ADHD and Higher Education

What resources do colleges have to help people with ADHD?

Many schools offer resources to help students with disabilities. Before entering college, find out what support programs your school offers. Check out your school's disability support program to see what is available. Accommodations can vary and so can the names of the programs. The office may be called RDS — Resources for Disabled Students. It may also be referred to as Office of Student Disability Services, Student Support Services, Services to Students with Disabilities, or Disability Services Office.

Before entering college you will need to apply for these programs. By law, all colleges and universities receiving federal funding must provide "reasonable accommodations" for students with disabilities, which may include ADHD. Colleges generally require a recent assessment, copies of your Section 504 or individualized education plan (IEP), and accommodations requested. Look on your college's website to find the application and instructions on how to apply. Visit the office and speak with the staff about your situation to understand what services are offered by your college.

Accommodations for college students with ADHD may include:

  • Early registration
  • Extended time for tests
  • Test-taking in your chosen environment
  • Extended time to complete assignments
  • Extra time to meet with the professor
  • Free tutoring
  • Note-taker in class

Strategies for Studying

  • Set aside a special space to study.
  • Keep all your materials in one place so you can easily find them. 
  • While you’re studying, reduce distractions like background noise to help stay focused.
  • Break down large assignments (like papers and studying for tests) into smaller parts.
  • Reward yourself when you complete an assignment. Spend 15 minutes watching a favorite TV show or doing another activity you like.
  • Try moving around while studying.