The search for the perfect college can be complex and challenging for both the student with ADHD and his or her parents. Just as the needs of each student are individual, colleges and universities offer a variety of programs to help students with ADHD, learning disabilities and other disabilities. Although there are federal laws governing colleges that receive federal funds, how colleges implement these laws and whether there are additional programs available can be different. Students must carefully look at each college being considered and determine which one will best meet their needs.
Below are ten considerations students should think about when choosing a college:
1) Location. Location should be taken into consideration, not only when determining if you are planning on living at home or on campus, but also when thinking about the ease of being able to come home for the weekend and during school breaks. Although a college several hours or even across the country may seem like a great college, if you feel you will need to come home for support, encouragement or to remove yourself from the college atmosphere for "recharging" choose a college that is within a few hours of your home.
2) Cost. We would all like to think we can attend whichever college is best for us, however, for most families, cost is a major consideration when choosing a college. Talk with your parents about the costs of college before you begin looking. Think about whether you will be able to apply for financial aid or scholarships to help with the cost. Will you need to work during college to help with costs? Understanding the financial aspect can help you narrow down your choices.
3) Understand your own needs. Think about what types of accommodations you received during high school. Do you think you would need similar accommodations to be successful in college? Make a list of what you think you would need in order for you to succeed.
4) What is your goal? Many, if not most, students aren't sure what they would like to study or what field they would like to enter once they finish college. Many will take general studies or liberal arts classes for the first few years of college while deciding where their interests lie and what industry they would like to enter. Students with ADHD, however, can lose interest and motivation if there is not a specific goal in mind. If you don't yet know what you would like to do, consider a skills and interest inventory assessment. Your high school guidance counselor may be able to give this test and it may help you find some direction for your college years.
5) Do you work better with individual attention? Large universities and large classes may be overwhelming or distracting. If you prefer individual attention and smaller class sizes, you may do better in a small college rather than a larger university. If you thrive on hustle and bustle and constant activity a mid-size or large college may be better.