The Catholic University of America



The university is not allowed to ask, by law, if a prospective student has a
disability. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions reviews each application
on its own merits. Students with disabilities must meet the same standards
as all other applicants. Documentation of your disability should not be sent
with your application. Prospective students with disabilities are encouraged
to write an additional personal statement.
Writing the Optional Personal Statement
HOW: Write about how the disability has impacted your learning, and
how this may be seen in areas such as grade point average, ACT/SAT
scores and grade fluctuation.
WHEN: Discuss when you were diagnosed and how that may have
impacted your education. For example, if you were diagnosed later in
your educational career, did your performance improve after the diagnosis
and/or intervention? You may also want to include how frequently you
used accommodations, such as taking more time on tests, help with notes,
or the use of a calculator.
WHAT: Focus on what you did to compensate for your learning differences.
Many students say that they “worked very hard” or “overcame” their
disability, but this alone is not enough. The admissions office will want to
know more information about the specifics of what you did to succeed in
high school. Note whether or not you used accommodations, worked with
a tutor, or used other resources. You may also wish to focus on what steps
you plan to follow in the college/university setting to bolster your success.
WHY: Tell the admissions office why you would be a good addition to the
CUA student body. Don’t be afraid to “toot your own horn” during the
application process! Discuss special talents or skills, personal characteristics
or unique qualities that you will bring to CUA that will make the campus
a more diverse environment.
Accommodations on the ACT or SAT
High school personnel (i.e., special education teachers, transition coordinators
and school counselors) can help you obtain accommodations on college entrance
exams, such as the ACT ( or SAT (, by starting the
process early.
You will need to have disability documentation that meets the guidelines of the testing
service. Even if you are approved for accommodations in school, it does not automatically
make you eligible to take the entrance exams with accommodations.