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How to Succeed in College

Use help

Nobody makes it without a team. I know, I know, you hate help. Help means you're stupid. Help is all those nice adults who think you can't hack it. Help is parents, teachers, and tutors who torture you until you do things their way.

Well, get over it. Get your own help. No successful person does it alone. Investment broker Charles Schwab, Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers, Ford Financial CEO Don Winkler have told the world about their learning disabilities. LD people are in charge. They got where they are with a lot of help. Just like everyone.

How to know if the help is helping

Ask yourself this question: Do I feel smarter after getting help, or do I just feel bad? Along the path to success, you should feel frustrated, scared, exhausted, and whatever. And everyone feels stupid sometime. Nonetheless, help should make you feel stronger and smarter. If the people helping you aren't making you feel more ready to take on the world, meet new people.

Some good places to get help

The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities , Princeton Press. Mary Beth Kravitz and Imy Wax have written the book. Look for it. They know their stuff. If your school or local library doesn't have it. Tell them to order it.

Learning Outside the Lines , Mooney and Cole, Simon and Schuster Fireside Press.

Jon Mooney read at a third grade level. David Cole was a high school dropout. They met during orientation at Brown University. They published this book the same year they both graduated with honors from Brown. The book tells you what to do if you don't think you're going to be a typical college student.

The International Dyslexia Society

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder

The Schwab Foundation

These organizations have national, and often, state and local sections staffed by people who understand learning disabilities. They can help you find support groups, tutors, educational testing, and can help you understand your legal rights.

Psychotherapists, lawyers, AA

Don't be a victim. There are powerful allies out there. Don't be afraid to use them. You'd be surprised how often people at the top turn to all three.

Money

Think you can't afford educational testing, tutoring, advocacy for your legal rights, or the support program at the college of your choice? Find your state's office of vocational rehabilitation. In most states, the office is either a division of the department of labor or the employment office. Most states provide funding for educational testing, nearly all offer tutorial support, and, surprisingly often, some will fund college tuition for students with learning disabilities. State laws and practices vary, and you usually have to be a little pushy. This is a good job to give your parents. It'll get them off your back, and may end up helping you a lot.