Reply To: Flunking College


If the student is not completely kicked out of the school, I’d also take advantage of campus resources. Academic advisers and campus counseling center staff can be great at tackling some of these issues. Whomever the student works with, it will be important to break down not only the logistics of what happened (what barriers got in the way, what types of assignments were most difficult, what was their daily routine) but also the emotional aspect of it. Why was it hard to get things done? What did you feel like as things started to pile up? What stopped you from saying something before things got so bad? How are you feeling about yourself right now? Do you believe that you can be successful? What kind of support do you need to get you where you want to be?

These are all questions that can be answered by a number of professionals. Like Penny said, you could consider looking for an ADHD coach. Usually when academics are involved there’s more than just attentional or executive functioning issues at play. The transition to college can be difficult for even the best students and healthiest people. It’s important to also normalize this, and to tackle it in a way that is supportive. It sounds like you already are.

As far as finding a professional, this is what I would do:
1. –> Put in your location –> “Search nearby” –> Search for “Counseling”
2. Look through the list of providers, and specifically look for clinics (ideally ones that have websites)
3. Briefly review the clinics and their staff, then call the clinic to ask directly if they have anyone working there with the experience you seek
4. Make a first session and go in with a prepared list of things you want to address; if the person cannot meet those needs, have them tell you in the first session

The thing with a professional is that you don’t just want it to be someone who gets the student ready to go back to school. You want this to be a person, like a therapist or coach, that can work with the student ongoing to tackle these issues as they arise. So, finding someone close to the school may be more ideal, and finding someone with whom the student “fits” is especially important.

Lastly, does the student want the help? If she or he doesn’t, then this will be a futile effort.