Recommended Accommodations for College Students with ADHD

The transition from high school to college is a critical and sensitive stage, especially for those with ADHD. College students with ADHD face many challenges in the new college community with more distraction, less external structure, more responsibilities, and new friends and teachers. While pre-college educational systems allocate resources, both formal and information, to provide well-tailored educational services, students in college have to rely upon their own skills, support, and resources to a much greater degree. It is exceedingly important that college students learn to advocate for themselves and seek out support to ensure success in the classroom and beyond.

What officials can provide to students with ADHD

  1. Tests:
    • Extended time on tests and assignments,
    • Testing in a separate and quiet place,
    • Testing over several sessions
  2. Lectures:
    • Permission to record lectures,
    • Audio-taped text book,
    • Assistance with writing class notes (i.e., note-taking service),
    • Reading assistance service (i.e., reading group)
  3. Courses:
    • Written instructions from professors,
    • Priority registration with a professional in the disability services office,
    • The possibility of class substitution within the curriculum,
    • Reduced course load

What students with ADHD can provide for themselves:

  1. Choosing:
    • Right college: with reasonable accommodations for students with ADHD, Support group for students with ADHD,
    • College with large number of ADHD-LD specialists,
    • College with many registered ADHD students
    • To disclose your ADHD diagnosis at the earliest possible opportunity to trusted student services staff and advisors to request appropriate accommodations including those that the school may not readily offer but you can justify the need.
  2. Contact:
    • School’s office of disability and be familiar with its resources;
    • Health officials to provide them with documentations that prove your ADHD status and proof that ADHD affects your academic performance;
    • Writing center and utilize it properly;
    • Professors beyond the classroom, make use of office hours, if only to introduce yourself. Set up appointments to clarify assignments.
  3. Find:
    • How and where to access support from tutors, whether on campus or online;
    • Healthy study environment early on: proper time management (including a schedule that includes time for studying, socializing and exercising), distraction free study environment;
    • A study buddy or study group: sign up for classes with friends, or make friends in the classes you have so that you will support each other in and out of class;
    • An academic coach (through the college counseling office or privately) that will check in with you throughout the week to ensure success.
  4. Improve your:
    • Self-advocacy skills, -Self-esteem and avoid frustrations,
    • Socializing time and social skills,
    • Perspective to your future goals and carrier,
    • Perseverance and procrastination,
    • Sleep habits to be able to get up early in the morning to catch your classes,
    • Self-expectations: sometimes kids with ADHD think that they are cured after high school so they are not in need for further treatment.

Hence, students may have poor time management with possible “crash and burn syndrome” due to study overload and coping to spend lot of hours in studying. It is critical that deliberate and proactive steps are taken to prepare the child and family as they transition to college education.

Guide for Online Colleges & Disabilities by

What College Students with ADHD Need to Know About Advocacy and Accommodations

  1. Hello, where can i find a list of official recommended accommodations? I am having trouble completing my college ” Homework Assignments” in the allotted time; I emailed the SOD and they stated that they do not offer “extended time on Assignments”. I have talked to my professor but he keeps saying “ALl StuDEnTs ArE GraDed WitH tHE SaME YaRd STicK” even refused to change my timed QUIZ because my Letter of Accommodations said EXAMS.

      • Admin
      • May 22, 2018

      Discrimination laws are extremely complex and vary from place to place. We highly recommend you contact resources in your area who have expertise in academic accommodations.

      Robert Tudisco, a disability attorney and noted ADHD activist ( recommended several resources that may be able to help you, or at least find someone local who can help.

      He suggested a great resource named COPAA. COPAA is the Council of Parents Attorneys and Advocates. The Web site is Their site has a directory of disability and education attorneys in most jurisdictions as well as a lot of advocacy information.

      AHEAD is the Association for Higher Education and Disabilities (, and they have a testing accommodation committee. In addition, the American Bar Association has a disability committee that actually led the fight in stopping the flagging of accommodated scores for the LSAT (unfortunately, we don’t know if the committee has a specific website). (I know testing isn’t your main problem now, but these groups may be able to help with assignments as well.)

      There is also an attorney in New York named Joanne Simon. She does a lot of work in accommodations, especially for post-secondary students. Her website is

      Good luck!

    • Marie Cimetti
    • May 10, 2018

    I have read and re-read all there is to know about the ADA and accommodations for college students with ADHD, and what they are entitled to by law. However, this student has refused to admit he has a problem of to subject himself to a comprehensive evaluation. His professors are aware that he has a problem but do not feel they can help him due to HIPAA regulations. He is flunking out at the moment. He was evaluated when he was younger; however, does not want to admit it now. At the present time he will not graduate. I am not his parent; they are divorced, and I know more than either of them will ever know about his needs. Can his college intervene without breaking the law? What can I do? Can they request a comprehensive evaluation without going into detail. I went through this with both my son and daughter, both of whom were able to graduate. My daughter became a teacher after graduation by addressing her struggles and how she wanted to prevent other students from going through the agonizing time she had in college. I need your advice as to what, if any, I can do on this young man’s behalf. He is my grandson. Please let me know your thoughts. Time is running out for him…… Thank you.

      • Krischa
      • August 26, 2018

      I am an adult with ADHD and I am sorry that your grandson is not doing well. You never mentioned his age but I am guessing that since he is in College he must be at least 18 and because of this it must be up to him. It is wonderful that you care about what happens and it must feel horrible not being able to intervene but at this point he has to discover what he needs and wants to do. Admitting that you are struggling, or different from others, is extremely difficult but having to disclose this to people at school or work can pose even more challenges such as stigma and discrimination. I know that for my family it was extremely helpful to read about how to support someone living with disabilities. There are many amazing websites and organizations that can help you through the tough times. He may not be ready for help right now but the best thing you can do for him, and yourself, is to accept his decision and support him. Educate yourself so that you have the tools necessary to guide him and yourself. Good luck.

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