Parent FAQ

Below is a list of common questions posed by parents and other family members, with accompanying answers that the LDP delivers in typical situations. As always, if you have additional questions or need further clarification, please contact the director of the LDP: Jennifer Newton (j.newton@neu.edu / 617.373.4526). 


My student is considering applying to Northeastern. Is there a separate admissions process for students with a learning disability and/or attention deficit disorder?

We encourage you to explore the admissions website, which includes information related to the required materials for admissions and academic profile of Northeastern students. While Northeastern does not have a separate admissions process for students with disabilities, your student may choose to share that s/he has a disability in the contents of the application.

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I read about the Disability Resource Center (DRC). What is the difference between this office and the Learning Disabilities Program (LDP)?

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides accommodations that enable students who qualify under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act to participate fully in the activities of the University. Students must provide appropriate documentation that demonstrates a current substantially limiting disability. Accommodations, such as extended test time and note-taking services, are provided through the DRC at no charge. More information can be found on the DRC’s website.

The Learning Disabilities Program (LDP) is a fee-based, comprehensive academic support program for Northeastern University undergraduate day students whose primary disability is LD and/or ADHD. Each student meets with his or her LDP specialist each week for two one-hour, individual sessions. This model allows for a proactive and collaborative approach. A component of LDP work is often to support students in accessing their accommodations through the DRC.

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How do I know if my student is a good candidate for the LDP?

Students who are good candidates for LDP support demonstrate:

  • An awareness of their disability and their academic strengths and weaknesses,
  • An openness to collaborating with an LDP specialist to learn and use new skills and strategies,
  • An ability to communicate accurately about their academic progress and any difficulties they have in their course work, and
  • A commitment to attending all their meetings with their LDP specialists and all their classes.

There are students who participate in the LDP who, in addition to a learning disability or attention deficit disorder, have been diagnosed with a psychological disorder such as anxiety or depression. Students are most likely to benefit from the LDP when they are receiving appropriate therapeutic or psychopharmacological support. We encourage students with psychological disorders to disclose this diagnosis to the LDP, as it is often relevant in determining appropriate accommodations and services. The LDP protects the privacy of this, and all other, disability-related information.

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In which majors does the LDP support students?

The LDP supports students in all of Northeastern University’s undergraduate day schools and colleges (College of Arts, Media & Design; D’Amore-McKim School of Business; College of Computer and Information Science; College of Engineering; Bouve College of Health Sciences; College of Science; and College of Social Sciences and Humanities), as well as the Program for Undeclared Students and the General Studies Program. Additionally, the LDP works with students in the Honors Program.

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What if my student wants more time than the two one-hour sessions weekly?

We have found that the LDP model of two, one-hour sessions per week provides students with the support that they need while also encouraging their independent work. The regular schedule of meetings encourages a structured approach in which students can address their coursework proactively. Students should let their LDP specialists know if they feel they need more support so that we can address their concerns.

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Are there tutors for specific subjects?

Northeastern offers subject-area tutoring to all students through a number of departments, such as the Math Tutoring Center and the Writing Center, and through the Peer Tutoring Program. LDP specialists can support students in accessing and making good use of these resources.

Additionally, when students communicate their difficulties in a particular class, their LDP specialist will work with them to create a plan to employ effective study skills, make good use of available resources, and access their approved accommodations. In cases where an LDP specialist determines that a student needs additional, targeted subject-area support, we may offer one-on-one content tutoring.

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How do I find out about how my student is performing academically?

Open communication with your student is the best source of information about his or her academic progress. We place heavy emphasis on students’ full, accurate, and timely self-report to us and to their families.

There are two additional ways that LDP specialists gain information about the student’s academic progress. At mid-semester, we request progress reports on attendance and performance from students’ instructors. In addition, throughout the semester, we receive updates through the faculty-advisor communication tool (FACT). Instructors may use FACT to report their academic concerns about students.

We share the information we gain through these two avenues with our students, and we expect the students to share the feedback and plans with you.

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Is it possible for my student to experience academic difficulty even though s/he is involved in the LDP?

The effectiveness of the LDP can be seen in the achievements of its students: student retention rates are high and many students earn Dean’s list honors each term. Our proactive approach includes working closely with our students to identify when certain courses or assignments may be especially challenging in order to create, implement, and monitor a plan that includes recommended approaches and resources.

Students may still experience academic difficulty, for a variety of reasons. It is important that students communicate any challenges to their LDP specialist as soon as they encounter the difficulty. We can then work with the student to identify what further information we need in order to evaluate the situation, set realistic expectations about outcomes, and develop a list of possible options moving forward.

Additionally, we expect that students communicate with their families about their academic progress throughout the semester. When students experience difficulties, we encourage them to share the information we have gathered, including the impact of the difficulty on their final grade, and to discuss the possible options.

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My student called and s/he is upset and overwhelmed. What should I say?

The transition to college can be challenging for any student, and most families will receive at least one of these phone calls. In addition to listening and offering support, please encourage your student to speak directly with his or her LDP specialist. For academic issues, we can work directly with the student to address his or her concerns. For nonacademic issues, we can support the student in connecting with the appropriate resources on campus.

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How do LDP specialists work with my student's academic and co-op advisors?

Academic and co-op advisors are important resources for students during their time at Northeastern. While we may discuss future courses or co-op options with students, we direct them to seek guidance and confirmation from their advisors. We can help students to make appointments or compiling a list of questions to ask in the meeting.

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I would like my student to get involved in a club or organization. Can the LDP help?

The primary focus of LDP meetings is on academic support. However, if a student voices interest in becoming involved in Northeastern clubs or organizations, LDP specialists can support the student in identifying the possible options. We often suggest that students start their involvement by volunteering.

You may also be encouraging in this aspect; you can find additional information about opportunities for students to become involved on both the Student Life website and Center for Student Involvement (CSI) website

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