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My daughter wants to go to college!

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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Jun 09, 2001 at 1:51:49 AM
Subject: My daughter wants to go to college!

I hope that someone here will be able to help me. My daughter has learning disabilities, she has tested out in all areas except Math. Actually she's done very well in everything except Math. She is a very talented musician and wants to study music (vocal) and drama in college, she's been offered a music scholarship to the University that is practically in our back yard. The only problem is she can't be admitted because of her SAT score in, you guessed it, MATH. Surely someone else has experienced this road block. She is scheduled to retake the SAT on July 17 and will again have special administration, but I don't think it will make that much difference. She's gone through 10 years of baby steps in Math, her IEP has always specified very small gains, now that she is looking at college we find out that the requirements for her, all of a sudden, are just the same as for anyone else. If it were possible for her to perform at the same level as everyone else, then she wouldn't have a learning disability. I've read all the articles and rules and regulations and I realize now that it's too late, that colleges have no requirements to lessen standards, but honestly what was the point of the whole public school program? She has a college prep diploma with a Fine Arts Seal of Distinction. We've been telling her for 10 years that if she works hard and does what the experts say she can go to college and do what she wants to do. Is it just a lie they told us to keep us off their backs? I know this is long, I hope someone will get through it and tell me what to do. Thanks in advance.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 25, 2014
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Posted:Jun 09, 2001 10:23:56 AM

Unfortunately, I'm not an expert in special-ed law, so I will leave those points to someone who does. I will make these points, though.

First of all, according to law--if I understand it correctly--colleges receiving federal money HAVE to make provisions for students with learning disabilities. If the college your daughter wants to attend won't do that, then it's making itself wide-open to a lawsuit for ADA noncompliance. (Someone else will have to tell you if insisting that your daughter get a high math score is in violation of the law or not, as I cannot.) Of course, to qualify for any accommodations, your daughter will have to have been recently tested. Just how recently, though, I don't know.

Second, there ARE colleges that are hospitable to LD students. There's even at least one geared specifically at LD students: Landmark College. Maybe your daughter could get admitted to that one. There's another university in Vermont, called Marshall University, that has an excellent LD program run by Dr. Barbara Guyer, author of THE PRETENDERS: GIFTED PEOPLE WHO HAVE DIFFICULTY LEARNING. It's called the H.E.L.P. program (Higher Education for Learning Problems--a very apt acronym, if you ask me! =)). If your daughter can prove that her math difficulties is due to a diagnosed learning disability, she might could possibly get admitted there.

Yours truly,
Kathy G.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 09, 2001 4:05:34 PM

Doesn't the music department have any "pull" in who can be admitted? My daughter plays a sport and is being recruited to attend a very highly academic school. The coach makes a list of students that he wants and gives them to the admissions office. He puts the students with the lowest SAT scores at the top of the list. She needs to make a minimum score - which is not all that high, in order to "get in". My daughter has similar problems. She is very gifted in one area and its definitely not in math. I would think that the more gifted a student is in an area, the more they would be desired by the department they will end up graduating from anyway. Its maddening and my heart goes out to you. Good luck.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 09, 2001 5:06:46 PM

Thank you Kathy G. and Trish. The music department wants her very badly, her voice teacher is the head of the vocal music depart., but they don't have any input as far as admission is concerned, and her scholarship is contingent upon acceptance to the University. It's a State University and according to the admissions people they are not permitted to lower the standards under any circumstances. She only managed a 230 on the Math portion of the SAT, the minimum requirement is 400, which of course is not very high, but for my daughter it may as well be 4000! We're confident that she can do better after a few trys at it, but probably not 400. The University admissions people suggest that she go to a community college for a year or so and then transfer in. The problem with that is there's not a community college close to us so she would have to drive 45 to 60 minutes to get to the closest one thru horrible Atlanta traffic, none of them have any music programs much less drama, and of course she will lose her scholarship. The University she wants to attend that's offered her the scholarship is less than a mile from our back door! None of this makes any sense to me in a time when everyone is being encouraged to seek a higher education. It seems discriminatory to me, at best, and not a little bit malicious! There just has to be something that can be done, even if it involves a law suit. Maybe I'm just not seeing the situation clearly because it's my child. Anybody have any suggestions for me?
Thank you for listening,
Paula

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 09, 2001 8:01:03 PM

Hello Paula,

I am the parent of a son and daughter w/ Specific LD (which includes math). Both have graduated from College.

