Students with ADHD may find that the level of support at the college level is completely different from what they experienced in high school. Although all universities must provide disability services, the type and intensity of these services vary from school to school.
Finding a school that provides strong support for students with ADHD can be helpful. By researching your options early, you may get a better experience and find more powerful ADHD resources to support your educational journey.
Many students with ADHD enter a typical university without support and are able to work normally. However, there are also ADHD students who benefit greatly from schools or support services that specifically help them reach their full potential.
Schools supporting ADHD students
Several schools are specifically designed for students with ADHD. If you have severe symptoms or prefer to stay in a smaller, more supportive environment with staff who truly understand ADHD, then one of these schools may be for you.
These are just three schools that have been accredited specifically to support students with ADHD:
- Beacon College is an accredited college that provides degrees for students with ADHD.
- Landmark College is a fully accredited two-year and four-year degree-granting institution designed for students with learning disabilities and ADHD.
- The Institute of Achievement and Learning at Lynn University addresses specific executive function problems encountered by college students with ADHD.
However, you don’t have to narrow your search to only these universities, because there are other options to make universities your success.
Take the time to research the schools you are considering to determine how they best meet your needs.
It is important to think carefully when you are in college. Knowing the resources available can help you make the best choice for your needs and goals. Here are two resource guides that may be helpful during the search phase:
Assess your needs
It’s important to first consider what types of things you might need to succeed in college. Knowing what you plan to do and how you will achieve it can help you stay motivated to move on. Some things to ask yourself include:
- Do you know what major you want to study?
- Do you need personal support from your teacher?
- Do you need a busy, vibrant environment?
- Do you need structure and support to continue the task?
If you are not sure what you want to pursue, talking with a guidance counselor can help.
ADHD support services
Many universities provide support services for students with ADHD or learning disabilities. However, the quality and scope of these services vary from school to school. Be sure to contact the disability support office of each school you are considering to find out the level of support they provide.
Depending on the school, the support office may be referred to by multiple names. Some things to search include:
- Office of Student Disability Services
- Disability support
- Office of Services for Students with Disabilities
- Learning Support Service
When you look at the university, when you contact the disability support office at each school, there are a few questions to ask. They will give you a better understanding of the type of support the school provides for students with ADHD.
It is important to learn more about the faculty and staff that the school can use to support the needs of students with ADHD. Ask questions about their qualifications, training, and experience. Examples of questions you might ask include:
- Is the Director of Disability Support Services an ADHD specialist?
- How many ADHD experts participate in the program full-time?
- Can ADHD experts also provide continuous consultation, guidance and support?
- Are there any doctors in the student health department who have experience in treating and prescribing ADHD medications?
- Does the office have a list of professionals experienced in treating ADHD in the area?
Ask what they offer
In addition to learning more about the qualifications of professionals working in support offices, you should also learn more about the types of services they provide. Every program is different, so it is important to see if they can meet your specific needs. Examples of questions you might ask include:
- How many students with ADHD does the support plan provide services?
- Is there a formal ADHD support group available for students on campus?
- Does the school provide professional academic advice for students with ADHD?
- What kind of specific accommodation does the school provide?
- Do they provide early registration for students with ADHD in order to choose their preferred courses and professors?
- Does the support help communicate the needs of each student to the appropriate professor?
- Is it possible to provide professional counseling for students with ADHD?
- Do you specifically provide study skills, time management and organization courses for students with ADHD?
Talk to other students
You may also want to meet with one or two students with ADHD who are in school and currently receiving disability support services. They are usually the best source of practical information about the pros and cons of the program.
Online forums and discussion boards are sometimes another useful source of information. Consider checking the school’s Facebook page or any page or website dedicated to the disability support office. You can better understand the types of things they must provide, and sometimes you can find reviews written by students who are currently attending the school.
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If you have ADHD, taking a proactive approach when choosing a school can help you succeed. Choosing a school can be difficult, but considering your needs and doing some research is a good starting point. If you are still unsure, please consider visiting the school to see what they offer. Trust your instincts and remember to provide support.