Syracuse University has a strong support system for students with learning differences. Staff point out that students transitioning from high school to college should expect to find differences in student responsibilities, parent roles, types of accommodations, and teacher engagement. However, landing at Syracuse might be softer than landing at a school that provides only what the law requires.

If you’re thinking of applying to Syracuse: Note that there is no communication between admissions and the disability resource team. You do not need to acknowledge your learning difference in your application, though you may if you wish. If you choose to disclose your learning difference to the disabilities team before you apply, they will not speak to admissions about you. If you have a language waiver for high school, Syracuse accepts American Sign Language for foreign language credit.

After deciding to enroll at Syracuse, students must self-identify with the Center for Disability Resources (CDR) to meet with the access coordinator. They will then engage in an interactive process resulting in a comprehensive access plan that is student driven. With the CDR coordinator, they will learn how to request accommodations and access additional academic resources. 

Five access coordinators and two administrators in the CDR advocate for access for all LD students. An access coordinator acts as a liaison between student and faculty, provides transition counseling, mentors students with faculty conversations, facilitates referrals for academic support, and provides crisis support. Exam services in a new testing center provide comprehensive testing modifications based on individual needs.

Syracuse has a full-time coordinator for note-taking assistance to provide alternate methods and strategies for notes in class, including synchronization of audio and notes; another coordinator handles alternate format assistance. They provide assistive technology training; Read & Write is licensed university-wide and SmartPens are available.

A staff psychologist can review documentation and for a fee, provide comprehensive psycho-educational evaluations. Screenings for ADHD go through psychological services, not CDR. All aspects of the accommodation process are centralized through the Disability Resource Portal.

Syracuse provides many free academic supports: peer and professional tutoring, guidance with time management and organization, skills development workshops for assistive technology and Microsoft Word and Excel, and referrals to other campus resources. The Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS) provides university-wide academic supports, including a professionally led writing center that is open to faculty and staff as well as students, a physics clinic, math support, and departmental-level help.

Syracuse also offers a fee-based service called OnTrack at SU for ADHD and LD students. It’s a two-year program, the highest level of support with the goal of building independence and self-advocacy. Because only 40 students will be accepted into OnTrack for fall of 2023, you should apply to the program even before knowing if you’ve been accepted to SU. Capacity is usually reached by April, and then they create a waitlist. An interview is an essential part of the application process. They want students who participate to have total buy-in.

Considering Syracuse? Students are good fit if they’re interested in both academics and community. The SU experience means putting yourself out there and participating in all the campus has to offer.

Syracuse “embraces concept of disabilities as diversity”