Reply To: My ADD high school graduate can she survive college?

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Penny Williams

Most of what you described sounds like my daughter. She doesn’t have an ADHD diagnosis (we have suspected for years but she will not hear of it), but struggles with anxiety (general and social) and disorganization. She just completed her freshman year at a university 5.5 hours from home. I was scared. She was terrified, but determined. She did awesome! Made the dean’s list, even though she was convinced she was screwing it up and making C’s or worse the entire time.

Like your daughter, she’s not organized and not particularly driven, although she knows what she wants to do and is very determined to make that happen. She is also scared to death of getting in trouble and that helps her focus on getting work done, maintaining better order in her dorm room, and not participating in risky or rule-breaking activities.

I nagged her through 4 years of high school to use a planner or an app on her phone to track assignments. She refused. A few days before her first day of college classes, she began using a planner app for students, inputing all her classes and used it all year for reminders on assignments and such. She started using it because she recognized that she had to.

We offered her a gap year and she refused — felt like it was a waste of time. I think a gap year is awesome for kids who don’t quite have the skills and maturity to be on their own. It may have increased her confidence, but she ended up doing well (except being terrified she was “screwing it up” every moment of every day).

Here are a couple articles on preparing students with ADHD for college:

College Prep for Your Teen with ADHD

Good to Go (to College)

ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism