Matching Up with an ADHD Friendly College

The transition to college for students with ADHD can be stressful and the first year drop out rate can be high. That makes selecting the right college even more important. There are many important criteria to consider when selecting a college that is ADHD-friendly. CHADD suggests that you get  answers to the following questions when considering a college that is more accommodating to students with ADHD:

Staff

  • What is the campus culture like and how informed and accepting are faculty and staff of students with ADHD?
  • What type of training have staff and faculty received for working with special needs populations?
  • Who in the college disability office and the learning center has expertise on ADHD and what is their experience, training and education with ADHD? Ask to meet with them in person or virtually to get a “feel” for them.

Special Services & Accommodations

  • What are the services that are available to students with ADHD and how are they accessed?
  • How are accommodations approved for a student with ADHD?
  • What type of documentation is needed?
  • Are decisions made each semester? What is the student’s role in getting accommodations in place?
  • What other learning, coaching or support services are available on campus?
  • Is there any one-on-one support? How often is this support available and how long are sessions?
  • What is a student’s role in setting up this support?
  • Is counseling or therapy available on campus? How often? How long are sessions? Is there a fee?
  • What is the student’s role in setting this up?
  • Are staff available to assist in finding professionals in the community for coaching, learning support, medication and therapy?
  • Are there any special programs for transitioning freshman during the summer and the first year that students with ADHD can benefit from?
  • Is there a career center? What services does it offer and how does one access those services?

Instruction

  • What is the typical instructional methodology and classroom environment on campus?
  • What is the range of (not the average) class sizes for typical courses taken by freshman?
  • What types of instructional methods are used? Lecture? Flipped classroom (student prepares before class and class is discussion/application)? Online? Small group discussion?
  • What role do professors play in a student accessing accommodations or learning support?
  • How supportive are faculty of students with ADHD?

It is also important to understand yourself. Before starting your search for a college, assess your ADHD symptoms and treatments. Ask yourself what kind of environment lets you thrive, and what do you need to be at your best. Michael Sandler writing at ADDitude magazine has several suggestions to help you match a college’s culture, environment and structure to your particular interests and routines. Finding a good match can make the transition to college life much smoother from the start.

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