10 Tips for College Students with ADHD
The following tips may be helpful to adults with ADHD who are college students.
- Ask for help when you need it. Don't be afraid to get support. Many schools offer resources to help students with disabilities, such as ADHD. Check out your school's disability support program to see what is available. Accommodations can vary and so can the names of the programs. The office may be called RDS—Resources for Disabled Students. It may also be referred to as Office of Student Disability Services, Student Support Services, Services to Students with Disabilities, or Disability Services Office.
- Technology can help. Time management is important in college. Fortunately, there are a number of computer and portable electronic programs and devices which may help you organize your schedule and keep track of classes, assignments, projects and grades. Electronic reminders can also come in handy in college.
- Discover your learning style. Studying in a way that comes naturally to you may benefit you in college. For instance, some students are auditory learners. This means you learn best when you hear material. For auditory learners, recorded lectures may help. Other students are visual learners—you might remember best what you see. Highlighting key words or phrases helps visual learners with memorizing material. Others may learn by a hands-on approach. It's important to find what works best for you.
- Common accommodations that may make it easier for you to study, take notes, and do other tasks in college can include early registration, waived/modified placement exams, using (free) note-takers in class, free tutoring, additional time on assignments or tests, and extra time with professors. Accommodations vary from school to school and student to student. Check with your Student Disability Support office to find out what services are available at your school.
- Check out professors before signing up for classes. A Web site like www.ratemyprofessors.com may help you decide if a professor matches your needs. Professors can vary in their acceptance and understanding of ADHD. The staff at your support services provider may also be helpful in the course selection process and with identifying professors who have worked well with students with ADHD in the past.
- A class syllabus is essential. A syllabus will have information on schedules, assignments, and due dates for a particular class. Think of the syllabus as the ultimate guide to your class. The syllabus is usually handed out on the first day of class and may be posted online. You will be responsible for the information in the syllabus and any changes the professor makes to it. It helps to capture the important dates from the syllabus and put them in a planner to keep track of your schedule.
- Carry a 3-hole punch with you. Get one that is small enough to bring to class or fits into your notebook and use it with a 3-ring binder. That way when you're given papers you can file them immediately. Resist the urge to do it later; that is often how papers get lost. Practicing this tip can help with organization.
- Divide and conquer. Divide reading assignments into small chunks. The more difficult the reading material, the more time you might need to devote to it. Determine what you can read in one study session then divide the material into manageable reading periods.
- New homes. Identify new homes for your important items. Find specific places for room keys, your wallet or pocketbook and cell phone in your new living space. You might even want to mark the new homes to help you remember.
- Set daily and weekly goals. Try to plan and record daily and weekly goals for studying and working on assignments and projects. Consider breaking down projects or assignments into smaller, more manageable chunks and including these on your schedule to get things done.
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