Children and Teens

Campus Concerns for Teens with ADHD

Challenges for the ADHD college student

Going to college is an exciting time for students with ADHD. But there are also many new challenges, responsibilities, and freedoms. Probably for the first time, students with ADHD will have to stand up for their own educational needs. It is their responsibility to acknowledge when they need help and support in their new environment. They will have to locate school resources and let their needs be known. ADHD college students need to know their rights.


Most colleges have to follow the rules of Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. That is, they are eligible for certain accommodations under U.S. federal law. At many schools, this help comes from the Office of Students with Disabilities. ADHD college students may be eligible for a variety of services including:

  • Mental health counseling
  • Assistance with their study skills (like note taking)
  • Exam accommodations

But there are many challenges that are different from when they were in grade and high school. College students with ADHD have to be their own advocates. It is their responsibility to provide their college with proof that they have ADHD. They should:

  • Be knowledgeable about their condition
  • Understand their learning style
  • Recognize and seek help when they need it

College Life

College life is very different from living at home. College students with ADHD need to remember that college classes are larger and they'll get less attention from their professors. Probably most of all, they will have to manage their own time and complete their schoolwork without prodding from other adults. To succeed in the less structured college setting, students with ADHD will have to work harder. They may want to:

  • Take a smaller course load each semester
  • Schedule regular meetings with their professors or teaching assistants
  • Develop their own learning plans
  • Study with others in their class
  • Establish their own academic schedules
  • Set and maintain their own goals

College students with ADHD may have to work a bit harder than other students to be successful. Academic services are available to them. They just need to be their own best advocate by seeking help when they need it.


1. Van Scoy, H. (2002). ADHD: It’s not just for kids anymore. Health Scout News. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from 
2. Tessler, L.G. (1997). How college students with learning disabilities can advocate for themselves. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from the LD Online Web site: 
3. National Institute of Mental Health. (2008). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Publication No. 96-3572). Retrieved August 24, 2010, from
4. Watkins, C.E. (2001). Taking your ADD to college. Northern County Psychiatric Associates. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from