View Full Version : 29-year-old attempting to go back to school after ADD diagnosis/treatment

04-21-17, 05:54 PM
Hello all. I'm a 29-year-old guy living in Colorado, and I'm trying to figure out how to get back into college and finish the undergrad i started ten years ago.

Some background: I was always a smart kid, so everything through high school was easy for me. Once I got to college and was not forced to go to class, I struggled immensely. Motivation was lacking, I felt like I had no direction, and procrastination/anxiety cause me to fail or quit three different times in university. I always intended to get back into school and finish, but life got in the way.

This last fall (2016) I finally went to a doctor to talk about all these things, and I was diagnosed with ADD, and I was given a prescription of Vyvanse. This has helped me an almost unbelievable amount, and now I finally feel like I will be able to stick with it an finish school.

There are some problems, however, and this is what I'm seeking help with:

1) Since I did attend college classes before, the university I'm trying to get into now requires my transcripts, which contain my garbage GPA.

2) The grants and loans I took from the government were wasted, and now I have ~$7,000 in debt that needs to be cleared up before I can get any more financial assistance. With no degree, the jobs I can get do not allow me to set any money aside towards the payment of these loans.

I do plan to write a letter to accompany my application explaining my education history and the long-undiagnosed ADD that led me to falter.

Has anyone else gone through a scenario like this?

Or is there anyone in academia who could give me some insider recommendations?

Thanks in advance for any input.

I'm trying to stay optimistic, but it's easy to get discouraged by the unfeeling bureaucracy.

04-21-17, 06:35 PM
Hi starting over,

Welcome to ADDF. Glad you were able to get a diagnosis and treatment, and that you're looking into going back to school.

Quick question: are you re-applying to the same university you attended before, or to a new one?

Some universities have formal "second chance"-type programs that allow students who failed out or dropped out in the past to reapply, if there have been mitigating circumstances (like an undiagnosed disability). I think these are usually for students who started at that university, rather than students who started elsewhere.

The main thing they will want to know is: Given your less-than-stellar performance in the past, what makes you think you are prepared for college-level work now? Why should they give you a chance?

If you can clearly explain the facts of the situation (in this case, the impact of your previously-undiagnosed disability) and communicate a sense of dedication and purpose (clear goals and at least a rough plan to achieve them through your education at this university), that can help reassure the admissions office that you're self-aware and serious, and not just destined to flounder again.

One thing I'd suggest you do is contact the disability services office at the school you're applying to. The contact person there may be able to provide advice on both how to present your history/GPA in your application, and also what support at the university could help you succeed this time around. Even if you are taking medication and it works well, you'll almost certainly encounter challenges in school, and knowing up front what support is available and how to get needed accommodations could be really useful to you.

Some schools also have programs for "re-entry" or "non-traditional" students, who've returned to school after doing other things in life for a while, rather than students coming straight out of high school. It may be worth looking into whether your university has something like this, too.

Even within "unfeeling bureauracies", there are often some really great and helpful people. If you can find them (and treasure them if you do!), and a support group, it can make a world of difference.

I don't have any great ideas on how the loan repayment situation can be resolved. Are you currently behind on repayments by $7000, or is that the total you owe (or both)?

Are you set on going to the university you have in mind (for geographic, field of study, or other reasons)? Is it possible that you could take some community college courses first? Doing so could both boost your GPA (and provide evidence that you can handle the work this time) before applying to the university, and also get some coursework out of the way at a lower tuition rate.

Good luck!

04-21-17, 07:23 PM
Get roommates to cut rent costs. I wouldnt live with parents if you don't like it but if you do, perhaps that an option. Can save money a lot quicker when you don't have to pay rent.