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Summer at Landmark College—Visiting College Students Energize Their Skills

by Solvegi Shmulsky

The Summer Session for Visiting College Students starts July 6th and extends through August 10th, 2013.  Described as “35 days to a new way of learning,” this intensive session is designed for college students who learn differently to refine their academic and self-advocacy skills. Staffed by experienced, energetic professors who are committed to the learning of every student, the program is a motivating five weeks in a picturesque Vermont setting.

What does it mean to learn differently? It means that a person learns—sometimes with enviable talent and style—but traditional educational environments and typical pedagogical approaches have not fully tapped his or her potential. “Learning differently does not just mean the challenges presented by having a difference such as dyslexia, ADHD or ASD,” said Landmark College President Dr. Peter Eden. “It means that the entire process of teaching and learning can be—and is—as different and diverse as humans themselves.”

The impact of learning differently can peak in college due to the demand of living on one’s own for the first time.  Attending classes that occur on an irregular schedule, finishing long-range homework without daily reminders, eating well, and making friends in a setting that is initially full of strangers—all require strong academic, interpersonal, and executive functioning skills.  Many students have difficulty adjusting to the demands of college, and these challenges are heightened for students with learning differences. The Landmark College Summer Session for Visiting Students addresses the transitional needs of college students to enhance their educational experience.

“Most visiting students are doing well enough in college but see skill gaps preventing them from being fully successful,” said Summer Program Director John Kipp. “They come to Landmark College because they recognize areas—usually in advanced reading, writing, and study skills, where improvement would help them better meet the expectations of college work.”

What are the benefits of the Landmark College program? In addition to learning academic skills and strategies, visiting students enjoy a supportive atmosphere with an ethos of respect for difference that runs through every level of the institution. “At Landmark College we have much smaller classrooms, we use universal design for learning and teaching, and we employ pedagogy that allows students to not be observers and consumers but instead active partners and participants in the process; through this they learn more about how they learn best, and they become emboldened to engage more each time,” explained Dr. Eden.

In a similar sentiment, Kipp said that empowerment is a key outcome of the Summer Session for Visiting Students. “The biggest benefit is that visitors get to work in an environment where their differences and challenges are fully accepted and understood,” said Kipp. “This often has a profound impact on how they view themselves as learners.”

On July 6th, dozens of visiting students will arrive on campus with different backgrounds but the shared aim of pursuing college with renewed strength and effectiveness.  When asked what his biggest hopes are for students in the summer 2013 session, Kipp said, that the visiting students sharpen their understanding of how to meet their own goals.  This will allow them to use the skills and strategies, processes and approaches in a purposeful way based on what they know about themselves.  They can become more efficient and effective in academics—and in their lives.”

Landmark College was the first institution of higher learning to pioneer college-level studies for students with dyslexia. Today Landmark College, offering two and four-year degree options, and summer programs for high school students and students visiting from other colleges, is a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and ASD. Students, faculty, and other professionals from all over the world are drawn to Landmark College for its innovative educational model, one designed through research and practice to help all students who learn differently become confident, self-empowered, and independently successful learners.

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