The ADHD College Quest

Are you looking for the right college where you can succeed in spite of your ADHD symptoms? Aside from the curriculum, other features like campus size, student culture, and disability services are important considerations when you choose your college. Before you set your heart on the college you'd like to go to, take a moment to consider your needs and how your ADHD symptoms might influence them. Start your quest for the perfect college by answering these questions as honestly as you can.

What subjects or fields of expertise are you interested in studying?

Not many high school students are aware of what they want to major in, but people with ADHD feel less motivated to do well if they take courses that do not interest them. Choose a school or major that will ignite your passion rather than one that you "have" to take. If you are uncertain about what your interests are, visit your guidance counselor's office and ask to take a skill assessment. You may also want to consider a liberal arts college, which has a broad range of courses, programs, and academic activities.

Do you need support or structure for ADHD?

College is a great opportunity for you to redefine yourself, but consider your ADHD symptoms. If you intend to go far away from home, see if your potential college has an ADHD support group you can be a part of. Are you the kind who cannot strike a balance between work and play? If so, a "party school" may not be a wise choice.

Do you like receiving individual attention from teachers?

Some students with ADHD thrive when their teacher gives them personalized attention. After all, large classes can be distracting for those with ADHD and can make you feel as though you're lost in a crowd. You'll be tempted to skip class and before you know it, you'll be so far behind that you end up dropping the class altogether. If this sounds like you, go for small schools with a low student to teacher ratio.

Do high-energy environments excite you?

Other students with ADHD need a busy, bustling campus in order to stay motivated. If small, sleepy campuses sound dull to you, consider a medium-sized or large college with lots of extracurricular activities and an active student life.

Do you have sleep problems?

Look for a school with in-campus dormitories so you won't have a problem showing up at your early morning classes. If you have difficulty falling asleep, look for lodging with quiet hallways and single rooms to avoid roommate distractions and other stimuli that can disrupt your sleep and studies.

Dr. Yannick Pauli is an expert on natural approaches to ADHD and the author of the popular self-help home-program The Unritalin Solution. He is Director of the Centre Neurofit in Lausanne, Switzerland and has a passion taking care of children with ADHD. Click on the link for more great information about what is adhd.