9 Steps for Easing the Transition to College with Learning and Attention Issues

By Kate Kelly, Understood.org

If you are headed to college, you don’t have to wait until high school’s over to start preparing for the transition. There are things you can do now to get ready for challenges you may face as someone with learning and attention issues. Follow these steps to get ready for college.

  • Practice Breaking Down long-term assignments. When you get a long term assignment, break it down into smaller tasks and set dates for what needs to get done by when.
  • Work on developing good study habits. Get in the habit of blocking out study time on a calendar several days before a test. Figure out what kind of study environment works best for you. Develop a plan for taking notes. If taking notes is difficult, practice other strategies, such as recording classes or asking for a copy of the teacher’s notes. Go over other solutions to keep up with studying.
  • Get comfortable with meeting new people. Move out of your comfort zone a bit. Try sitting next to someone new in the cafeteria or joining a club.
  • Learn how to do some “advanced” chores. Ask a parent or another adult to show you how to do your own laundry and change linens. Be sure you know how to shop for groceries and how to cook a few things. In addition to mastering these skills, get to know how long it takes to do different tasks. That will help you budget your time.
  • Learn some money management and retail skills. Find out how to create a budget and stick to it. If you don’t have much experience handling money on your own, it’s easy to overspend (pizza!) and then not have enough money for the things you really need (textbooks!).
  • Make sure you understand your learning and attention issues. If you have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), be sure to participate in IEP meetings and transition planning. This can help you clearly understand difficulties and how they may affect you now and in the future.
  • Cultivate your talents. What are your strengths? Identifying your strengths and talents can give you direction in college. Take advantage of opportunities to gain skills and knowledge in areas that interest you.
  • Work on developing self-advocacy skills. Practicing self-advocacy skills now can prepare you to explain what you need to succeed in college.
  • Get familiar with the college campus. Visit the campus and practice getting around. Time how long to takes to walk from the dorm to classrooms. Look at a map of the campus and learn the names of some of the buildings. If you have a documented disability, make sure you know where the disability service office is.

Reprinted courtesy of Understood.org © 2014 Understood, LLC. All rights reserved.

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.