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Selecting which colleges to apply to takes some care. There are published resource guides for prospective college students with ADHD and/or learning disabilities that provide an overview of available services and contact information at colleges across the country. However, since these guides are not updated yearly, it is likely that you may need to do more in-depth research to learn what services might be available.
By law, all colleges and universities receiving any federal funding must provide “reasonable accommodations” for students with ADHD. While the type of documentation needed to qualify for accommodations may differ from college to college, the accommodations tend to be similar. These typically include the following:
In addition some institutions may offer the option to substitute courses to meet the math and foreign language requirement and the possibility of having a temporary or permanent course under load (permission to take less than the minimum number of hours and still be a fulltime student).
However, the laws governing colleges do not require that they provide any individual or group support to help students overcome their learning challenges. Consequently, vast differences exist in the supports available at various colleges. Some have very minimal staffing to provide support services and only adhere to the “letter of the law,” while other schools provide extensive support and encouragement to students with ADHD and other disabilities. Many colleges also have services available to all students to increase their retention and graduation rates. Besides learning about the specific services and accommodations for students with ADHD, it is important to find out if there are campus-wide supports such as learning and/or writing centers, tutoring services, individual or group coaching or any other programming for first-year students.
Answering the following questions can help determine if a college or university is the right fit for you or your child:
Very few schools will attain a “perfect score,” but the more ADHD-friendly answers you receive and positive vibes you get from your interactions on each campus, the better are the chances that you or your teen with ADHD will succeed at that school.
Due to economics, many teens are attending state universities due to lower costs of in-state tuition. Private and smaller colleges should not be ruled out given the possible financial aid available.