Any future for an academically dismissed ds?

<p>Well, it happened; from bad to slightly better to rock bottom; the grades that is. DS was just dismissed from top engineering school. Mid semester he saw it coming; figured out that the major was not the right fit, but too late to do anything. He hates the party scene but tends to be lazy and procrastinates with a capital P. </p>

<p>I have seen it posted before; excellent HS student, superb SAT's etc. So what went wrong?
I know every child is different, but what is the general path to success after a major "failure" like this? The option to go back eventually is there (after review by school) Guess I am wondering the best course of action to build self esteem, get back on track academically and not waste this time away from school. </p>

<p>Am curious too about many who have mentioned testing for ADD or ADHD. It was suggested that he be tested in 3rd grade; I didn't agree and we never followed through; now I wonder?
Would appreciate ANY "been there done that" encouragement.</p>

<p>There is life after being academically dismissed. DH had his relationship with his top college "severed" after flunking out twice. He subsequently got a full time job which he did for 7 a different field. After we got married, he returned to college and got his degree. He has had a successful career in his field despite having flunked out of college twice.</p>

<p>Some students, regardless of how smart, are just not ready for college as 18 year olds. My husband was one of those. BUT eventually he did return with success. We always say he got his bachelor's on the 12 year plan.</p>

<p>He needs to figure out what caused him to flunk: was it laziness and procrastination? or was the major a bad fit? Engineering is supposed to be a tough major so procrastinators are bound not to do well. But it could be that no matter how hard he tried, engineering would still not be a good fit. If that is so, he should reconsider what he wants to study. Was there any subject in college that he really liked or would have liked to take classes in if it were not for the engineering courses? Many students arrive in college with inaccurate ideas of their likes and dislikes or their strengths and weaknesses. Many a pre-med has discovered anthropology, English, history, etc... in college.</p>

<p>If, however, the bad record is due to procrastination, then a totally different course of action is warranted. Ditto if it turns out that he has ADHD or ADD.</p>

<p>I suggest he get a normal fulltime job, not as a punishment of any kind, but just to live like an adult.</p>

<p>I also suggest he get the ADHD testing and find out how he is wired. His college experience makes him sound like a person who could have ADHD.</p>

<p>I went back through your old posts and it seems that he took 17 or 18 credits his first semester. That's a pretty tough load for engineering. Did he cut back to something like twelve to fifteen for sophomore year?</p>

<p>There are many posts here that are almost formulaic on succeeding in college but when a student is on the campus and has to take care of getting food, doing laundry, getting around from place to place, learning what the professor wants and how to deal with the social scene; it can be overwhelming or difficult to follow advice that frequently works. He's had three semesters now (my assumption) so he should have picked up on what works and what doesn't work and should be able to make some kind of assessment. You can talk with him to try to find out what didn't work though it might be hard to get it out of him. When kids don't do so well, they sometimes clam up.</p>

<p>The best thing for self-esteem is success, even if the successes are small. Perhaps he could enroll at a local community college or state university and take some easier courses that would fulfill core requirements at his school (you need to see if his school will transfer the credits). These courses should be somewhat easier than the engineering courses.</p>

<p>Was he taking more than three STEM courses at a time? In general, a good mix is three STEM and two other courses that will be less work. My son once signed up for four STEM courses and his adviser strongly recommended that he take three and two arts/humanities/social science/diversity/ethics courses instead. This turned out to be very good advice as he was stressed with three courses.</p>

<p>The forums on majors here are generally pretty good but I think that it would be better if he asked as he could talk about his feelings, interests and experiences more directly.</p>

<p>If he has a procrastination problem (possibly a consequence of ADD or ADHD), then one solution might be having him attend a local college while helping him on the time management stuff. There are lots of electronic tools available to help the disorganized or procrastinators. They at least remind you of work that you need to take care of. Having him at home would mean that you could help him with organization. It often is just a matter of recording incoming assignments and when they are do along with an estimate of the time required to do the work. Some students and adults just need to walk through this sort of thing for a while to get the hang of doing it on their own.</p>

<p>Honestly, if he still wants to go into engineering, he can probably complete it at an easier school. I have issues with relegating him to the liberal arts because he just couldn't cut it at some top engineering school. There are plenty of working engineers who couldn't get into MIT or CalTech or any of a number of programs... and have successful and enjoyable careers. </p>

<p>If, however, he no longer enjoys engineering, then maybe he needs to decide what career he enjoys, regroup and then re-apply. It may take a year or two but, by then, he may know whether he wants to return to the top school or try a different college.</p>

