College Students & AD/HD – Preparing for Success
It’s not the easiest thing to transition from high school to college – especially if you have AD/HD. The typical adjustments of developing new friendships, keeping track of time and schoolwork and establishing your own structure and routines poses different types of challenges for students with AD/HD. Here are some quick tips to set you up for success:
1. Identify college support services. Locate your college or university disabled student services center (sometimes this goes by other names such as disability & access center, student success center, etc.) and register for services. If you have updated documentation of your AD/HD diagnosis (e.g., psychological evaluation) then you can present this to them and establish accommodations that will help you experience success in college (e.g., extended time to take tests). Some colleges and universities have health services centers that can prescribe AD/HD medication while others do not offer this option as most of these medications are controlled substances. Check with the health services center at your college – if available – to find out about services for students with AD/HD.
2. Use the “buddy system.” Establish relationships with at least one classmate in each of your classes so in the event you missed something that the instructor said pertaining to the topic for the day or instructions for an assignment you can ask them for this information.
3. Identify optimal study locations. Students with AD/HD vary with regard to which study spots work best for them. For some students, the library works well, but other students find this to be too distracting. In some cases, studying in a dorm room or a designated area of a dorm is optimal, but there can be distractions there too. What if you don’t live in a dorm – then what? Maybe it will be sitting on the grass against a tree. Perhaps a table located at the end of a hallway on the 2nd floor of an academic building is the answer. The bottom line is do some experimenting and decide on a location that seems to work best – even if it’s only a little better than other locations.
4. Dealing with procrastination. Many students with AD/HD have difficulty getting started on a task because they perceive it to be “way too much” or don’t feel as though they have enough “mental energy” to engage in the task. In this case, you can use the “two-minute rule” in which you tell yourself, “OK, I’m just gonna does this for two minutes and if I don’t want to do it anymore then I can either take a break or do it at a different time.” Psychologically, it is more “doable” to only commit oneself to two minutes of activity – an activity that may be perceived as boring or overwhelming – but is usually enough to “jump start” yourself into action for a longer period of time.
These are just a few concrete things you can do to prepare for success in college. Challenges are certainly awaiting you, but with the right game plan and tools you can do anything you set your mind to do! : )