Updated: May 11
Are you a student with ADHD who is starting to think about college?
Choosing the right college can be a tough decision, especially if you're looking for a school that understands and supports your unique needs.
That's why we've put together a list of the top 10 colleges for students with ADHD to help you find the best fit for success!
In this blog, we'll go over the schools that offer the best campus resources, accommodations, and support for students with ADHD so you can make an informed decision and feel confident in your college choice.
Read and find ease in your pre college transitional experience!
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Understanding ADHD and the College Experience
For many students with learning disabilities, managing time can be a major struggle.
I once had a student, a freshman in college, let’s name him Jake. I remember he constantly brought up his anxiety regarding failing grades. Due to the various missing assignments listed on his USD online platform, we came to the conclusion that he was finding it challenging to keep track of assignments and often forgetting deadlines.
During our session, Jake confessed he received a failing grade on an assignment because he forgot to turn it in on time - his cheeks quickly turned bright red with shame. Frustrated and overwhelmed, Jake began to feel like college was too difficult for him.
A common challenge for students with ADHD is organization. Like in the example above, we explored that Jake often misplaced important course materials and forgot details about course requirements.
College students often experience overwhelm and anxiousness, a key sign that they are struggling.
Students with ADHD may also struggle with focus and attention in the classroom. For instance, I had a student, Maria, a junior with ADHD, who often found herself zoning out during lectures and missing important information. She had difficulty concentrating for long periods and often felt restless and distracted.
Despite these challenges, there are resources available to help students with ADHD succeed in college. For example, Jake started working with an executive function coach who helped him develop better time-management skills and strategies for staying organized. Maria began to use medication to manage her symptoms and started working with a tutor to better understand course material.
Overall, understanding the unique challenges that students with ADHD face in the college environment is crucial for finding the right support and resources.
By taking advantage of these resources and developing strategies to manage their symptoms, students with ADHD can thrive in college and achieve their academic and personal goals.
Criteria for Selecting ADHD-Friendly Colleges
When it comes to selecting a college, students with ADHD need to consider several factors to find the right fit. Here are some criteria that can help in selecting ADHD-friendly colleges:
Support Services: Choose colleges with tailored support services like academic advising, disability services, and connection with a learning specialist for ADHD students to manage symptoms and navigate college (we will talk more in depth about this in a minute!).
Size and Structure: Your college size and structure matter. Smaller colleges provide a more intimate environment with individual attention. Clear structures help ADHD students stay organized.
Accessibility: Choose accessible colleges with clear navigation and easy access to facilities to reduce stress and help ADHD students manage time.
Flexibility: Flexibility in classes within the chosen major can help ADHD students balance coursework, obligations, and reduce stress.
Student Culture: Choose an accredited college with supportive and inclusive student culture to help ADHD students feel comfortable in their academic and personal pursuits.
Best colleges for ADHD
For Jake and Maria alike, finding the right college was of supreme importance. Here is the ranking for the top colleges for students with ADHD according to resources offered, academic support, college programs, and flexibility:
University of Arizona: Students with ADHD have the option to receive assistance from the SALT Center (Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques), which offers a range of support services such as academic coaching and tutoring, and guidance on how to manage time effectively.
University of Iowa: The Student Disability Services department caters to the needs of students with ADHD by providing specific accommodations, which may include additional time for taking tests and help with taking notes.
Landmark College: this college provides customized academic support, a well-planned schedule, and smaller class sizes that aid the student reach academic success.
University of Denver: The Learning Effectiveness Program provides coaching is a specialized program that offers academic tutoring, and workshops for students with ADHD.
American University: Students with ADHD can get assistance and accommodations from the Academic Support and Access Center. This may include coaching, test taking strategies, tutoring, and workshops to improve study and life skills.
University of Connecticut: The Center for Students with Disabilities offers academic accommodations and aid to continue supporting students with ADHD, which may involve extra time during tests, assistance with note-taking, and tutoring.
University of Michigan: The Services for Students with Disabilities department caters to the needs of students with ADHD by offering various types of support and accommodations such as psychological services, coaching, academic assistance, and assistive technology.
University of Southern California: The Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity provides coaching, support for academic learning skills, and workshops for students with ADHD to aid them in reaching their personal and professional goals.
University of Vermont: The ACCESS program delivers assistance and accommodations to students with ADHD, which may involve coaching, tutoring, and assistive technology.
Drexel University: The Office of Disability Resources provides accommodations and support for students that learn differently including coaching, tutoring, and assistive technology.