<p>Your son may come to the conclusion that he may never want to return this school but it would still be a good idea at this point to make sure he (or you) are clear about what he can do and take should he want to request re-entry. The fact that the school has left the door open is a wonderful opportunity that your son can take or not take. For now he may just need a break. I do agree that getting a job might be a good idea. It will give him routine to the days at the very least. You also need to check on what happens to his insurance (if you have been carrying him) and make decisions about how much you will support even if it's only a discussion with your spouse (if there is one.) If I were in your shoes I would also have him tested for ADHD. He might be someone who would benefit from treatment if in fact he does have ADHD. My friends went through this with their oldest. Graduted high school top of the class, high test scores, awards up the wazoo. Their son failed out of a top ranked very difficult and unique engineering program and the parents got him back "in" and he was asked to leave permanently after the first semester back. He did not stay "at home" and left to take a job. He worked for several years and enrolled at a local university to his home paying his own tuition as his parents refused to pay for this "try". He graduated magna cum laude two years ago with an entirely different degree than engineering much to his parents joy. I've known him since he was alittle boy and I was proud as heck how he worked it out for himself. To a certain extent you will need to take your cues from your son at this point regarding the future. What's important to him in the next year might not be what you envisioned but it might be what he needs to do for himself. What he does in the years to come could be just about anything but engineering or it could be engineering. Your son will eventually figure that out, too. By the way I think his total credit hours seem quite heavy for most students and engineering is a tough track in and of itself. My son went off to college and not in engineering and went for 17 credit hours and his grades were mediocre and he struggled mightily. He's settled in at 15 and getting great grades. 17 credit hours is alot of proverbial balls to juggle for many, many kids. Your son may need to "find his pace" especially if he ultimately stays in engineering. Most kids figure that out after the freshman fall, but the kids that were top performers in high school sometimes aren't "used" to feeling like they need to drop back or throttle back alittle.</p>

<p>It is very possible that engineering was just not the right major for him. It is extemely demanding and so many kids go into it because they performed so well in math and science in highschool that they think it is a logical choice. </p>

<p>You did mention that he is a procrastinator and of course that sends up the red flag. I would from my own experience with my daughter, have him tested. Does your son believe he has ADD/ADHD? My daughter was also suspected of having ADD since early elementary school but she only tried medication for a two week period because it was keeping her up at night. She really presented once she got to college and although she did not blow it first semester she was on a downward trend by second semester. We did pull her out of school and I thank God we did.</p>

<p>Your son sounds similar to my daughter and I would really suggest having him tested. It is worth it all the way around. He must be feeling so bad right now and my heart goes out to you and your son. You may also suggest that he speak to a therapist because he may also be situationally depressed right now. </p>

<p>As far as going forward, Did the school say that they would take him back once he is ready to return or was it a dismissal with no consideration for return?
Are his grades so poor that transfer would be difficult? Could he attend the state University and would he want to?</p>

<p>It is so hard to see our children fail but the failure is such a learning experience and with your love and support he will work through this. My daughter is making strides not to say that everything is always smooth but it is a vast improvement in where she was just a few short months ago. I am sure you will be able to say the same thing about your son.
I also think you want to encourage him to not be the kid on the couch so either take some courses at the CC or get a job or do both. He needs to have time to think through the past year and take ownership for the aspects of it that was in his control.
I will be thinking about your you and your son.</p>

<p>Adult ADD also often presents as depression--just something to be aware of. I look at it this way--kids want to succeed so if they are not the question becomes WHY?. A typical sign of ADD is that the student does the work but never turns it in. ADD students also often works better with a deadline and a bit of pressure. They work best with music or TV in the background. Just some things to look at. Hope eveything falls into place.</p>

<p>The ADD/ADHD thing could certainly be an issue here. Either one can cause procrastination issues and perfectionism issues (not bothering to do something if there is a concern that it won't be done perfectly.)</p>

<p>We are in the midst of something similar with DD1. She went to a big ten school which she found very impersonal and unhelpful when she began to struggle. She realized that the pre-professional route would be too difficult, more time consuming than she wanted. She has been home for over a year going to community college while she re-evaluated her life plan. I insisted she continue with her schooling. I felt she would do well at community college and it would help her get her confidence back. She now has a new plan and we will hear any day if she has been accepted at the 4 year college has hopes to transfer to beginning next semester.</p>

<p>If your son liked his school but needs to change majors, the best thing might be to return there after a hiatus. I know of two kids who went through this. One liked the school but didn't do the work and was asked to take time off to reevaluate. She went to hometown community college for one semester and then applied for readmit over the summer. That let her ease back in. She's proud that she went back to fix her mistake and her school welcomed her back with her good community college grades. It seemed easier for her to slip back to that school than reapply to a new one with her spotted gpa. The readmit required that she had an extra layer of advising/oversight. It helped.</p>

<p>The other kid wanted a clean break, he was too humiliated to go back and reapplied elsewhere. He's happy at new school now but it was a longer, more traumatic process for him to get resettled.</p>

<p>RE: testing. Don't beat yourself up about it. We spent big bucks to confirm what we knew, our son is ADD. He and we didn't like the effects of the meds so the diagnosis didn't forward us along a path very much. He, like most ADD kids, has gotten better with time. I would recommend the easiest schedule possible. Our son does best with 4 courses, not 5 during a normal semester and 2 at a time in summer school. I love summer school: tuition is cheaper at son's school. ADD people do well in short, intense semesters. Small schools with are good for these kids. As a college junior, my son doesn't lose things or forget assignments like he once did, but he still underestimates how long the work takes and procrastinates terribly. His advisor told him not to schedule classes back to back: ADD kids need time between classes to do last-minute tasks (or run back to dorm to get books...)</p>

Am curious too about many who have mentioned testing for ADD or ADHD.


