The college admission process can be overwhelming for most young men and women, but what if you are also dealing with mental illness? Approximately 20 percent of young adults in the US have some form of mental illness, which means that many emerging adults may be struggling to figure out how to make the transition to college. Waypointe recognizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to assimilation into college that includes structure and support as well as educational training.
An Important First Step
Any transition can be a challenge, and college admission can have an added level of stress because it may involve almost every aspect of a young man’s life. While it can feel like a lonely time, one should realize that each student is in the same boat, making changes, adapting to new environments, and accepting more responsibilities as an emerging adult heading towards independence. Find strength in the fact that many other students are feeling similar emotions and having the same adjustments that you may be experiencing.
How Much to Share
The application process for college is a personal one, designed to let the admissions counselors understand more about each potential student. While students should be honest and forthright about their mental illness, they may not need to disclose details about their condition or treatment. Some colleges are more concerned about liability or limitations in the care their services can provide, but they are not legally allowed to ask for details about your medical history or discriminate based on any illness. It becomes a matter of personal choice for each student with mental illness to decide how much information to share and when to share it.
A Practical Approach
Like with any mental health treatment or recovery program, emerging adults should have a plan for how to apply to college to take some of the stress and frustration out of the equation. Here are three steps to help you:
- Understand your needs and limitations. You should be aware of what challenges face you, including the frequency of therapy, living arrangements, class load, academic performance, and other factors.
- Do your homework. Consider different college environments and see what services they offer for students with mental illness. Do they have a counseling team through health services? How many students do they monitor? Some of these questions may also be addressed after you have been offered admission as well.
- Be prepared for your transition. You should have realistic expectations about what changes may look like and what you can handle. Involve your support system in the planning so your family and therapists also understand how you can address any potential roadblocks to your academic success.
You Are Not Alone
Waypointe can help you prepare for the next stage of your educational training. Young men in our program can benefit from our relationships with area universities and community colleges as well as online educational options to find the academic path that works best with their needs. Our emerging adult participant can also be set up with a psycho-educational evaluation as part of a comprehensive plan to identify challenges, set goals, create structure, and find success.