ADHD tools for college students

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Struggling with academic success due to ADHD? Here are some ADHD tools for college students that can make your life much easier.

Table of Contents

ADHD can significantly impact a student’s academic success and motivation. For this reason, college students need to learn about the resources they can use to tackle the unique learning challenges an ADHD diagnosis brings.

Here’s a rundown of the best ADHD tools for college students.

What is ADHD and how does it impact college students?

ADHD is a psychological disorder that usually manifests as hyperactivity, difficulty paying attention, and impulsive behavior. Although ADHD is commonly associated with childhood, this disorder typically lasts into adulthood and causes increasing difficulties in everyday life.

People with ADHD can have issues with forming stable relationships, low self-esteem, mental health, and poor work or school performance.

College students with ADHD achieve less academic success and experience greater emotional and psychological difficulties than their peers. Depending on the ADHD type, they may experience struggle with:

  • Concentration
  • Writing and reading
  • Communication and interaction with other people
  • Memory
  • Logical analysis

ADHD students are significantly affected by this disorder since success in college requires strong organization and time management skills, which they usually lack. Furthermore, parental support is less available during college years than in high school and earlier stages of education where an iep might help provide additional tools. As a result, some ADHD students struggle to meet these challenges alone.  

Tools to help college students with ADHD

Many college students diagnosed with disabilities suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Since higher education poses unique challenges compared to previous learning experiences, it’s crucial to access different tools to enhance a student’s success.

With this in mind, here are some tools that can make college life much easier for ADHD students.

Text to speech readers

Students with ADHD who struggle academically can significantly benefit from text to speech (TTS) readers. These handy tools help free up working memory, an executive function crucial for remembering what is read.

TTS apps allow students to concentrate on the task instead of getting overwhelmed by too much information. Consequently, learners with difficulties can successfully read and listen to the material, increasing their comprehension and interest.

Thankfully, assistive technology has developed significantly, so college students can choose between many different TTS study tools. Speechify, for example, stands out for its many assistive features that meet various individual needs.

Mind mapping

Mind mapping is another helpful study tool for students with ADHD. At its core, a mind map is a series of ideas related to a central theme. To create this map, learners can use keywords, arrows, symbols, colors, and icons. Their primary purpose is to demonstrate how ideas relate to each other.

These interrelated ideas can help college students with ADHD in various undertakings:

  • Note-taking
  • Organizing ideas
  • Completing homework
  • Developing topics for a report
  • Structuring papers
  • Studying for quizzes and exams
  • Livescribe smart pens

Note-taking is one of the areas where college students with ADHD struggle the most since they have trouble organizing notes and picking the most essential points.

Smartpens from Livescribe can facilitate this process by transferring the student’s handwriting from paper to an app on their smartphone or tablet. From there, students can tag the notes, convert them into text, and make them searchable.

In addition, the pen records audio synced with note-taking, allowing students to go over important sections again.

Thanks to these features, college students with ADHD can organize their notes more efficiently, away from overwhelming lecture halls.


Some ADHD students can be productive only for a limited amount of time. Still, they can make the most out of these active periods with adequate study tools.

In this sense, flashcards are ideal for college students with ADHD since they can be used repeatedly to learn and review material in smaller chunks.

Although flashcards can be made the old-fashioned way, many assistive tools can help students create flashcards digitally.

Time management apps

Most apps, such as social media sites, are a shortcut to procrastination for students with ADHD. However, some apps can benefit these students immensely by increasing their productivity.

For most people with similar disabilities, a steady routine is vital. Unfortunately, this routine isn’t easy to establish, which is where time management apps come into play.

Here are some life-saving apps for ADHD students:

  • Listastic, which lets you create handy to-do lists
  •, which allows you to set reminders
  • 2Do, which helps prioritize tasks

Use Speechify

Speechify is a powerful text to speech program that transforms any written content into a natural-sounding voice. Students can use Speechify to listen to their notes, allowing them to go through them at their own pace and in a quiet environment.

The voice output can be modified in several ways, ensuring each student can tailor it to their needs.

In addition, listening rather than reading the notes or other college materials allows students to discard other ADHD tools that help them focus, such as fidget toys.

Finally, Speechify is available across all platforms, including Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android. As such, students can learn wherever they find a suitable environment, whether a library or a dorm.

If you like what you’ve read so far, the good news is that you can try out this fantastic app for free.


How do college students succeed with ADHD?

Students with ADHD can thrive in college by learning to combat ADHD symptoms using time management and study tools and relying on academic support.

What is assistive technology for ADHD students?

Assistive technology represents any tool, device, or software program that assists students with disabilities. These technological advancements help students deal with the effects of ADHD symptoms on learning, thus boosting their skills and confidence.

What are some common myths about ADHD and college students?

Some believe only young children can have ADHD, thus attributing the student’s academic struggles to laziness or a lack of intelligence. Also, some believe ADHD will undoubtedly prevent students from graduating, which is far from the truth.

What is an ADHD coach?

An ADHD coach is a professional whose goal is to help adults handle activities and responsibilities made difficult by their ADHD symptoms.

What is the difference between a learning disability and ADHD?

Learning disabilities (LD), such as dyslexia, make acquiring learning skills difficult. In contrast, ADHD impacts the brain’s executive functioning and, therefore, a broader set of skills. However, an ADHD diagnosis is often followed by an LD diagnosis. 

Dyslexia Quiz

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