<p>It is never too late to be treated for ADD. I wasn't diagnosed until I was 30-something, and after being treated medically for it, I recognize that many of my previous problem were due to the disorder, not a character flaw or lack of motivation.</p>

<p>Two traits often go hand-in-hand with ADD: above-average intelligence and severe procrastination, particularly when confronted with some new challenge that one is not sure how to handle. For your son, college could be that challenge. I wonder if he breezed through high school primarily on his innate intelligence, but when placed in a situation that required strong time-management and prioritization skills, he felt overwhelmed. This is a VERY common occurrence among ADD sufferers, and a little treatment with a mild stimulant along with counseling to learn the necessary life skills are all that's necessary to clear it all up.</p>

<p>Does this describe your son at all?</p>

Adult ADD also often presents as depression


<p>It sure does. I can't tell you how angry I was about the years I wasted being treated for depression, when the problem was ADD all along.</p>

<p>Lots of good insight and encouragement here...thank you everyone!
To answer some of your questions.
First semester he did jump in over his head credit wise; made some strategic errors (should have dropped a tough time consuming upper level class) and just plain had the "deer in the headlight response".
Second semester was better, took a lighter load and we saw some hope, but he had lots to overcome in the grade department. PLUS, lost all scholarships so that financial burden was added.
Third semester, the first month his vehicle was broken into, (on campus-broad daylight) back pack stolen, which had laptop, books, homework in progress etc. It derailed him and he kinda gave up at that point. </p>

<p>Despite all that he still loves the school but hates the major. He can apply for re-admit after sitting out and wants to with a change in major, to what everbody has said all along is so totally him. </p>

<p>Yes he has some character/growing up issues to address and probably the ADD issue-some of your descriptions have me saying "bingo" . (How can many times can you forget to take your calulator to math class!!!)He will have to work and continue classes at the local CC (a requirement for readmission). Some tough love called for. Not the road we had planned for but in the end I am sure it will all work out for the best!</p>

<p>Sorry to hear about your DS and wish him well. GT has a reputation of "weeding out" engineering students, so a less rigorous, more supportive school may be worth looking into.</p>

<p>How can many times can you forget to take your calulator to math class!!!)</p>

<p>One thing that people with ADD/ADHD need to learn is some compensation skills or tricks.</p>

<p>We had a similar issue in high school - forgetting the programmable calc. So, it was costly, but we bought 2. One stays in backpack for classes, one stays on desk for homework. it's better than flunking or getting a less than deserved grade.</p>

<p>Another trick is to keep a basket in a place where the cell phone charger is. When the student returns to his dorm and changes clothing, everything in the pocket goes into the basket. Then, when it's time to leave again, there's no searching thru yesterday's pants to find wallet, keys, cell phone, etc.</p>

How can many times can you forget to take your calulator to math class!!!


<p>How many times can you remember at 8:00 p.m. Sunday that a paper assigned four weeks ago is due at 8:00 a.m. Monday???</p>

<p>How can you fail to notice that your shirt is on inside out and backwards?</p>

<p>How many times do you expect me to drive one hour each way to bring you the [textbook/script/calculator/laptop/medication/etc.] that I reminded you ten times not to forget before we left home?</p>

<p>Take heart! This problem is a lot more common than you may have thought.</p>

<p>Greatest sympathies to the OP, and I think a mental health evaluation can be helpful, but with all due respect to my CC mates, I don't recommend taking what's said here and running too far with a provisional diagnosis.By this I mean I don't recommend calling and saying "do I have ADHD?"), but rather begin with a more open ended approach.</p>

<p>Also, while I hesitate to question anything here, I have to say I've only heard this one...</p>

<p>"Two traits often go hand-in-hand with ADD: above-average intelligence and severe procrastination,... "</p>

<p>at least with regard to above average intelligence, here on cc. I wonder why that would be. Perhaps I am not understanding what it means.</p>

<p>FWIW (not much), my son was "diagnosed with ADHD" at age 4, rushes but does not procrastinate like his above-average intelligence sister, but he is just of average intelligence (gasp!).</p>

<p>I'm glad you challenged that statement, Shrinkrap, because I actually don't know if it's true.</p>

<p>It is true that *undiagnosed<a href="or%20late-diagnosed">/I</a> ADD is correlated with above-average intelligence, for the simple reason that an ability to grasp concepts quickly and learn without focused study can mask the inability to focus attention for years. But at some point the complexity of the task overwhelms the ability to learn and perform without focus, and the underlying problem comes to light. I'm suggesting that perhaps that happened to the OP's son when we got to college. For my own son, it happened around 5th grade. For me, well into adulthood, when my job came to rely on my ability to plan and manage rather than simply perform tasks.</p>

<p>Also, I'm talking about attention-deficit disorder, inattentive type. I have no experience with hyperactive type (ADHD).</p>

<p>Georgia Tech is notorious for chewing up and spitting out fine young people. Have seen it happen in my own family. They do like to weed out...</p>