Reply To: Transition From High School To College

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Parents Teens & Young Adults Transition From High School To College Reply To: Transition From High School To College


My son was diagnosed in middle school, and is now in his senior year of college. He had an uneven record in high school but managed to get into a good school. He has an uneven record in college, as well. School isn’t very hospitable to people with ADD/ADHD; it’s full of deadlines and often relatively trivial work, and professors, like teachers, aren’t very sympathetic to the challenges of those with ADD/ADHD. My son generally did better in school on meds; it most definitely helped him focus. However last year he decided he didn’t want to take them any more. His grades plummeted; he forgot to turn in homework and often skipped classes. He barely scraped by but he did make it and it looks as if he will graduate on time. People with ADD/ADHD have to find strategies for surviving the chaos that college represents. I am a professor myself and often work with students who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD: these students stand out because they are so forgetful–and sometimes quite stubborn–and at college there’s no one to remind them or keep them on track. Without medication, there are very few tools to overcome the challenges of ADD/ADHD since, from what I’ve seen, the biggest problems are short term memory loss, anxiety, and executive function issues, which make for a strong challenge in an unstructured environment that changes throughout the semester and then changes massively semester by semester.

That said, students with ADD/ADHD in my experience (including my son) are exceedingly quick learners and creative thinkers, so if they can find ways to cope with the many organizing demands, and if they take classes that truly interest them, they can succeed. I think they need to keep their expectations modest in school, however, until schools figure out how to address their particular challenges and gifts. My goal with my son is to support him and fight against my own worry and desire to see him do well academically. I am confident that once he gets through the unique barriers of school life, and can settle into the greater predictability of a job, he will do okay (as long as the content of the job itself isn’t boring).

  • This reply was modified 4 years ago by vceross.