CU and Algonquin College reach out to high school students with learning disabilities

“I can do it too!”

“I found just being here at Make the CUT made the future less scary.” This positive response is typical for the Grade 11 students who attended a special information session hosted jointly by Carleton University’s Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities (PMC) and Algonquin College’s Centre for Students with Disabilities (CSD) on November 29, 2006 at Carleton.

Make the CUT (College/University Transition) is designed for students with learning disabilities (LD) and and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who are planning to attend an Ontario college or university. Students are introduced to postsecondary transition challenges/solutions through sessions/workshops led by staff and students from both Carleton and Algonquin. Topics range from how to apply and register to what services are available on campus for students with learning disabilities.

According to Larry McCloskey, the director of the PMC, the program is intended to be both informative and motivational. “LD students can do as well as other students at universitythey just need to be better prepared. We try to answer all their questions while they are on campus and by doing so show them that Carleton is a place where they can be successful.”

McCloskey points out that when the program was first offered to Grade 12 students in 2006, there had never been, in Ontario, in Canada, or in North America, so many LD students gathered in one spot. “Clearly the program is responding to important needs which is why we decided to run the program again and offer sessions for both Grade 11 and 12 students.” The November event attracted 120 local students and 60 educators.

Jessie Gunnell (BA/05) is one of the 15 PMC and CSD student leaders who volunteered in Make the CUT last November. She believes that the program is successful because prospective students walk away feeling empowered, not only by the practical advice but also by having the chance to meet current students who have similar learning disabilities. “I have a learning disability and it hasn’t stopped mein fact, I’m now enrolled in a master’s program. When participants hear my story, I hope that they are thinking, “If she can do it, so can I.””

For information about the spring 2007 Make the CUT session for Grade 12 students, visit

This entry was written by Martha Attridge Bufton and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

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