Resources and Support Services for students with learning disabilities
You might be asking yourself, what’s the worth and importance of having ADHD specialized support services on campus? Well, support services for students with ADHD and other learning differences on a college campus are important for several reasons.
Here are my top 3 reasons strong support services can be beneficial:
They may help level the playing field for ADHD students, providing equal access to education. For example, extended test-taking time reduces the impact of symptoms on academic performance. Time management skills, organizational skills and other executive functioning skills will have a big impact!
They will help students develop coping strategies and life skills, like academic coaching, tutoring with specific learning strategies, and study groups for organization, time management, and focus on coursework.
By participating in workshops and support groups, students can create a sense of community and belonging on campus. Additionally, they offer a space to connect with others facing similar challenges and experiences, teaching self advocacy skills and peer mentoring.
Campus Support and Services
Now that you know that, here are some resources and support services that you should incorporate into your college research. Most of these are commonly available for students with ADHD on an inclusive college campus:
Disability Support Services Office: responsible for providing accommodations and support services to students with disabilities, including ADHD. Accommodations may include extended time on tests, note-taking assistance, and priority registration.
Academic Coaching: created to help students with ADHD stay on track with their coursework. Coaches or strategic learning specialists (like us at EFS) can help students with time management, organization, and study skills to ensure academic success.
Tutoring: this resource is often available for students who need extra help with their coursework. Tutors can help students with specific subjects and may also provide study skills support.
Study Groups: this can be a great way for students with ADHD to stay focused and motivated. Study groups and peer tutoring can provide accountability and peer support.
Counseling Services: many colleges offer counseling services to help students with mental wellness, which can address some of the symptoms of ADHD. Counseling can provide emotional support and help students develop coping strategies. Students will work on their self awareness and other skills that will support their college careers.
Assistive Technology: apps and software can be helpful for students with ADHD. For example, some apps can help with time management and organization, while others can help with note-taking and studying.
Workshops and Support Groups: colleges may offer workshops and support groups specifically for students with ADHD. These can provide additional support and resources for students with learning disabilities. Here, you may find a learning support program aimed for your specific needs. Remember to check out featured online programs too!
Tips to Support Students with ADHD in College
College can be tough for anyone, but it can be even harder for students with ADHD. But don't worry, there are ways to make it easier! Here are some tips to help you succeed in college. Yes, even with ADHD.
Take advantage of accommodations and support services.
Create a schedule and stick to it. This will help you manage your time and stay organized. Make sure to include time for studying, attending classes, and other important tasks.
Break tasks into smaller chunks. This will help you stay focused and make progress without feeling discouraged.
Minimize distractions. Try to study in a quiet, distraction-free environment. My most helpful (nevertheless, hard) tip here is to turn off your phone or use an app to block virtual distractions.
Use technology to your advantage! There are many apps and tools available that can help you stay organized, manage your time, and improve your focus.
Find a study group, as studying with others can help keep you accountable and motivated. Find ones related to your major or area of interest - you’ll be amazed at the wonderful feeling of community.
Practice self-care. Managing ADHD can be stressful, so make sure to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, establish a stable college life, and eat a healthy diet. Don't be afraid to seek support services from a counselor or mental health professional if you need it.
Conclusion: Making the Most of Your College Experience with ADHD
In this blog, we've outlined some effective strategies and resources to make your college journey with ADHD a successful one. But remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach, and sometimes you might need additional support. That's perfectly okay.
Executive function coaching can be a game-changer in enhancing time management and organizational skills, which are often challenging for students with ADHD. As Jake and Maria's stories suggest, working with an executive function coach can have a significant impact on your academic success.
Interested in learning more about executive function coaching or ready to level up your executive function skills? Consider our free course, "Enhance Your Executive Function Skills." This course offers practical strategies to prepare you for the rigors of college life.
Ready to take your college journey to the next level?
Remember, your ADHD doesn't limit your potential. You're capable of achieving great things!
About the Author
Gal Sharony is an executive function specialist and educational psychologist with extensive experience in assisting students in overcoming learning and emotional challenges.
She has achieved great success by focusing on socio-emotional skill development and providing tailored support to help students achieve academic excellence. Gal utilizes evidence-based practices to establish an efficient, just, and inclusive learning environment.
Along with her passion for helping students succeed, Gal also enjoys spending time with her family, immersing herself in nature, indulging in painting and photography, and practicing yoga.