How to Ensure College Success

ADD ADHD structure teacher parentCollege Savings Going Down the Drain?

Tired of nagging your college student throughout the semester and then having your worst fears realized when grades come out?

Have that pit-in-your-stomach feel when you read the academic probation letter?

Staying awake at night worried about what happens to all those years of careful college savings if your student drops out, or worse, flunks out?

You’re not alone.

25% of college students won’t return to school after their freshman year.  Even scarier, 46% of college students today will not graduate in six years, according to The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.  Not exactly the picture most of us are planning as we set aside funds each month for the college savings account.

As parents, we worry about the money invested in a student’s education, sure.  But even more worrisome is the picture we’re forced to consider if our student is struggling (and failing) to meet the academic and social challenges at college.

While colleges and universities are making strides in increasing retention rates and offering support for special needs students, the honest truth is that, for most at-risk students, the efforts just aren’t enough to make a difference in their success toward graduation.

What happens to the college drop outs?

If your student fails after four or six years of struggling at college, what will his/her future look like?

At The Being Well Center, we’ve helped guide students from an uncertain future to a self-assured, confident success.  We’ve seen a pronounced increase in college students seeking personalized success plans for navigating the challenges of higher education.  These are students who want to picture a cap and gown in their future.  These are parents who want to protect their financial and familial investments.  These are families who are admitting they can’t face one more battle over getting to class on time or turning in term papers or failing tests or making poor decisions to party away the week.

81% of students enrolled in the Being Well Center’s Confidence@College program are on track to graduate; many in four years rather than six, which has now become the norm.  The confidence boost in these student’s lives has been marked.  The relaxed smiles on parents during consultation sessions say it all: college success can be achievable for ADD and ADHD students, as well as, those with learning, language or emotional differences.

But many times, success needs a partner.  A partner that can teach self-advocacy skills and be there to catch your student when a stumble happens.  A partner to be by your side as you cheer from the stands on graduation day.  The Being Well Center has designed Confidence@College to be that good roommate in your student’s college life.

The Whole You for College Success | The Being Well CenterWhat Works for College Success: We get to know the Whole Person first.

In our Confidence@College program, we always start by looking at The Whole Person first.  We accomplish this by surveying the individual’s TRANSACT Profile either through a screening tool or more extensive questionnaire.  TRANSACT is an acronym we use to summarize the key factors within the individual and his/her environment that interact with each to lead to success or failure.

This is the first in a series of 8 blogs that are presented to illustrate how unique aspects of a student’s TRANSACT Profile can serve as barriers to success at college.  We have selected one example for each of the TRANSACT factors.  We have tried to pick examples that might not be obvious at first blush but help illustrate the importance of systematically looking at The Whole Person when trying to identify at-risk students or figuring out why things went wrong.  Our screeners and questionnaires take a comprehensive look at all the possible contributors for each TRANSACT factor.

Get started with our first screener today.  We’re sharing our clinical questionnaire, “Am I Ready for College.”  It’s free to download, so don’t waste another minute!  Share it with all your friends–our questionnaire can help anyone.  Call us today to find out more about how Confidence@College can help you: 724.443.4120

 

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NEUROMATURATION – ADHD and the Secrets of the “Freshman 15”

We’ve all heard about them… the dreaded “freshman 15!”   Good old dorm food where the only choices that taste good to you seem to be those with high fat and carbohydrate content.  A huge stash of of high calorie snacks only an arm’s reach away in your dorm room.  Late night delivery pizza or runs to the sub shop with your new found friends.  Beer!

It all adds up pretty quickly and many a parent has been shocked at semester break to see that their kid’s cheeks are a little bit fuller and their jeans a bit tighter.

c@c_whole_you_blog_neuromaturation

While most students face the challenge of avoiding the “freshman 15”, the task can be particularly daunting for the college student with ADHD.  They struggle to get up and out of bed in the morning, often at the last minute, skipping breakfast and making it to class just in the nick of time.  Lunch can also be a catch as catch can experience…something always gets in the way… too little time between classes, last minute cramming for a test, frisbee with friends, flirting with that cute guy from English class.  The brain interprets these  day long fasts as starvation and in response it slows down the metabolic rate so that even if they eat the normal number of calories for dinner (which rarely happens) all the extra calories are sent to the fat cells to prepare for starvation again tomorrow.  This is how eating less can actually contribute to weight gain!

ADHD individuals notoriously make poor food choices, eat impulsively and fail to exert portion control, and choose high calorie drinks when they are thirsty.  These unhealthy eating habits are even more likely to occur when Mom is no longer around to set limits and nag!  These concerns are magnified when the student moves out of the dorm and into an apartment.  Many don’t have much of an idea of how to prepare healthy meals so they don’t go grocery shopping with a meal plan in mind and instead rely on prepared food or frozen dinners that are often calorically dense!

Despite the best intentions, it’s hard to get to the fitness center for a workout and structured sports are gone for most.  Some colleges still mandate a physical education course or two for graduation but many don’t.  Free time is usually spent hanging out with friends playing video games and eating chips.

As the stresses mount during the semester,  many ADHD students turn to food as a self medicating coping strategy to either enhance their focus or to reduce their anxiety or depression.  One candy bar may do the trick for 20 minutes but then there is the crash and a need to “dose up” again!

This is all laid on a backdrop of an increasing awareness we have that ADHD is a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic.  While it may seem counterintuitive, we now know that “hyperactive” kids are at high risk for being overweight as adults.  Studies have shown that more than 40% of adults participating in weight management clinics have unrecognized or untreated ADHD!  In our experience, leaving home and heading off to college is the first step down the road to a lifetime struggle weight management.

For many, the slow steady progression toward obesity and all its challenges and risks begins with the “freshmen 15″…we all know that once it’s on it’s really hard to get off!

It doesn’t have to be this way…with a comprehensive success plan including a structured schedule for study time, a healthy daily routine for eating, exercise, sleep, and relaxation, targeted accommodations, and compliance with a proper medication regimen along with ongoing support from an experienced professional, ADHD students can experience success in the classroom AND in the other spheres of life!

Confidence@College means taking advantage of enriching experiences and relationships in order to acquire the tools, skills, and the habits to succeed at work, at home, and in health for a lifetime.  Call us today and set up a Discovery session so we can begin helping your child chart a personalized course for life success!

P.S.  If you’re not a college student but a parent with ADHD (or who thinks you may be) who can relate to these issues and struggles with weight management, there is help for you, too.  Contact the Being Well Center and ask about getting involved with our TRANSforming U Program.  Let us help you become a healthier U!