West Coast college rec. for ADD teen?

Looking for college/univ. recommendations for our HS junior.  Recently Dx with ADD, she doesn't want to talk about college; the whole idea is overwhelming and she's worried about failure.  Doesn't like high school, except for the social part; not sure what she wants to study, or do with her life.  But is an excellent self-advocate, very verbal, good writing skills, gets mostly good grades.  Has held PT jobs, and done very well.  We know she has great potential, and is, in many ways, a perfect candidate for college life; we just need her to see it.  Wants to live in a diverse community (not rural) on northern West Coast; Bay Area or north.  Needs resources on campus -- help with organization, schedules, counseling, executive functioning.  Public school a plus, but willing to go private if it's the perfect fit where she can thrive.  Any recommendations or suggestions welcome.  Thanks.

Parent Replies

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There's plenty of info out there about colleges for kids with ADHD/ADD.  Check ADDitude or Understood.org.  Or the Parents Education Network website.  

Wow. That's sounds almost exactly like me. The fear of failure was so paralyzingly that I ended up doing a JC (took the SAT and application pressure off) and transferred to UCLA.   I was always a great worker and got excellent grades b/c excelling in school was just another job, but did terribly at standardized tests. At the end of the day, the only thing that mattered is where I graduated FROM. My work ethic has taken me far. At the same time, not going to a reputable 4-year University out of high school was a big blow to my ego after having worked so hard to get good grades. In retrospect, I might have hired a strong personal tutor for the SAT instead if one of those generic courses and applied to universities of choice. Even if just to see if I could get in!  A JC is always a good back-up option and many have programs affiliated with UC's. Good luck!

Consider CSU Channel Islands. It's a small school, they accept >70% of applicants, seem to have good resources for kids with special educational needs.

My son sounds similar and has struggled with ADD and slow information processing,  There ed services have been very helpful.   He also hated high school and traditional academics and has loved Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington.  It is a WUE school so we did get a $3000 fee reduction each year.  Classes are small and there are only narrative evaluations.  He most often has had papers and final projects, not much standard testing.  Classes are integrated so there is only one class to manage, even though there are three subjects. 

My son is a senior and recently told me that he wished that he'd taken a gap year or even two.  He felt like he wasn't really engaged in his studies until late sophomore/early junior year. This quarter, he is doing an independent study and internship.  Feel free to contact me if you have more questions,

Great news! I had a fabulous experience at Community College and met quite a few high school students taking community college courses while still in high school. In high school, I was able to take a couple college courses that helped me meet high school requirements. At Berkeley Public Library we had a community college representative from Peralta colleges come to speak at the library in fall 2016 and she spoke about a lot of opportunities available through community colleges both for high school students and college level students. We are hoping to host another program soon about community colleges on a related topic, so check our calendar. 

Community College gave me the opportunity to figure out what worked best for me and a chance to learn about a lot of support options through Disabled Students (which is really a fabulous program), I qualified for EOPS as a first generation college student with low income, and overall, the community college I attended made sure I had access to anything and everything I qualified for. This made a big difference for me. What I discovered through trial and error was that I did best if I attended college part time while working part time. I excelled at that schedule, all the way through to getting my BA and Master's degree with high gpa's. I also didn't think much of high school overall and like many teens, wasnt sure about college.  I discovered that I really enjoyed college and did even better academically in college once I discovered how much I liked the academic challenge and environment. It was so much better than high school and I learned a lot about myself and what I wanted to do.  I am grateful I had so much support and I learned about so many opportunities which helped my transition to a four year college (UC Berkeley) because I knew where to go to get help and accommodations. Four year colleges have the same sorts of programs and community colleges help you with that transition very well. 

I have encouraged a lot of teens who don't enjoy high school to keep their minds open for college, which has so much more flexibility. By taking your general education requirement courses, you can discover what you do enjoy and take classes in what you are interested in for your major. My husband, also, attended community college where he, like me, discovered his interests were very different than his first academic plan and it helped him figure out where he wanted to study, all while being considerably more affordable and meeting the same rigorous academic requirements of four year colleges. 

I'm happy to discuss my experience with you or your daughter. 

Your daughter sounds exactly like mine!  I don't have specific school recommendations as my daughter is only considering art schools and digital design/film schools.  However, I do highly recommend our Educational Therapist, Amy Cheifetz.  She opened our eyes to gap year programs and the very real possibility of going to colleges that make my daughter happy, where she fits in, etc (was hard to see that before).  She'd be a great resource in finding the right place for your daughter.  Amy's contact info: (510) 207-2995. Good luck!