Advice for low-GPA gifted kid with ADHD

My son has taken challenging courses at a very competitive HS in the Bay Area and gotten B’s and C’s and some pass/fails due to COVID. 2.8 GPA, not exactly on the upward swing but hard to say with COVID and his classes being all online. He is a super creative and different kid who writes music and poetry, involved in theater, teaches himself extinct languages on his own, works at a job and really struggles with assignments.

1250 SAT, a 3 and a 4 on 2 AP tests. He wants to study linguistics or some kind of global studies. Any suggestions for him in CA, OR, or elsewhere in the West? Our budget is $30-40k annually. We are applying to places like University of Portland and some CSU’s but I’m not sure those are great fits. Ideally he’d be in a small private for odd liberal arts kids but not really in the budget unless there are loans. Thanks!!

Does he have neuropsych eval with accommodations provided by high school? If not, could consider seeking for college.
Or hire coach for executive function/time management.

I would look into schools that have good support/accessibility services. Don’t know any in the area however. Maybe your GC would know? At one point I remember seeing a list of schools on a website, but I don’t remember where. I do remember Syracuse and Auburn being on the list and thinking there was a good range of schools, small and large, throughout the country.

Look into Lewis&Clark?
Antioch would likely interest him. Hampshire.
Beloit, Goucher (both more traditional than Antioch or Hampshire but quirky and good for “global studies”) would be of interest.
None on the West Coast.

In terms of CSUs, look into Sonoma State and Humboldt (residential,Humboldt may be “quirky”).
SOU is likely within budget and a good fit.

I’m in the Southeast so not as familiar with small colleges out west, but you might like to check out the Parents of the HS Class of 2022- 3.0-3.4 thread. There are lots of recommendations there for schools that are more supportive and less selective.

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i agree. Sonoma, Humboldt and Southern Oregon are worth investigation.

Ft Lewis in Durango Co is a public LAC that is probably accessible to him. They participate in WUE so its probaly well within your budget. About 4k students, has a private school feel with no huge lecture halls and a really supportive, accessible profs and laid back environment. My son is about to graduate and has LOVED his time there. It is a strikingly beautiful place, you won’t regret a visit.


I just sent you a private message. Look for the green circle by the blue E circle in the upper right hand corner of your screen.

Your son sounds like the stereotypical language nerd. Strong on language, weak on executive functioning. For linguistics, you have two of the best schools in the country in-state for you:: UCLA and UC Berkeley. Problem is, he cannot get into either of them now (or frankly, into any other school with decent linguistics). But he can start at community college and transfer into them, if you can find a community college that has linguisitcs and that has a transfer agreement with UCLA or UC Berkeley. But you also have other Cal public colleges with Linguistics.

Looks like you have linguistics at Fresno and Long Beach, also at San Diego State, San Francisco State, San Jose State, Sonoma State, UC Davis, Irvine, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz.

Don’t worry about sending him to a huge school if what he wants is linguistics. Ling departments are so small and intimate that he will have a small place to be, within the larger school. He won’t get lost in the Ling dep’t anywhere. And from what you describe, he’ll probably become a superstar there, wherever he winds up.

He should choose an accompanying language specialty that will quickly lead to great employment opportunities. See the private message I sent you.

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Some other ideas: Wilamette, Laverne, Redlands, and Whittier. Expensive schools at face value but there may be some merit (with that test score) and/or financial aid if you qualify.