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Help? 17 y/o with ADHD afraid of not getting into college? Any help is greatly appreciated.

I'm Olivia. I have never been great at school. But I will hand it to myself, I am intelligent, but I didn't understand why I always got extremely low grades. I took hard classes, too, because I believed I could handle them. Freshman year I didn't do that well, maybe one or two B's, C's and one D? Sophomore year I did worse, all C's, one or two D's, and I even brisked an F. My school is split in 4 quarters each year. This year, first quarter I received C's and B's maybe, second quarter, as we got deeper into the material, I plummeted. My report card came out and I had 4 F's. Mind you, I take 4 honors classes and 2 AP's. Still though, I was failing these classes.

It wasn't that I didn't understand the material. I would be in class, and leave an hour later, not thinking "I don't understand what I just learned", but I would be thinking "WHAT did I just learn". It wasn't a matter of not understanding things, they just went right over my head. I tried to take notes, but I would read them back and not understand them. I had a planner for homework, but I would forget to write in it. When I got home I had to think back to class to remember my homework, and would usually get it wrong, simply because my memory was terrible or because it went through one ear and out the other.

Someone at work mentioned to me, as I was playing with sticky notes, that it often seemed I had ADHD. I, of course, believed it to be absurd, until I looked up the symptoms. After a couple of weeks I brought up the possibility to my parents, they agreed to look into it and I got a doctor's appointment. After the appointment I was diagnosed and given an Adderall prescription of 10mg every morning before school.

I began taking my Adderall at the beginning of the third term. We are now half way through the term and my lowest grade, in an AP, is an 80. My reaction to the medication was certainly impressive and helpful. I am happy I turned my grades around, but I still fear for myself.

I want to be an Emergency Physician. To do so, I want to go to a good college with a four year pre-med program, and later medical school for four years. But my first 2 1/2 years of high school were absolutely awful. What do I do? Should I tell colleges of my ADHD? But, I also fear that colleges will see my disorder as an excuse and will brush it off, will they? Again, my grades have drastically improved, I have all A's and B's. But how will a college know my story? ADHD isn't my excuse, but it is my explanation. I, obviously, still have it but I was given the correct treatment and I am an honor roll student now. But, I also fear I may get accepted because of my improvements, but not given enough money in scholarships. I don't have a lot of money but I do need it for 8 years of schooling.

So, if you have any advice for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for reading.

Replies to: Help? 17 y/o with ADHD afraid of not getting into college? Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • yankeeinGAyankeeinGA Registered User Posts: 228 Junior Member
    @Dustyfeathers has great advice. The thing to focus on is that now you know and now you have a clear path forward. Do your best for the remainder of high school. Assume that whatever college option you choose (community college or lower-tier 4-year school) is one where you'll continue your upward trend, and then you can potentially transfer to a school more befitting your new progress. Colleges actually love a triumph story when someone can show that they've found a way to be more successful. You have time and lots of options. Keep working hard and have hope!
  • cussiacussia Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    I agree with the previous advice, and also want to say that you have a medical problem, colleges are more evolved than they used to be, and will consider those factors, when you apply, if you let them know. Normally there is a spot in your application, where you can add additional notes, that the reviewer should know about you. Don't get discouraged, community college, gap years, and volunteering time, might be a great option for you, as well.
  • collegedad7collegedad7 Registered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    Keep going! I would argue that your path provides a depth of experience that makes you an interesting asset to a college.... there are lots of cookie cutter students out there. Your challenges give you some grit. That's a good thing.

    Virtually all colleges large and small now have offices specifically for working through accommodations for their students who need them. My son is at a liberal arts college that sets up accommodations between the student and-- get this-- the specific needs of each separate course he takes. Really helpful and no big deal.

    Mainly - find some colleges (smaller ones - the larger universities may not be as helpful) that you like. Just open up by phone or email to the admissions officer and see if you and they connect. Almost all of them are great people trying to help match kids and colleges. Don't have the first conversation with the college you are most interested in - have some practice conversations with schools that interest you less, first.

    Just ask them if they would take an application from you, or if they think a year of community college would be important first. Just be honest and see what they say. Don't hide your early grades - and don't hide how much batter you are doing now.

    Most kids don't realize that while you might be a number in a large university, there are fantastic schools out there that are smaller (one to five thousand students) and in these schools they want to know each applicant. Call them, talk to them.. they will want to talk to you. And if not? Then it's not a good fit and that's good to know.

    Also - take the SAT and ACT just as soon as you can. Don't send in scores to any college - just see what results you get. Plan on taking the test several times. Study hard for those tests (perhaps focus on either the ACT or SAT on which you get your best scores.) The point is that solid to high test scores will help tremendously, given your story.