I am curious to know if your daughter took the SAT as an LD Student with Accommodations. That is probably a good place to begin. She can take the SAT with accommodations as long as she can substantiate her LD to the SAT folk. Also, has she disclosed to the Univ. that she is a student with LD. I live in Atlanta and am wondering which Univ. you are referring to as GA. State, UGA, Emory, and most of the Colleges and Univ. in the area do have Services for Students with LD. You might want to contact the Director for the Disability Services (called various names at every Univ.). This person may be able to assist you further, as they will know how students with LD are admitted to the Univ.. Some students can be admitted to the University as a provisional student. If they do well the first semester the status changes. That might be available at this University. Students with LD/ADD can attend college. I was fortunate enough to see 18 graduate this Spring from Muskingum College with my son. If none of this works, you may need to look for other schools that have Programs for students with LD/ADD. Most colleges and Univ. now have a math course that they will let a student with LD substitute for the required math course. Good luck to your daughter and you. Hope this information is helpful. Sincerely, VEDA

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 09, 2001 9:56:00 PM

Paula,
I know this sounds simple but can't you hire a tutor or get someone from her school to work on practice tests for the SAT's? Even with a learning difference your daughter would score much higher if she studied the type of questions and worked them out with someone who could explain how to solve them. Many of the questions she would practice would be very similar to the actual test. The SAT people can make accommadations if they are notified and her last IEP is still valid and states what her needs are.
Jerry

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 10, 2001 6:32:46 AM

There are many ways around this. The easiest might be for her to apply as a part-time student and as a non-degree candidate as soon as she has her diploma which you say she has. No one applying as a part-time student/non-degree candidate is ever turned down and SATS are not necessary. Often universities will even have applicaitons on-line for this and admission is automatic. Then let her take a few courses - even this summer. Then reapply as a degree candidate based on her success in the courses she took. In this way you could sidestep the whole SAT thing. You would need to talk to the person who offered her the scholarship though to see if the scholarship offer would wait for her as she "goes in the back door" of the university.


There are ialso ncreasing numbers of colleges that don't want SAT scores but you already have a school in mind for your daughter. www.fairtest.org could to keep a list of the schools that didn't require SATS.

I do find it odd, though, that they offer her a scholarship while not admitting her. Who offered her the scholarship? That person should be able to talk to the admissions committee on her behalf and possibly get the SAT math score thing waived.

As to the point of the whole public school program, well, that's another question. There are those who don't think it has much point and others including myself who would say sadly that I don't think it always works on the side of our children especially when they have learning differences.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 10, 2001 6:29:17 PM

Hi Laveda, Jerry and Sara,
Thank you for the information. The college we are talking about is Clayton College and State University, which a few years ago was a community college and is now a State University. They have a very good music program and active drama department. CCSU is also the location of Spivey Hall. My daughter has been a member of the Spivey Hall Tour Choir for 8 years since it's inception. It is the music department at CCSU that administers the Spivey Hall Foundation Scholarship program, who have offered her a scholarship. Yes, she had special administration when she took the SAT. Yes, the school is aware of her situation and are very sympatetic (including the Disabilities office), however they insist that there is nothing to be done except for her to score a 400 on the SAT or go to a community college. And according to the State LD Consultant as well as the Director of Admissions and the Director of Disabilities Services at CCSU, the situation would be the same at any State University within the State of Georgia. I have personally spoken with all of these individuals, so none of this is hearsay. Apparently, you either go to a private University or a Community Colllege or you meet the same requirements that all other students have to meet. Laveda, if you are familiar with the South side of Atlanta, you know that there are no community colleges down here, she would either have to commute 60 minutes further south to Gordon College or the other direction thru unbelievable Atlanta traffic. We have never even let her drive in town, I can't see sending her into that everyday, she's too young and inexperienced. I would prefer that she go away to school and live on campus than commute in Atlanta! The conditions of her scholarship state that she must meet all requirements for admission to the college, she must be enrolled as a full time student, and she must participate in a major ensemble. If she goes to another school she has no scholarship money available, she'll be starting out with a bunch of student loans to pay off. Her Father and I are not financially able to bare the burden for her, I wish we were, then this wouldn't be as much of a problem. I'm sure we could buy her way into a school somewhere, but that seems terribly unfair when she has accomplished as much as she has on her own. I won't go into all that, but she is an extremely accomplished young lady. She has an overall grade point average of 83.6, and a core average of 78.2 which of course is less than 2 points below HOPE eligibility, which would pay all her tuition. I have written to Sen. Miller asking him to look into this IMHO injustice. and recently received a response from the Ga. Student Finance people basically saying: that's too bad, but that's just the way it is and there is no recourse, no matter how unfair it is. All the years of hard work, redicule from other kids and teachers as well, all the battles with the local schools, all the hours spent in meetings and talking with specialists, all the reading to try and be informed enough to advocate for our child seems to have lead to nothing. I'm at the end of my rope. Someone needs to write an Expose on this subject so that other parents are aware of this situation before they are faced with it. As for us, I know we would have made very different decisions had we known the truth. Jerry, she's been tutored for 10 years and we are working with her now on a daily basis hoping/praying that she can make a 400 when she retakes the SAT. I think our next approach may be to follow Sara's advice about the back-door into the college by way of part-time status, she may lose her scholarship award, but she'll be able to continue working with her voice teacher and maybe they will award her a scholarship when she can become a full time student. Thanks for giving me a place to vent and thanks for the information.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 12, 2001 10:08:00 AM

