There are many wonderful college choices in the Greater NYC area – too many to list here. Last week 40 other independent counselors and I focused on eight of them. As always, we toured campuses and heard from admissions reps about GPA’s, test scores and majors. Unique to this tour, however, was its focus on academic support services for students with documented learning differences. Colleges offer different levels of support for students with learning disabilities and ADHD. It is important for students to understand their disability and the accommodations required for their success before applying to college. When visiting colleges, students should focus on schools where they will be best supported for academic success.
Our first stop was Marymount Manhattan College on the upper east side of Manhattan. Marymount is a small, liberal arts college with 2,000 undergraduate students. It’s a vertical campus with five academic buildings and two residential halls. Upon entering the main building, drumming down the hallway commanded our attention. A talented dance troop was practicing in the Great Hall. I wish I could have stayed longer to watch, but we needed to stick to our busy schedule. Dance, theater and communications are among the most popular majors at Marymount. Business and fashion are growing departments. Students are required to complete a general core curriculum. The new career preparation program, City Edge, focuses on helping students gain experience through internships, shadowing, and networking. As for academic support services, nearly 10-percent of the student body is registered to receive accommodations. Most of these students receive minimal services, which may include extended time on tests, note takers, etc. For students who need more comprehensive services, a fee-based academic support services program, Academic Access, can help. The program is capped at 48 students and is open to students with documented LD and/or ADHD. Students are assigned an academic coach and receive two-hours of academic tutoring with a learning specialist per week. Meanwhile, Restart is geared towards local, transfer students with a solid academic background. Students in Restart are assigned to an advisor who guides and supports their transition to Marymount during their first semester. Overall, I was very impressed by Marymount’s insular, NYC campus and believe it is a great choice for the student who wants a small NYC college with a nurturing environment.
Fordham University, Rose Hill was our next stop. I was thrilled to finally see campus. And, I was not disappointed! The campus is gorgeous and very separate from the Bronx neighborhood. It is a Jesuit school with 8,000 undergraduates. On the academic side, students are required to take a core liberal arts curriculum. The Gabelli School of Business is highly ranked and has state of the art Bloomberg terminals. No matter what their major, most students participate in one or more internships during their tenure. Housing is guaranteed, and there are plentiful housing options. Several new dorms were built in the last five years. Students can take the Ram Van to Fordham’s Lincoln Center location or take the subway (just outside the campus gates) to Manhattan. Students have lots of school pride. Many students were wearing Ram gear. Student athletes compete in division I athletics. Basketball and football games are played at the Rose Hill campus. Assistant Director of Disabilities, Jessica Hawkins, told us that Fordham offers minimal academic support services for nearly 10-percent of the overall student body. Thirty students receive academic coaching. Prospective students should know that there are no math substitutes and foreign language substitutes are uncommon. Each year 40 students are enrolled in the Transition Year Program (TYP). Students meet with an advisor each week for 45-minutes. Fordham is a great choice for students who want a traditional college campus, lots of school spirit and with a subway ride away from Manhattan.
Our last stop of the day was Pace University NYC, just a few blocks from Wall St. Its campus is vertical with four academic high-rise buildings and two residential buildings. The nearly 7,000 undergraduate students can choose from over 100 majors within the five colleges. Performing arts, communications and business are the most popular. The Lubin School of Business boasts the second fastest stock market ticket in the world. Business students graduate Bloomberg certified. There are many 5-year combined bachelors/masters programs across a variety of disciplines. Pace boasts the largest internship program in Manhattan. Division II athletics are played on the Pleasantville campus in Westchester. It’s easy to move from one campus to the other by the campus van that runs several times a day. Housing is guaranteed all four years. Although Pace has a sizable commuter population, I saw many students socializing in multiple common areas in the late afternoon. Overall the student body is diverse and welcoming. The Assistant Director of Disability Services spoke to us about the Challenge for Achievement Program (CAP): a program for students whose applications do not reflect their full college academic potential. CAP offers workshops, tutoring and academic coaching for its students. Many counselors were especially interested in OAISIS: a fee-based academic and social support program for qualified students (mostly, but not all, students on the spectrum). The program enrolls up to 40 students. Students participate in one-on-one academic and social skill coaching, among other services. Pace is a great choice for career-focused students who want to study in Manhattan.
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