If you’re just beginning your college planning journey, you may be a little overwhelmed. You have a lot of options and decisions to make, but here are a few resources to help you explore your options and make decisions.
Choosing a college can be difficult for any student, but as a student with cochlear implants, there are a few additional things for you to consider, including whether you want to attend a college for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing or a mainstream college.
You may want to consider how important it is for you to be around other students with cochlear implants and hearing loss and whether you’d prefer faculty and staff who have experience with students with cochlear implants. Colleges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing often have more services on campus for students with cochlear implants and hearing loss. This list gives several examples of different colleges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the types of services they provide.
There are many other factors to consider when choosing a college. You can use this worksheet to help you determine what you want and need from a potential college.
College can be expensive, but financial aid can help cover some or all of the cost. When you consider your financial needs for college remember that you will have tuition, fees, and room and board (on-campus housing). In addition, you will need to purchase books and supplies, and you’ll have miscellaneous expenses for daily living.
There are a variety of sources that might help reduce the cost of college. Here are some of the sources that can help you, as a student with cochlear implants. For a full description of these sources, download the Financial Aid Handout:
- Private scholarships
- Talent Search, Educational Opportunity Centers, and Special Services for Disadvantaged Students
- Federal student aid
- State programs
The best way to create a financial aid package for yourself is to pull together aid and funding from different sources by applying to several different programs. As a student with cochlear implants, you may be eligible for a unique set of grants and scholarships, in addition to scholarships based on your academic and extracurricular activities and intended major.
It is up to you to seek out different organizations that provide grants, scholarships, and aid to students with cochlear implants. Small organizations’ scholarships and grants may not be particularly well advertised, so they may receive few applications.
The best way to find the scholarships is to do your own Internet searches using different combinations of key words. You should also talk to your school counselor, teachers, and others who may know about unique scholarship opportunities. The more applications you submit, the more funding you are likely to receive, which will offset the various costs of college.
After you receive acceptance letter(s), you need to pick the best offer, which can be a difficult decision.
When deciding which admissions offer to accept, you should consider:
- Whether the school has the program you want – this may have changed since you submitted your applications
- Whether the school can provide the accommodations that you need
- How comfortable you felt at the school during your visit – review your notes from your school visits
- Determine whether financial aid offers between schools are an important factor
If you are stuck between two schools, create a pros and cons list. You can also talk to your parents, teachers, and school counselor for advice.