A Guide To Surviving University As A Student With ADHD

College is one of the most exciting times of a student’s life! You are surrounded by new opportunities; however, college life will also present with different challenges and this is particularly true for students with ADHD. Managing a social life, extra-curricular activities, and college classes without daily support from a structured academic schedule or parents is not simple. Fortunately, there are various things you can do to help yourself succeed. This article will provide some tips on how to begin your college experience.

1. Attend Class

Attendance to college courses counts even when the lecturers are not hovering over you and recording absenteeism. Skipping a class not only results in lower grades, but it can also cause professors to assume you are not interested in the course. So, resist the temptation to skip a class regardless of whether you find the class too simple or dull. Believe it or not, you will increase the chance of success by merely attending the class.

2. Remain Realistic

When attending college, it is important that you remain realistic about your schedule. For example, do not register for a class at 8am if you are not a morning person. When setting your schedule, it is important that you schedule your classes at times of the day when you will find it easiest to concentrate and when you think you will be able to reach the venue on time. Many students with ADHD have problems waking up in the morning, so if this applies to you then do not sign up for those early morning classes even if people say it will be the best class on the course!! It does not matter how fantastic the class is if you are not there to participate in it.

3. Work First And Play Later

All campuses have temptations that will distract students from completing their different assignments, and students with ADHD will often need to work harder to achieve successful results. To avoid these temptations, it is recommended that you schedule a specific study period in a quiet location, but stick to the plan! To ensure you stick to the schedule, you should reward yourself with enjoyable activities. Of course, you must work first and play later as this will help you to reduce procrastination.

4. Become Proactive

It is important that you acquire support early before any crises develop. All college campuses offer resources to help students with ADHD to succeed in their studies. To access this support, it is recommended that you contact any learning support services upon arrival and find out what ADHD diagnosis documentation is required to use the services available. If you discover that you are struggling to pass the classes during the semester, it is advised that you contact the support services and your professors for help. When a semester is coming to its end, there is little any person can do to help; however, if you access help near the beginning there is a great deal of help to get people back on track.

5. Using A Calendar

Keeping track of a class schedule, tests, assignments, and a social life is not simple and it does not happen automatically. Moreover, students with ADHD can find themselves having problems remembering the dates of assignments and texts, as well as planning the schedules for these important items. To avoid missing significant dates and deadlines, it is recommended that you start using a calendar. All courses will list class times and dates, the deadlines for assignments, and dates of tests. Adding these events to your calendar as soon as you receive them can help you remains focused and organized.

6. Thinking Before Drinking

It is no secret that college students drink alcohol during their semesters. While excessive drinking is not healthy for any individual, studies have discovered that students with ADHD will experience more negative consequences as a result of drinking more than they should. The best way to avoid these negative experiences is to avoid alcohol; however, this can be difficult if you find yourself in social situations. To avoid social situations and alcohol, it is recommended that you remain away from situations that encourage excessive drinking of alcohol such as joining fraternities or sororities. If you do choose to drink alcohol and discover that it is causing problems with grades, health or relationships, it is advised that you contact the student health center.

7. Joining A Club

With so many college students on campus, it can be difficult to find your ‘niche’; therefore, it is recommended that you join clubs to help find people who enjoy the same activities as you. Before long, you will have made good friends and will have a busy social life that hopefully will not involve drinking alcohol.

8. Get Sleep

It is crucial that you develop a sleep schedule that works for you and keep to it. All people require sleep, but it may be more important for individuals with ADHD. A lack of sleep can make it difficult to focus during classes, as well as resulting in making impulsive decisions that you could regret later. Ideally, you should have eight hours of sleep per night and maintain this type of schedule even if it means sleeping from 2am to 10am each morning.

9. Using Your Medication As Prescribed

It is vital that you continue to take your prescribed medication during your time as a college student. Avoid the temptation to misuse the medication to cram for examinations or skip dosages believing that you do not need the medication. Not only is it unsafe to use this treatment in any other way than it has been prescribed, but it will also disrupt any sleeping schedules making it more difficult to concentrate. If the current medication is not suitable for your needs as a college student, then it is recommended that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible.


  1. Janet W.
    April 5, 2018 / 10:25 am

    These are all great tips that could really benefit any college student whether with ADHD or not.

  2. Amy Drazen
    April 6, 2018 / 10:46 am

    My daughter is 5 years old and I was told by a developmental pediatrician that she is showing early signs of an attention deficit. Finding ways to stay engaged at activities now has been an adventure.

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