College: Ready, or Really Ready?

What your students need to know before they go…

ntrautmannBy Nancy Trautman, M.A.T., Reading and Educational Specialist

Almost launched.  For students with reading disorders and attention challenges, the whole long process of school is one enormous struggle, often supported by a succession of tutors, special educators, and parents.  These students might feel as though they are in the back seat, but college presents them with the challenge of being in the front seat and in charge for what might be the first time.   While this challenge isn’t unique to students who have received support at school or at home, students with learning differences are more likely to be at-risk when they arrive on their college campus.

Here’s some advice we’ve heard from students who have been there:

  1. 15450498811_a4034af487_kUse a planner. It can be a little black book, a Google calendar, a smartphone, or a spiral notebook, but whatever you adopt, use it for anything that you need to keep track of.  It will give you more control over your time, free your mind from worry, and in general improve your quality of life.
  1. Find out where the resources are. Know where the writing center is, and when they are open.  Get to know someone there who seems like a good fit for you so that when it’s time to write that long term paper, you are ready.
  1. Triage your assignments. This is also called prioritizing!  Look over your syllabus carefully, and identify the most important readings or assignments.  Do these first.
  1. Stay healthy! Don’t become a freshman lump or gain that dreaded freshman 15. Staying active is a critical part of your mental health and it will help you keep all the other stuff (organization, motivation, interest level) on track.
  1. Reach out for assistance. Most of all, don’t hesitate to reach out to your network of support people who helped you get there. Just because they (and we!) aren’t there with you, doesn’t mean they’ve fallen away entirely. It is good to push yourself to be independent and take on challenges by yourself. But keep in mind that you are not alone.


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