What Makes a College ADHD friendly?

A lot of people find our site while searching for an ADHD-friendly college. Parents hope to find the perfect program to take their place when their son or daughter heads off to college.

There are a host of factors that parents use to judge if a school is appropriate: cost, size and location.  There are 5 other criteria you can use to determine if a college is a good fit.

1. School’s disability program

  • What percentage of students with disabilities attend the school?
  • How active and approachable is the disability office?
  • Are there counseling, mentoring and advocacy programs available?
  • What other services (such as note taking) does the disability office provide?

2. Counseling and support groups are available on campus?

  • Who else does your child need to access at school? It may be important to supplement the care providers that you are currently dealing with at home. In many cases, on campus counseling can act as a liaison between your mental health care provider and the disability office or administration.

3. Curriculum flexibility

  • Does the school offer students a choice of papers versus exams or some type of hybrid?
  • Are professors flexible to work with accommodations?
  • Will your child be able to spread course requirements over longer periods of time to reduce stress and maximize GPA?

4. Research the importance of your ADHD documentation

  • Many schools require that your child’s ADHD diagnosis has been documented (or diagnosed) within the last two years. Your high school can be a resource to help you obtain an updated psychoeducational evaluation.
  • How will the school acknowledge and rely upon your child’s previous Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan in understanding his or her special needs.
  • Be sure your child has a working knowledge of his or her diagnosis and your particular needs and have a game plan going in.
  • Ensure your child has access to his or her academic and disciplinary records. (see What you need to know about ADHD and your legal rights when you turn 18 for a detailed discussion of how rights change once you become 18).

5. Don’t make the transition alone

  • Find a coach that is specially trained to understand the specific manifestations of your ADHD and help you learn to advocate for yourself and to maximize your strengths and navigate around your weaknesses.  Edge Foundation specializes in matching high school and college students with specially trained coaches who provide support, structure and accountability to bridge the difficult transition to college that is particularly difficult for those with ADHD.
  • Be sure to check out our free College Survival Guide.


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