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Parents of ADHD Teens and Young Adults

Preparing child for college

My husband and I disagree with how to prepare our daughter for college.  She’ll be a senior this year.  Her junior year was busy, she made some life changes (left a dance group of 10 years)  and also didn’t have a good year scholastically.  She is very smart, but prefers social activities and then gets home and is on her phone and computer.  My husband thinks we should let her struggle to learn how to deal on her own, so she’s prepared for college.  I have AADD and know how important it is to schedule, make lists and coach myself… and I still fail at remembering and organization!  What is the best way to prepare a 16 year old for going to college on her own in a year?  And to be successful, not just survive!?  Thank you.


She needs to learn how to reign herself in.  She also needs to learn how to ask for help if she doesn’t do that already with school.  Whatever school she chooses to go to needs to be strong with offerings to help those with ADD and she needs to learn to take advantage of the help that’s available.  If she goes away to school the structure you provide her will be gone and if she hasn’t learn to build any for herself it will be very difficult.  That is what happened with us…..we built the structure for our son because he was too smart to qualify for any help and when he went away to school he fell apart.  We were doing exactly what everyone told us we needed to do to get him thru high school——we had no idea that college would be so different.

Posted by greyhairedmom on Jul 02, 2014 at 7:29am

It sounds like you probably know what to do! My daughter is a senior next year as well. We plan to give her increased responsibility and expect significantly more independence ie laundry, independent scheduling, getting herself up and out of the door in time, etc. We’ll continue to support improved time management and organizational skills.

It’s also important to explore what types of supports each of the colleges that she is applying to offers. Some have some pretty good mentoring programs. Once accepted and she selects her college, we’ll explore and help her set up getting that support. My daughter is very receptive to this, because she is getting good support at her high school and recognizes how much it has helped her.

Good luck!

Posted by mcat on Jul 02, 2014 at 8:38am

Hiring an ADHD coach may be a good idea as well, for several reasons. First, it gets the emotional parties (parents) out of the middle of it. The coach will work with her consistently on creating her own structure and habits. That will allow you to step back so she can learn to manage on her own, but it won’t be just pulling the rug out from under her. As well, I know that many college kids with ADHD work with a private ADHD coach (many adults do too). offers some articles on ADHD coaching:

The comments you received above are spot on. If you provide a safety net and she goes away to college, she won’t know how to do things on her own. It’s best to have a heart to heart and let her know you are stepping back so she can learn how to take care on her own over the next year. But make it very clear that you are always available (even after she leaves home) to be a sounding board and to help her work through problems whenever she asks.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 02, 2014 at 10:25pm

I think I would try summer college course at a local technical college.  See how she does…

She has to request accommodations - digit tape recorder, note taker, digital textbooks, double the time on tests, etc…. before classes start…  This process is a challenge to start with…  You need a doctor note, IEP (if you have one), and meet with counselor. 

Parents need the student (adult/child) to sign a form to see their grades and talk with the counselors with them.  We just told our daughter, we are paying, we are seeing the grades, sign here…  The paperwork is EVERY YEAR…. 

If she can not take classes this summer, there is next summer….  six credits is full time….  two regular classes in general studies will transfer to most colleges…  (or a night course or a dual credit high school / college course) make sure it is a transferable college level course.  It is a cheaper and near-home testing of the college waters… 

Good Luck…

Posted by ADHD-3in home on Jul 06, 2014 at 11:41am

We just sent our 17 year old son, he will be a Senior this upcoming September, to Landmark College in Vermont. They have a High School Program for kids with LD and ADHD to prepare them for their Senior year and for college. They have wonderful programs. Check them out at  We also found an educational consultant at a college fair specifically for kids with LD. She has helped a LOT!

Posted by mom2teenageboys on Jul 10, 2014 at 3:30am

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