we have a similar dilemma. my son is talented in music and sports. he was recruited by many schools but was not admitted even with coaches and references. they would not give an inch. not even an offer for provisional admission. same advice was given- go to community college. one- this represented failure to him, two- comm. college didn't offer the accommodations he needed. he also has had low sat's with accommodations for testing. to make a long story short i had him apply to some schools with comprehensive ld/add support programs, not general disability services. this means you must be accepted by the college and the ld program. he also took act's. he was accepted by one 4 year school. it only takes one acceptance to get started. they have an ld program staffed with ld specialists, not student tutors. they walk them through the registration process, course selection, mandatory tutoring in your first year, etc. it does have a swim team and a small music department. he also wants to try biology. yes, its expensive. i had to take a parent plus loan, he will do work study as well. but it's a chance to grow and hopefully shine in a better environment than high school was.
he hopes to transfer to the college he wanted the most after a year. but who knows maybe he will like it here better if he's doing well. at least it will give him a choice. he found the sat's "easier" than act's but did poorly on sat and well on act. he is disabled in math and language arts, reading decoding. the act gives 4 separate grades of testing math ,science, reading , language. and then an overall grade average. his high science off set the low math and gave him a passing overall average. see if your university would accept an act test. it's very popular in the west and midwest for admissions. good luck!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 12, 2001 4:05:40 PM

Hello Everyone,
What about probationary status for the first year? Does the college allow that?I am not an expert about special education and laws either, but I don't mind sharing my story with you. I am also not sure about your state schools and how they work.
I was diagnosed with a learning disability in grade school. My main difficulty is in Math. I was told that I was never going to go to college.
When I graduated high school, my only resort was to go to community college because of my poor (and I mean poor!!) SAT scores. I decided to apply to a Pennsylania State University satellite campus. They accepted me on probationary terms (I had to maintain a certain GPA or I was unable to attend anymore). I was a "provisional" student. I had support of the disabilites resource center, a resource room which I used to take untimed tests and received tutoring as needed. After a year of introductory courses that I had to take (I placed low into every basic course) I was given degree status. I basically had to prove to them that I could survive in college.
After three years, I transferred to Temple University and I switched my major. In the end, I am a better college student than I was in high school. I graduated from Temple University in May of 2000.
I decided to apply to graduate school. I took the GRE (graduate record exam) and of course did poorly. Most school have that "minimum score". Well I did not achieve it, but I was accepted and my GPA is a 3.7! My grades have never been this high!
I guess my point is: I don't think that the SAT's or GRE's determine your fate as a student for post secondary education. Some people just have trouble with testing, and I am one of those people.
Check to see if your children can enter the school on probationary terms. A few extra basic classes may be needed, but I think that it is worth it. It took me five years to get my bachelor degree, which is normal these days The only difference with me is that I did not have any scholarships to college straight out of high school( I am not quite sure how they work). However, I did receive grants/scholarships from school due to my grades. It all helps!
hope this helps you :)
Jess

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 14, 2001 12:03:20 AM

Hi Jess,
Thank you for telling your story. Congratulations on your success! In the state of Georgia, or at least at the school my daughter wants to attend and according to them all schools in the University system in Georgia, students are required to have a minimum SAT score, or they cannot be admitted. I have not yet gotten an answer to the question of part time status, as suggested in Sara's post. I find it very encouraging to hear your story, I hope that my daughter will be able to do as well. Our latest "problem" (we aren't even thinking about dealing with this one until we see how she does retaking the SAT!) is that the school is going to require retesting for her LD status. They say that her last phyc eval when she was 17, is not sufficient and she has to be tested as an "adult" in order to qualify for disability services. Does it seem to anyone else that these people are being less than cooperative? All of her testing up to now has been done by the public school system. I'm sure we will be required to pay for this testing and I have no idea how much that will cost. It almost seems like the university is trying to place as many road blocks in our way as possible. I guess I should just be thankful that they aren't requiring us to have retesting done before they give her special administration on the SAT! Thanks everyone for all the information and concern.
Paula DeTar

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 14, 2001 1:44:20 PM

Hi Paula,
Thank you. I've worked so hard to get where I am and I am so glad that your daughter is looking into college. How old is your daughter now? She was tested when she was seventeen? It does seem as if they are being a bit "picky". If I remember correctly, when I went to Penn State (9/95), the college took a copy of my original Psycho-Educational Eval (from 1988) and my last IEP from high school. They did not require me to have another eval. However, I did have one before grad school. Have you read up on any info on post secondary education for the disabled? I will look into it and get back to you.
Jess

