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Articles / Applying to College / Will Hearing Loss Jeopardize Admission?

Nov. 24, 2004

Will Hearing Loss Jeopardize Admission?

Question: I'm an international student, and I'm applying for graduate study in the US. I have a moderate hearing loss but I can communicate and participate in a class quite normally. Will my disability jeopardize my acceptance, particularly because I'm a foreign student? Do I need to describe this problem in an application in detail and prove that I'm capable of studying normally?

Since you are applying as a graduate student, U.S. admission officials will be interested in your undergraduate college record, not your disability. You can, if you wish, mention in your essay or in a supplemental letter that you have this moderate hearing loss but that you do not require any special accommodations to communicate and participate normally. You need not go into great detail, and--if anything--providing this information should work in your favor, not against you. If your academic record is strong, the admission folks will see that you've had to overcome an obstacle to succeed, and they will value that.


Good luck to you as you make your plans.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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