Ask the Experts

Q: “How Can My Teen Find an ADHD College Coach?”

A college coach who specializes in students with ADHD can help your teen create systems and strategies for academics, organization, time management, social commitments, and more while away from home. Here’s how to select the right one.

Q: “Our son is a senior in high school. It’s been a struggle, but he’s managed to do pretty well and earned high scores on his ACTs, so he hopes to study engineering next year in college. He would like to start working with a great ADHD coach now — to form a relationship and build some skills before college, then continue with him through college, and beyond. He will need a persistent coach who demands accountability and regular appointments. We just don’t know where to start looking.” – PreparingToLetGo

Hi PreparingToLetGo:

I’m thrilled to be answering this question! I work all day long with students and see first-hand the benefits of an ADHD coach in helping students feel more empowered and in control. The right coach can teach a student the skills they need to be successful in learning and in life.

Notice that I said the “right” coach. Here is some food for thought when picking a coach for your son.

1. Make sure the ADHD coach specializes in college students. Some might disagree with me, but as a coach who specializes in college students, my focus is narrow and deep. I’m plugged in to what my clients are experiencing in the classroom and on campus. In other words, I speak their language.

2. A college coach should focus on the “life” stuff as much as the academics — and sometimes even more so. I tell my students that college is 30% academics and 70% everything else – and it’s the everything else that will be critical toward their success in the real world.

[The Life Coach Guide for ADHD: Strategies for Every Age and Stage]

Many of my student coaching sessions don’t ever touch on time-management or study skills. We spend time talking about balancing social concerns, roommate disputes, advocating for themselves, crafting an email to their professors, or even how to handle money or do laundry. If this is important to you and your son, seek out a coach who believes the same.

3. Give your son a few ADHD coaches to try on for size. I can’t stress this enough. The coaching relationship is a very personal one; so you want the best fit. Set up two or three virtual meetings and give your son the chance to interview them.

Tip within a tip? Don’t let your son make a decision right on the spot. He needs time to process all the meetings before making his decision. As a coach, I do the same.

4. You mention that accountability and regular appointments are important to you. So make sure you ask about the coach’s process because every coach coaches differently. For example, my students are required to check in with me multiple times during the week. Being able to support them when and where they need it is essential to my work and their growth. Some coaches only see their students once a week. Some coaches require parental involvement; others don’t. There’s no wrong way to coach. You just want to find one that will fit the needs of your son.

[Read: How to Ace the Transition to College – Strategies from an ADHD Coach]

Here are a few wonderful resources that may help you find the best coach for your son.

Good Luck!

ADHD College Coach: Next Steps

ADHD Family Coach Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

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