11/11/2011 04:18 pm ET Updated Jan 07, 2012

Learning Disabilities: Applying To College With ADD Or ADHD

Besides the usual stress over getting good SAT scores, writing a powerful personal statement, and making the perfect college list, having a learning disability presents high school seniors with a new set of challenges and considerations in the college admissions process -- like whether to tell the schools they're applying to about their disability.

The SAT and ACT do not flag the scores of accommodated students, so the colleges you're applying to can't tell based on your test scores that you've received accommodations. When filling out applications, then, students must make the difficult decision of whether to disclose information about their disability to their universities of choice. Telling a college that you have ADHD will never hurt your chances of getting in -- it's illegal for college admissions officers to let this information negatively affect your chances -- but in some cases, it might be helpful for the school to know and could actually give you an opportunity to explain aspects of your application that you wouldn't otherwise be able to. Disclosing this information can help a student to explain a drop in grades from one year to the next, or low SAT scores that don't seem to measure up with a high GPA. Students can specify their learning disabilities, if they choose, on the "supplemental information" portion of the Common Application.

The good news is that more and students with learning disabilities than ever before are enrolling in college, and programs are being put into place to help these students succeed. For instance, the non-profit College Internship Program this year offered residential programs on five college campuses designed to help students sharpen the skills they'll need to succeed in college.

When considering which schools might be a good fit, students with learning disabilities should consider colleges that provide more one-on-one time with teachers or that accomodate their need for extra time on exams.

If you're looking for colleges that will provide a supportive environment for students with learning disabilities, check out these five schools with strong programs to help disabled students.