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Monday, August 26, 2013

The Ups and Downs of the College Application Process

From Smart Kids with LD

By Wyatt G. King
August 20, 2013

Five years ago it didn’t look as if I would make it through high school, let alone get into a major university. But here I am, a recent high-school grad with ADHD heading to Indiana University this fall.

The college application process was one of the most frustrating, yet rewarding experiences of my life. It was a process that had so many moving parts and required constant thought and attention—not strong suits for people with ADHD.

Managing the deadlines and schedules was so challenging that at times I became overwhelmed by the amount of work and effort that went into it.

During that time I would have to remind myself to control my impulsivity. I knew I had to be focused, get everything done, and not choose the first school that accepted me. I had to remind myself constantly that I would have options—and I did! I was accepted to all but one school that I applied to.

Coaching Is Key

I work well when I have a lot to do and am forced to create a plan to accomplish all the tasks at hand. I had five or six essays to write, all on different topics, all due around the same time. It was crucial to devise a plan, overcome my natural inclination to procrastinate, and to complete my tasks punctually. These were skills I learned from executive-functions coaching. Without that coaching I think this story might have had a different ending.

Executive-functions coaching taught me numerous ways to manage time effectively and limit procrastination. Without the ability to draw on what I learned from coaching (and lean on my coach himself), I wouldn’t have made it through the process successfully.

I could’ve ended up in many different places, but because of learning to control my impulsivity I found the perfect school for me. The old saying, “Patience is a virtue” really rings true in my case.

Learning different ways to plan and control my impulsivity undoubtedly led to my success throughout the process. Through coaching I learned to create time sheets to balance work and free time and to effectively plan out my day. I also learned that working while on a medicine ball helped with my impulsivity because it kept me moving around and entertained while working.

Finally came the day I got my IU acceptance letter. I was standing in line at Starbucks with a friend when I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I looked down and saw it was an e-mail from Indiana. I hesitantly opened it and glanced at the first line. “Welcome to the Indiana University class of 2017.”

At that moment I realized that I’m no different than any other student. I may have ADHD… but I was accepted.

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