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 14, 2001 5:21:05 PM

Hi Jess,
My daughter is 18, she'll be 19 in November. They are saying that the testing is different for children (even if the child is 17) and they require the adult version of the phyc testing. What ever! I don't see how it could be that different myself. This seems to be yet another part of this whole system that is out of control. I have done a lot of research on post secondary education, but nothing seems to be of much help. If you find anything that you think would be of value in this situation I would really appreciate you letting me know. I read so much of this kind of stuff, I'm sure I miss some things that are really important. Your perspective as someone who has been through it might be of great value. I can't help but think that the system should be in place to help LD students not hinder them as seems to be the case for us. Do you remember anything about the cost of eval testing when you had it done before Grad school? I'm looking for a ballpark figure, just for planning purposes. The disabilities services people don't want to talk about it until after she retakes the SAT, but I'm thinking this may be a major expense that we need to start planning for. Any idea? Thanks for your concern. I am so glad I found this board, I feel better just having contact with people who know about the struggle. We've never had much involvement with other parents of LD students, because for the most part, there haven't been any who were interested. Most of the kids in my daughter's class had either long since dropped out or had been just trying to hang on until graduation. A lot of them were just trying to get a Cert. of Attendance or a special Ed diploma. There was only one other senior in my daughters math class this past year, and he was an athelete. I think that's really sad. Two kids who made it through the system, when she was in middle school there were dozens.
Paula DeTar

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 14, 2001 8:30:27 PM

Paula,
I find it rediculous that they feel that she should be re-tested. It is not as if she was tested ten years ago. I can understand the fact that re-testing may be needed, but not 1-2 years later.
As for prices, I heard that some psychologist charge 1500.00 around here for Evals. I am not sure if that depends on certain tests that are used or it is just a flat fee. I went to a psych intern who received evaluation hours for testing me. I was not charged. Possibly call around and look into prices.
One more thing....Did you ask the college about applying as a non-degree provisional student?
Jess

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 14, 2001 11:31:37 PM

Jess,
No, we haven't asked about provisional status yet. We are hoping that she will be able to make a high enough score on the retake of the SAT and that we'll be able to salvage her scholarship. If not, then we'll check with them on provisional or part-time status and see if the music department can hold her scholarship for her (I really doubt that they will do that, but it's worth asking). If worst comes to worst and she has to go to a community college, she can continue taking voice from her teacher (who is Head of the Vocal Music Department at the college she wants to attend) and hope that she can win another scholarship when and if she becomes a degree seeking student. I don't know how we'll pay for any of this if that is the case, I don't know if student loans and Pell grants apply if you have part-time or provisional status. Have any ideas as far as finance is concerned? This is so awful, the people who need the most help have the most obstacles placed in their path. It makes no sense to me. Thank you for your posts.
Paula

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 15, 2001 12:43:39 PM

Paula,

My suggestion to you is find a tutor for your daughter or check into local learning centers. They provide programs after school for additional help and tutoring. There are SAT books with tapes and workbooks. I used one of these as I was preparing for the SAT and you would not belive how similar the questions were. These practice books are a good idea and this will make her a little more comfortable under the stress of taking the test. I wish her luck with taking the SAT again. Please just don't let her give up!!

Summer

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 19, 2001 10:28:51 PM

See United States v. Fordice, 505 U.S. 717,735-39 (1992)(ruling that Mississippi’s exclusive use of ACT scores in making college admissions decisions was not educationally justified, since, among other factors, the ACT’s administering organization discouraged this practice).

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 20, 2001 12:33:59 PM

Hi,
I just wanted to let you know, Marshall is in West Virginia not Vermont.
It has terrific support services. My daughter's ADHD was diagnosed there.
It's also a very good academically. Good luck!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 20, 2001 3:56:26 PM

Sounds like your daughter got help there. How much help was available? From what I read you get up to 2 hrs. of tutoring in no more than 2 courses. Accomadations like books on tape, notetakers, extended time on tests are individualized. Is this correct? Was this your daughter's experience? Has she successfully completed her courses there? What supports and services were made available to your daughter? Is she happy there? I wish more people would post college success stories. Thanks.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 20, 2001 9:07:24 PM
Subject:Marshall

I found the HELP program on the website. It looks good. This is a fee for service program and you pay for the necessary hours of tutoring. Could get pricey on top of tuition and R&B fees (for out of state students). Program is quite a bit less costly for West Virginia residents.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jul 03, 2001 5:12:39 PM

With those problems in math, would she be able to fulfill the graduation requirements if she were admitted?

I'd look at the short and long term goals here -- this is clearly a passion for her and whatever you can do to keep it alive, do it... part-time or whatever. Could be that she can find career & job opportunities while she's doing part time classes and like so many basketball players, "go pro" while she's working towards that degree.

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