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ADHD and College and Higher Education

Any ADD students majoring in engineering?


My name is Matt and I’m currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Environmental engineering. Obviously engineering is no easy field, so I was wondering if there were any ADD students in engineering. I have at least survived most of the ‘weed out’ courses so far. I wanted to see if anyone had any tips or methods that helped them in some of the tougher classes like Calculus 3, Dynamics, etc. I’m looking for better ways to help me focus and study the material.



There are two articles on on study tips for college students with ADHD:

You may find some useful information there to help you in your Engineering studies. I commend you for taking on such a challenging field.

Best of luck!
ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jun 18, 2014 at 6:59pm

I was a materials/chemical engineering double major until my senior year when I decided to enlist in the Army.  When I returned from the Army, I decided to change my major to computer science.
Anyway, the key to getting through my classes was effective time management.  If I didn’t have a plan for each day, I’d waste a lot of time.  I found study places that were comfortable (for me that was a particular coffee shop and the electrical engineering building) and always studied in those areas.  I made sure I understood everything before moving on to the next topic.  I reviewed lecture notes, took notes on my readings and then did my assignments.  I learned the most from the combination of readings and assignments, so I always made sure I did my assignments (on time).  Make sure you allot enough time for studying.  Some classes require more time than others, so I’d make my schedule with that in mind. During my junior and senior years, I worked an internship for 4 hours a day.  If you can find one, an internship is a great way to reinforce what you’re learning in school and it exposes you to production-level projects that you don’t see in school.  It’s a really good way to learn and build confidence.  Also, try to get enough sleep each night (it takes less time to learn stuff when you’re not tired) and exercise regularly.

Those are the things that helped me get through my engineering and computer science classes.  I don’t know much about environmental engineering, but materials/chemical engineering was a challenging and rewarding program.  I wish you the best of luck!

Posted by csiagent32 on Jun 22, 2014 at 6:53pm

Sounds good, I will have to try those. Thank you so much!

Posted by ambrogi9 on Jul 01, 2014 at 3:26am

Hi Matt,

You and I are paddling the same boat buddy. 

I am a non traditional student, 29 and have had ADHD my entire life.  I was also a high school drop out and proud to say I currently maintain a 4.0.

Some of the things that have helped me are the following.  While this is not an exhaustive list of steps I have taken to achieve academic success they are indeed a good starting point.

1) Take advantage of your schools disability services offered.  While I am a pretty good note taker, it is a tremendous blessing to have a “non adhd” person taking notes for you as a backup.  Plus I have unlimited permission to video record all of my classes to go back and review them.

2) Learn about yourself.  What time of the day do you find is your best time for studying?  Do you study better with light ambient music playing?  Etc.  Once you find these answers implement them and then every once in a while, review these “life settings” to make sure they still apply to you. 

3) If in doubt, never fail to ask for clarification from your professors no matter how dumb of a question you feel you have.  Your paying for a quality education in a very rewarding field and its your right to ask questions for clarification.  Also take advantage of your schools tutoring services if needed.  In my school because I am registered with the disability services, I am provided one on one tutoring with no extra charge for my classes.

4) Last and certainly not least, Never, never, never, never give up.  My life saying has become a paraphrase of what Edison once said, “Those who give up, never realize how close to success they were.”

That in and of itself is enough to drive me to my fullest potential and I know without a shadow of doubt, had I put even a fraction of the effort I am putting into college now, I would have been valedictorian in a heart beat.

Posted by Born2Discover on Jul 14, 2014 at 2:03am

Getting through engineering coursework is a time management problem for everyone.  Structure your time with the tools that work for you not the tools that work for someone else.

Get in tune when and where you can study your best.  If it’s 2 am. then study then.  If it’s on the train study there.

Connect with the instructor who is teaching.  You’ve got this far you probably know what I mean.  Those teachers were teaching the classes you aced.  Reproduce that.

If you’re failing a course withdraw before the grade becomes permanent and take it again.  No one will ask you how many courses you had to repeat at your job interview.

Most important:  Have fun!  The courses you had fun in were also the ones you aced. That’s the way ADHD works.

Posted by DavesNotHere on Feb 10, 2015 at 3:58am

Wow… I was just browsing the web and stumbled across this thread. In true ADHD fashion, I forgot that I had posted this question and never really checked back until now. I have since implemented some of the strategies listed here and I’ll now give the others a shot. Thank you to everyone that responded! It is truly appreciated!

If anyone was wondering, I have three semesters left until I graduate! It’s been a grueling few years, but I’ve definitely grown a lot in the process. Again, thank you so much for all of your thoughtful responses and recommendations!

Edit: I just saw the username of the OP. I didn’t post this, but I thought I did because my name is Matt, the timing of the original post seemed about right, I’m majoring in environmental engineering, and I related to the sentiment of the post so much! Good luck, other matt! Hope you’re doing well.  😁👍

Posted by ADDMatt on May 14, 2017 at 5:32pm

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