Does a 504 Plan Hurt College Admissions?

In short, a 504 plan does not hurt college admissions. Let’s explore what a 504 plan is, and how you can address it during the college application process.

What Is a 504 Plan?

A 504 plan is a formal plan developed by the elementary, middle, or high school to give students with disabilities the support that they need through accommodations. For example, the plan may, among other things, provide:

Extended time on tests, projects, or homework
Testing in a quiet room
Preferential seating
Explanation of test directions
Breaks for focus or food

The accommodations address the specific challenges of each student. While an IEP plan provides for services, programs, and/or accommodations, the 504 plan focuses on accommodations.

The 504 Plan and College Admissions

Again, having a 504 plan does not hurt admissions. College admissions does not ask you for it, and when applying, you don’t have to let the college even know about it.

We have actually found that some of our students do let the schools know about their 504 plans where they may write about them in their personal statement, supplemental essays, and/or additional information essays, if it is applicable. Sometimes they discuss how they have learned from having the plan and associated accommodations. We find that if the student chooses to tell their story through their essay(s) this can make the student more human during the decision process. But in no way does a student have to let admissions know. It is entirely up to them.

504 Plans and College Accommodations

Whether or not you decide to advise the college about your 504 plan when applying, you will need to let them know about your accommodations after being accepted IF you wish to receive them while you are in college.

In Summary

So, the bottom line is that a 504 plan does not hurt college admission, and you don’t need to reveal that information to the school until such time when you may need accommodations at that school if you decide to attend.

Looking for help with the college search and application process? We help students and families through the entire college planning journey – from search, applications and essays to interview prep, financial aid consultation and final school selection.

Contact us at or by phone, 845.551.6946. We work with students through Zoom, over the phone, and by email.