College Readiness and AD/HD: Self-Understanding

This post is one in a series examining several facets of college readiness. According to Landmark College (, important readiness factors include: academic skills, self-understanding, self-advocacy, executive function skills, including time management and organization, and motivation and confidence. This post is looking at the subject of self-understanding.

Understanding one’s self is a life-long maturing process. Yet, for success in college teens benefit from understanding their own learning strengths and weaknesses; their interests, though these may evolve; and how to balance their own academic, personal, and social time. To support readiness in this arena, consider the following goals:

1.Be able to describe one’s own learning strengths and weaknesses.

How do you learn best?
What kinds of teaching works well for you and what doesn’t?
What works well for you when you are studying on your own?
What have you tried?
What is difficult for you learning-wise?
For what do you need extra help or special strategies?

Not sure or haven’t thought about this before? Here are some websites that can help you explore how you learn best:

2.Read and understand one’s own psycho-educational testing results. Ideally, the tester will be available to explain the report to the teen and answer any questions. If not, try reading the report just a bit at a time.

What makes sense when you read it?
What is confusing?
What does the information in this report tell you about your strengths?
What are your diagnoses?
Take them one-by-one: how would you explain each of them to someone else?
If you are not sure or you need more information, where can you turn?
What does this report tell you about strategies to support your weaknesses?
How much of the report do you agree with?
How helpful do you find the report?

Tripping over some of the terminology in your report? One source that may be helpful in understanding some of the terms used in an educational report is the glossary at

3.Explore personal interests through assessments, extracurricular activities, summer jobs and internships.

What have you always been interested in? Who do you know who might be able to help you find volunteer work, an internship, or a summer job that might interest you.
What skills do you have? How can you put them to use, or develop them further? What activities, camps, volunteer or paid positions might use those skills?
What resources can be helpful for discovering your talents and how you might use them?

In terms of resources, school guidance counselors can be helpful in identifying personal and potential career interests. The following online assessments can also be useful:;jsessionid=323811041611951825

4.Practice finding a good balance between school, extracurricular, social, family, and personal time while in high school. Some questions to consider include:

How much rest do you need? How often and how much do you need to eat? How much down-time do you need?
What approaches to getting schoolwork done work well for you? How long does homework take you? How do plan time for it?
What activities give you the most satisfaction? How many activities can you be involved in without getting stressed?
How do you know when you are stressed and need to cut back? What de-stresses you?
What makes a good friendship for you? How many friends do you need?

Having trouble balancing your time? Who could you turn to for help? Does one of your parents have some strategies they can share in this area? Do you have a friend who might be good at balance who could give you some tips? A life or AD/HD coach can also be helpful as you consider how to find the balance that works for you.

If you are interested in working with a coach, I’d be happy to talk to you! Please check my website at or contact me at

Subsequent blog posts, over the next 1-2 months, will address other key areas of college readiness with tips for success in each area. Check back! Or email me at to get my newsletter.

Posted in college readiness, self-awareness

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