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Finding a College for a Visually Impaired Student
Q: My 14-year-old son is visually impaired but can read "regular size" books with glasses. He goes to a state/city-funded school for the visually impaired and needs to work very hard on certain subjects. Nevertheless, he is on the honor roll and working toward an academic diploma. He's very hard on himself and does not like to fail. He is also athletic - a second-degree black belt who likes to kayak. We want to start looking at colleges that offer scholarships and educational guidance for students with similar needs. We live in New York City but will not limit ourselves regionally.
A: You can start by researching online information on the visually impaired. You might check with local state schools (Rutgers, SUNY Stony Brook, and SUNY Albany), just to establish a baseline of criteria. Use that information to compare other schools once you get a better picture of the best college programs for the visually impaired. You are wise to start your information-gathering process this early. Your son sounds very talented and he is certainly committed to working through his learning challenges. That is the number-one ingredient of long-term success for people who do well in college, in their career, and in life.
I have written two books which may be of interest to your son: Majoring in High School and Keys to Preparing for College. I hope they will be helpful in giving both of you a sense of what will be required down the line. Good Luck.
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Carol Carter is the author of many books on college and career planning. She is the cofounder of Lifeskills, Inc., a nonprofit organization that encourages high-school students to explore their goals, career options, and the real world through part-time work and internships. She also gives workshops around the country on career exploration and other issues directly related to helping students succeed in college, career, and life.