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Academic Support & Access Center

Learning Services Program for Freshmen with Learning Disabilities


The Learning Services Program (LSP) in the Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) has earned a national reputation for providing outstanding service to students with learning disabilities for over 30 years. The one-year program has a one-time $4,700 fee for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The structured, mainstream Learning Services Program offers:

  • Weekly individual meetings with the program coordinator or program counselor

  • Enrollment in a reserved section of the freshman writing class

  • Weekly meetings with a writing tutor for the class

  • Individualized course advising

  • Consultation with the program coordinator during the summer prior to matriculation on course selection and registration for the first semester of college

  • Upper-class student mentor

After the freshman year, students can receive continued support and accommodations through the ASAC, as available to all students.

Benefits of the Learning Services Program

All students can profit from developing more efficient reading, writing, and study skills, but for students with learning disabilities, these skills are crucial. Often the compensatory strategies that have worked for students in the past are no longer relevant to meeting the demands of college-level courses, and the program staff can help students develop new strategies.

Qualifications for Admission to American University

The academic credentials of successful applicants with learning disabilities fall within the range of general admissions criteria.

Profile of Students Admitted to AU for Fall 2017

  • GPA Middle 50%: 3.44 - 3.97 (school reported)

  • SAT Middle 50%: 1210-1370 (critical reading and mathematics)

  • ACT Middle 50%: 27-31 (composite)

Applying to the Learning Services Program

Applicants to the Learning Services program must submit an application for freshman admission to American University through the regular admissions process.

Students applying to the program also must submit the following materials to the LSP Coordinator in the Academic Support and Access Center:

  • the LSP supplementary application with essay

  • a copy of a high school transcript

  • documentation of the learning disability (See Guidelines for Documentation of Learning Disabilities for details.)

The LSP application materials must be submitted at the same time as the freshman application, adhering to these deadlines:

  • Early Decision - November 15

  • Early Decision 2 - January 15

  • Regular Decision - January 15


  • Early Decision - November 15

  • Early Decision 2 - January 15

  • Regular Decision - January 15

Services for All Students with Disabilities

The Academic Support and Access Center provides services and assistance with accommodations for any student with disabilities. Such services may include periodic individual sessions with an Academic Support and Access Center counselor, writing assistance and free one-on-one peer tutoring for selected classes through the ASAC Tutoring & Writing Lab, peer tutoring by referral (for a modest fee), and study skills workshops and resources. Students may make arrangements to take accommodated exams in the ASAC. The structured meetings with the program coordinator and with the writing tutor, the special design of the College Writing classes, and the consultation on course selection and registration during the summer for the first semester at AU, are the primary factors that distinguish the Learning Services Program from traditional support services for all other students.

Learning Services Program FAQ's

What happens during weekly meetings in the ASAC?

The program coordinator or counselor meets weekly with students in individual sessions to assist with accommodations and to help further develop college-level writing, reading, and study strategies. In addition, students can address issues regarding time management, transition to college, and self-advocacy.

Is there support available after the first year?

After the freshman year, students can receive continued support and accommodations through the ASAC as available to all students.

Are there resources to help students manage personal concerns?

The transition from high school to college is a major one. An important goal of the program is to help students cope with that transition. Students seeking support for personal concerns may use the Counseling Center, which offers individual appointments, group counseling, workshops, and referrals to professionals in the Washington area. A psychiatric nurse practitioner, located in the Student Health Center, is available for medication management.

Who advises students about their courses and requirements?

Academic advisors are notified of the students in the Learning Services Program, so that the students can be advised according to individual needs, and the academic advisors collaborate with the Coordinator of the Learning Services Program in course selection for the first year. Freshmen enrolled in the program have the same course requirements as all other students, including College Writing. We recommend that students enrolled in the program take 12-14 credits per semester, at least during the first semester or year. The university recognizes full-time status as 12-17 credits.

What technology support is available?

There are computers with text-to-speech and speech-to-text software in the ASAC and at selected sites on campus. Texts in alternative format are available through Learning Ally or Bookshare or by accessing e-texts with text-to-speech software, such as Kurzweil. Learning Services Program students consult with the Assistive Technology Specialist in the Academic Support and Access Center on technologies to support their success in college. We recommend that students not only are proficient in computer skills, but also have explored assistive technology before beginning college.

What is the fee for participating in the Learning Services Program?

There is a one-time fee of $4,700 (2018-2019 academic year) for the freshman program, paid at the time of the first tuition bill. The university reserves the right to change the Learning Services Program fee at any time.

How well can I expect to do at American University?

Students in the Learning Services Program have been successful in their studies. Typically, the average grade point average for the freshman year has been close to 3.0 or higher. Many of our students go on to pursue graduate and professional degrees. The Learning Services Program offers the support and services you will need to achieve your goals. The real answer to the question of how well you can expect to do is up to you!

LSP Coordinator

Head shot of Nancy Sydnor-Greenberg

Nancy Sydnor-Greenberg takes great joy in working with the incoming freshmen in the Learning Services Program.

Read more

LSP Writing Tutors

The LSP writing tutors hold weekly individual meetings with LSP students to help them with every stage of the writing process. Students in the Learning Services Program are enrolled in the same sections of the freshman College Writing course. The LSP writing tutors have weekly individual meetings with LSP students to help them along every stage of the writing process. Initial brainstorming, formulation of thesis, outlining, topic sentences, transitions, grammar, and final fine-tuning are topics that are addressed throughout the semester.

Though these meetings are designed to accomplish specific assignments for College Writing, the tutors are cognizant of the writing that will be expected of students during their tenure at AU and therefore incorporate various broader strategies so that students are well prepared for future writing-intensive classes.


LSP Peer Mentors

Incoming students in the Learning Services Program are matched with upperclass students who were in the program as freshmen and who serve as mentors. This student pairing allows for a seasoned student to offer guidance on AU's classes, tips on managing disability-related needs, and thoughts about life on campus and in the DC area. The mentor program helps to ensure that students in the Learning Services Program have access to the unique perspective that only their peers can provide.