We are becoming a nation of college-goers. The percentage of high school graduates applying to 4 year universities continues to climb, but so too do the numbers of undergraduates who drop out before earning a degree. This growth includes students with disabilities such as learning disabilities (LD), ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These growth trends have been attributed to better preparation in high school (with a parallel rise in the pressure to attend a university), wider use of college Disability Services offices once students are in college, and even financial concerns from the Great Recession of 2008 that makes families think a 4 year degree is an absolute necessity.
Of course, there are many benefits to a university education. That said, not all high school graduates are ready for university life or even need it to become successful. Remember trades and vocational education? Gap Years are growing in popularity, too, as U.S. students follow the European model and take a year to work, travel, and grow up before starting college or other life plans matched to their interests and dreams. At CRG, we encourage families to engage in person-centered planning to develop postsecondary options that work for each individual student. This may include a 4 year degree. Or an Associate’s (2 year) degree. Or a Certification program or related technical skills training. Or a structured year of work/travel as the young person takes time to figure out what he/she really wants to do in life.
We are carefully revising our Gap Year services this year and look forward to sharing more information later this spring about the Transition Services we are developing in its place. In the meantime, we wanted to publicize another program that reinforces the importance of this work. Landmark College in Putney, VT is a nationally-regarded college for students with LD, ADHD, ad ASD. Landmark has just announced its new Transition at College (TaC) program. Click here for more information.