    Hope some this helps. There are many really bright kids out there that hit the wall because of some learning issue. Sounds like you are finding a way forward. Keep going! It will be worth it.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 37,222 Senior Member
    edited March 2017
    Prepare for the sat and act. Register right now on Khan academy and start prepping. A good score will do wonders for your application.
    Try practice tests for both act and sat, figure out which one 'fits ' you best and go for it.
    Don't forget to apply for accommodation. It's a long process so start thinking about it.

    Take rigorous classes : 3-4 years of a foreign language, AP stats, AP human geography, all three from bio/chem/physics even at regular level, honors classes whenever you can especially in English, math through pre-calculus if you can. Show you can handle a strong schedule now that your disability is being treated and medication has leveled the playing field.

    Look for schools with holistic admissions and graduation rates of 50+%.

    You may have to apply away from home in order to increase your odds. Instate public universities + oos small, private colleges will likely
    Run the NPC on a few colleges listed below as well as the public university closest to home and your state flagship's. Bring the results to your parents and discuss what is affordable.

    Look for small colleges that provide a lot of individual attention (Hendrix, Goucher, Susquehanna, Lewis and Clark, Concordia Moorhead, Eckerd, Milsaps...) as well as larger 4-year schools with good Disability Service offerings.
    What state do you live in? Depending on the state, your path may include cc, but look into state allocations and budget cuts, as community colleges and directionals are often the first impacted.

    Do you know what your current GPA is, weighted and/or unweighted?
  • livreads22livreads22 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Thank you everyone for your replies. You helped me adjust myself to the right track and feel more confident. :D
  • Helen13Helen13 Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    When you are looking at m- ed schools, don't discount osteopathic schools (these grant the D.O. rather than the M.D.P Lots of them are really non-trad friendly.

    And yes, there are plenty of ADD doctors (probably more ADD lawyers, though.)

    Check out Edward Hallowell MD - "Driven to Distraction".
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 1,201 Senior Member
    If OP is on a positive trajectory now, by all means stay on it and continue your education at CC before transferring to a 4 year university. While I understand the good thoughts behind the "Take your time" approach, for women in particular a delay in education more frequently leads to a different path than originally intended as other responsibilities can intrude. You didn't mention if you get extended time but if you do you need to check the latest rules on that for the MCAT. At one point it was disallowed due to the time sensitive nature of providing medical services. I don't know the current status
  • megan12megan12 Registered User Posts: 762 Member
    Am I the only one that is concerned that the OP went to the doctor, got a diagnosis, and was handed a prescription without testing or IEPs/504's? She may have better focus, but what about all the other skills that are lacking due to the ADHD? I'm also wondering why the school and her parents allowed her to continue in honors and AP classes with those grades for so long? There was clearly something not right, and they all dropped the ball. It never should have gone on this long. What a disservice to this poor girl.
  • GraniteLandGraniteLand Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    Check out Landmark College in Putney, VT. It is geared for students with LD and ADHD. Great school, great support. 2 and 4 yr programs available. https://www.landmark.edu
  • zannahzannah Registered User Posts: 1,021 Senior Member
    Students with ADHD attend frequently attend postsecondary education from undergraduate to graduate school, including law or medical school. It is illegal to deny to admission to students solely on the basis of disability. Those students and you, must meet all admissions requirements. Therefore, you should only to schools for which you are qualified. Second, never disclose disability while the admision decision has not been made.

    While you are in high school, think about what specific academic problems you can attribute to ADHD and request accommodations for those problems at school. A record of accommodations is helpful in obtaining accommodations on college entrance exams.

    I see ADHD was diagnosed by a,doctor and medication was prescribed. Please look at the ACT or SAT websites to find out what kind of information is required, called documentation, to obtain accommodations on admissions tests. That same information will be required by college disability services to receive accommodations there.

    ADHD requires extensive thinking on your part to identify specific, practical problems on learning or behavior, called functional limitations, due to ADHD. Think about how those problems could be helped by accommodations.

    You can attend colleges without disclosing disability and requesting accommodations. While in high schol, you must recognize how you learn best and what causes difficulty. Ultimately, it is you that attends and succeeds in college, irrespective of the impact of ADHD on your learning and performance.
  • vwlizardvwlizard Registered User Posts: 213 Junior Member
    Would it be possible for you to do a PG (Post Graduate) year at a boarding school with an academic support program,? This would allow you to boost your grades, prepare for the SATs and do some more advanced coursework to show that you are ready for a competitive college. The other great thing about academic support programs is they really teach you how you learn best and how to advocate for yourself.
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