Starting college is no easy task. With the moving into dorms, taking on a new schedule and being surrounded by a completely new environment can be an extremely overwhelming transition. For students on the autism spectrum, this experience is no easy task.

Here are the top five tips for navigating college for students on the spectrum:

  1. Embrace your individuality. Everyone brings their strengths and weaknesses to college. No two people are the same. Remember – you are different, not less.
  2. Find a common ground in effort to make friends. Talk to people in dorms or classrooms and start discussing your hobbies or interests. More likely than not, you will have a couple common interests. Use these commonalities to your advantage and make some friends.
  3. Learning resources. Be sure to really utilize all of the resources at your university they offer for students with special needs. They are there to help you. But do not forget to always self advocate.
  4. Do your research. Make sure that before applying to colleges and universities, you really do your research. Find schools that have the right program for your individual and unique needs – some schools offer more extensive programs for students with special needs than others.
  5. Managing Anxiety. This can be particularly hard for those affected by ASD. However, in college, everyone experiences some degree of stress. College is not a walk in the park. Try talking out your feelings or even go for a walk around campus to clear your head. All college campuses have a counseling center with professionals on hand to help you cope with your stress.

In a recent article written by Center on Transition Innovations, requesting accommodations in college is KEY to a college student who’s on the spectrum’s success. Center on On Transition Innovations stated,

“You have to reach out to the disability services…If you need more time during testing, if you need tutoring you need to seek it out…A lot of that is self-advocacy, is telling people what you really need and how you work the best…If you tell people how you need help, they’re going to give you that help. If you don’t they won’t know how to.”

College life for students on the spectrum may come with its highs and lows, but there are a plethora of programs that are equipped with the programs to serve students on the spectrum. You can see a list of programs at this link.

Wishing all the students beginning their college journey this fall the very best of luck!

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