Attending College with Learning Challenges

By Samantha Kolkey

Happy Friday! Hope you all are finishing out the week strong!

Yesterday, an article was published in the New York Times titled “Developmentally Disabled, and Going to College.” All the staff here at Options for College Success found it very relevant at this time of year, as well as an important article to spread awareness of the need for services targeted to those transitioning to college with developmental and learning disabilities.  The students that are portrayed in this fabulous article written by Kyle Spencer reminded the Options staff of the student population we work with every day. Once this population transitions out of high school programs into the post-secondary education world, they are often over-looked and treated as unable.  Sometimes parents are left unsure of what to do for their young adult, and this is where our services come into play.

Options for College Success provides services that target all areas of a person’s life to help them succeed in school, work, and transition into independence. We provide academic support and tutoring, career counseling and job support, financial skill building, independent living skills, social skills, and we host social events almost every day of the week. We have a full time residential program, a day program, and are now offering a Skype option.  We develop custom learning plans for every student to help meet them where they are at, and work from a strengths based model.  To find out more, please visit out website at or contact us 847.425.4797.

And of course…check out the article:



This is the post excerpt.

By Samantha Kolkey

Welcome to our blog! We are proud to be starting this new feature and would love to get ideas on what you want to read about. Please email us at with any topics or questions!

As we start our new school year, I want to begin our blogging journey with tips on entering or returning to college as a student with learning challenges and disabilities.


This can be an exciting time of year as well as an overwhelming and anxiety-ridden time of year.  Applying some of the strategies below may help to balance the excitement and feelings of anxiety, making the transition into college or back to college more enjoyable and less daunting.

1.) Once you have your class schedule, walk through campus to find your classes. Time your route to and from each class. Preparing your schedule and allowing for extra time you may need can help to ease worry while also improving your time management (i.e. getting to places on time).

2.) Ask for help! There are specific supports on college campuses to use to make the start of the school year more manageable. These supports provide ongoing help when and where it is needed.  Counseling services, going to the office of disabilities to receive accommodations, using office hours and email to communicate with your professor about questions and concerns.  There is no shame in seeking help. All the resources are there for students to use, and it will make life feel more manageable.


3.) Set up your study space before classes start. Having an organized and tidy space for studying can decrease distraction and make the thought of studying and completing assignments less overwhelming.


4.) What is your calming strategy? Find what is appealing to your senses. Music? Aromatherapy? Stress ball? Use this strategy before heading out to classes, events, completing assignments, etc.


5.) When you receive the syllabus for your classes, write in the assignment due dates in your calendar, then write in time to work on the assignment two weeks before it is due (or however long you know it will take you). This may decrease procrastination and avoidance.  It will also decrease stress that may come about as the assignment gets closer to the due date.

6.) Establish a routine. Carve out study time as well as breaks.  Taking small breaks in between study time is important for balance.


Check out these links to help with organization of assignments and binders:

Tell us about some of the tips you may have; we want to hear from you and continue these conversations! If you are interested in what Options for College Success has to offer for you or your student, give us a call at 847.425.4797.

Look for our upcoming posts with more tips for college students with learning challenges and disabilities.