Home » ADHD » Successfully Starting the College Semester When You Have ADHD

Successfully Starting the College Semester When You Have ADHD

Successfully Starting the College Semester When You Have ADHDThe first week of a new school year is exciting and busy: moving in, adjusting to a new schedule, and making new friends or connecting with old.

Even the start of the second semester has its excitement with a new schedule, new classes, and new expectations.

In the midst of it all, it’s important to make sure you are ready to get off to a solid start academically.

If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), here are some tips in four key areas to help you get ready, get set, and go into a great semester!

1. Academic accommodations.

If you are asking for accommodations of any sort, before school starts make sure to send the disability services office (or student services, the name varies among institutions) any materials they request. They will need time to review this to make their determinations.

Early the first week of classes, stop by the disability services or student services office to pick up accommodation letters to take to your professors. At some schools, you may need to schedule a meeting to do so. Deliver all the letters the first week!

2. Schedule.

Before, or in the first week of classes, sit down and put your class schedule in your calendar or planner. Set alarms if needed to remind yourself to get to class. If it helps, schedule in room cleaning and laundry times for yourself.

3. Syllabi.

The first week, spend half an hour each evening with one or another syllabus, putting due dates for homework or papers, projects, and exams into your calendar or planner. Make sure to do this for all your classes.

At the same time, working backward from each major assignment or test, enter an earlier start date for writing or studying, as a reminder that can help you avoid a last-minute crunch.

During the first weekend of the semester, take a few minutes to look closely at midterm and finals times in your calendar or planner. It’s common to have multiple due dates or tests around those times. Think ahead about how you might spread out any studying, papers, etc. to limit feeling overwhelmed. Make notes in your calendar or planner indicating what you decide about scheduling your study times during those periods.

4. Books and other materials.

Whether you plan to buy books in the school’s bookstore, order them online, or rent them, it’s best to do this before the semester starts, or, at the latest, the first week of classes. That way, you won’t start out behind!

Consider how you want to keep track of your notes and any handouts or other materials for each class: Notebooks? Folders? Accordion file? Then, purchase these and any other supplies you may need (a calculator, for example) before or during the first week of class.

With these four items attended to, you should be off to a strong start this semester!

Successfully Starting the College Semester When You Have ADHD

Elizabeth Ahmann, ScD, RN, ACC

Dr. Ahmann is an ADHD Coach specializing in work with students, parents, and women. Her blog, titled ADHD and Life Coaching is at For more information about her practice, see her website at She is available for a free introductory consultation in person or by phone or Skype.

2 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment
APA Reference
Ahmann, E. (2018). Successfully Starting the College Semester When You Have ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 12 Aug 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.