The transition from high school to college can be stressful for anyone, but it often proves especially challenging for students with ADHD. Kristy Morgan, a recent doctoral graduate from Kansas State University, conducted a small study of first-semester freshmen with ADHD and found that many were unprepared for the unique obstacles they faced.
Morgan's research led her to develop the following tips for students with ADHD:
- Try to have a study strategy in place before you go off to college. Although a transition to new levels of responsibility is always challenging, Morgan found that students who had already developed effective ADHD management strategies in high school were much less overwhelmed by their coursework.
- Talk to academic advisers about developing a schedule that really works for you. Helpful measures can include anything from scheduling classes back-to-back—rather than spread throughout the day—to taking classes in a part of campus with fewer distractions.
- Know your diagnosis. Morgan found that parents of college freshmen with ADHD often stayed very involved, continuing to take care of tasks such as filling prescriptions, contacting doctors, and organizing study spaces. Although family support is important, Morgan noted that parental management of ADHD contributed to students lacking understanding of their diagnoses as they grew older.
- Research your resources. Although most students do not take a college’s supportive resources into account when picking a school, it is good to be aware of the available resources when you go in so that you already know where to seek help when you feel overwhelmed. Many schools offer free time-management and study skills workshops, for example.