ADHD in College

A ‘Study Buddy’ Keeps College Students with ADHD Focused and Accountable

“My son is struggling in college with term papers. How can he get better at tackling long-term assignments and studies well before the due date?”

group of students with notebooks writing in lecture hall

Q: “My son is struggling to stay on top of his work at college — especially longer-term assignments, like term papers, that need to be tackled in chunks and started well before the due date. How can he get better at this?”

A: Your son needs a ‘study buddy.’ This is a person who meets him in the library for work and study sessions.

A human is more compelling than any calendar app, and the library is less distracting than the dorm. The study buddy doesn’t have to be taking the same classes. He just needs to serve as a ‘body double’ to provide some accountability and focus. (If your son has accommodations for college through the school’s disabilities office, you may be able to get a tutor to fill this role. I recommend two-hour sessions, four days a week.)

If your son didn’t have a Section 504 Plan or an IEP in high school, he still may qualify for accommodations if he can provide a written diagnosis from a physician or psychologist stating that he has a disability and explaining how that disability will impact learning.

I also recommend that your son works at a campus job for about 90 minutes a day. This will force him to wake up and go to bed at somewhat regular hours, and, necessarily, start scheduling his time. It is easier to manage your day if there are some set points; it is the vast, untrammeled desert of empty time that confounds. Good luck to your son!

Study Buddy & Habits for College Students with ADHD: Next Steps

Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.