Choosing a College When You Have ADHD

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Many students with ADHD go to typical colleges without supports and are able to function well. But there are also students with ADHD who benefit tremendously from a school or supports that are specifically geared to help them achieve to their highest potential.

Schools Designed to Support Students With ADHD

Several schools are specifically designed for students with ADHD. If you or your child have severe symptoms or prefer to be in a smaller, more supportive setting with staff who truly understand ADHD, one of these schools may be for you.

These are just three of the accredited schools that are specifically intended to support students with ADHD:

  • Beacon College is an accredited college that offers degrees exclusively for students with ADHD.
  • Landmark College is a fully accredited two- and four-year degree granting institution designed for students with learning disabilities and ADHD.
  • The Metamorphosis Coaching Program at Lynn University addresses specific executive functioning issues experienced by college students with ADHD.

You don’t have to narrow your search to include just these colleges, however, as there are other options available to make college a successful time for you. It is important to be thoughtful in your approach to college. Spend time researching the schools you are considering to determine how they will best meet your needs. Here are two resource guides that may be helpful during the search phase.

  • K&W Guide to Colleges: For Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Colleges with Programs for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorders

ADHD Support Services

There are support services available for students with learning disabilities at many colleges. The quality and extent of these services, however, varies from school to school. Be sure to contact the disability support office at each of the schools you are considering to find out about the level of support they provide. The support office may be referred to by a number of names depending on the school. Search for the Office of Student Disability Services, Disability Support, Office of Disabled Student Services, Learning Support Services, etc.

Here are a few questions to ask when you contact the disability support office at each school:

  • Is the director of disability support services a specialist in ADHD and/or learning disabilities (LD)?
  • How many students with ADHD does the support program serve?
  • How many ADHD specialists work with the program full time?
  • Are ADHD specialists also available for ongoing counseling, guidance, and support?
  • Is there a formal ADHD support group available for students on campus?
  • Does the school offer specialized academic advising for students with ADHD and LD?
  • What kinds of specific accommodations does the school offer?
  • Do they offer students with ADHD early registration in order to choose preferred courses and professors?
  • Does disability support help to communicate each student’s needs to the appropriate professors?
  • Is specialized tutoring available for students with ADHD and LD?
  • Are there study skills, time management, and organizing classes available specifically for students with ADHD?
  • Is there a physician at student health who has experience treating and prescribing medication for ADHD?
  • Does the office have a listing of professionals in the area who are experienced in treating ADHD?

You may also want to ask to meet with one or two ADHD students enrolled in the school who currently receive disability support services. They are often the best resource for practical information about the strengths and weaknesses of the program.

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Article Sources
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  • Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D. Assessing College Support Services for Students with ADD ADHD. 2004.
  • Stephanie Moulton Sarkis, Ph.D. Making the Grade with ADD: A Student’s Guide to Succeeding in College with Attention Deficit Disorder. New Harbinger Publications. 2008.