID, and many students also attend college with individualized supports rather than through an organized program. Section 2 of this module has more detail.  As options for students with ID to attend college continue to grow, students and families have more choices, and it is important to think about what kinds of experiences the students are looking for in college.
  • Live at home or on campus?
  • Stay close to home or get away a little bit?
  • Study at a 4-year college or a 2-year college?
  • Attend classes with peers without disabilities, or attend classes that are more separate?
  • Have a lot of choice about what kinds of classes to take, or have a very prescribed curriculum?

There are lots of good questions to ask. Answering these will help to narrow down the colleges that will be a good fit. Students can use College Search on ThinkCollege.net to review their options, and can search by where a program is located, what kind of school it is (2-year, 4-year, or technical/trade), whether it is for students still in high school or out of high school, and whether or not you can live on campus. Once a student finds programs that they are interested in, there is much more detail on each one provided so that students can start to understand how they are alike and different. There is contact information for each program as well, so students and families can contact each one and ask questions more specific to their situation.

If possible, you and your son or daughter should talk to people at the college that she/he is interested in attending. It is important to talk to are the program director, but also make arrangements, if you can, to talk with campus disability services, financial aid and academic support services. Take a campus tour that includes the cafeteria, library, gym, and student union or activities center to get a feel for the campus and to help determine if it is a good fit.  Think College has created a resource to help students and parents conduct a college search by suggesting several questions they can ask of prospective programs. 

To Learn More: 

How can people with intellectual disability and their families choose the best college options? Think College Search is an essential resource for this process. But it also helps to know what questions to ask.

"How to Think College: Conducting...Read more

Browse college programs for students with intellectual disabilities and sort by state, type of college, and more.Read more