Preparing for College
Getting ready for college requires lots of preparation and decision making. Maybe you are just starting to think about college and where you'd want to go. Or perhaps you are thinking about what dorm life will be like, how you will access your IBD medications, or even what bathrooms might be near you. These are just some of the questions you may be considering, but there are many things you'll want to check off your list when getting ready for college, especially when there is the added challenge of having to cope with IBD.
Here are some helpful tips and questions as you prepare for college life with IBD:
- Talk to your pediatric gastroenterologist about your college plans. The sooner you start that conversation, the better prepared you will be! Your doctor and healthcare team may help you choose a gastroenterologist if you are looking for one near your campus. Remember that your potential new doctor will want to see your medical history, get a sense what you've been through and where you are in your disease journey so that they can be helpful as they work with you to manage your disease. You'll also want to make sure the doctor you plan to select is covered under your health insurance plan. Talk to your pediatrician during the next visit!
- If you are still making your decision on what college to attend, you'll want to ensure you choose a college where you think you will be happy and healthy. Take into consideration your medical needs, including: location of medical care in areas near the campus. If you need to undergo testing, or if you experience a flare or emergencies related to your disease, is there a gastroenterologist that can help? Where can you get your medications (or infusions, if applicable)?
- Disability Support Services can be a very helpful resource on many campuses especially for students who may need accommodations due to the challenges of their disease. Find out if the college you chose (or are considering) has a disability support services office, and what the process is to register yourself.
- What kinds of additional support will you have access to, near your campus? Are there other students with IBD, or is there a support group you can turn to? Are there mental health therapists that can help you cope with the emotional symptoms of IBD when you need it?
- Are there skills that you can be practicing now to help you be more independent in taking care of yourself? There are a few things you can do, like taking medications on your own, knowing potential side effects of medications, being the one to respond and speak during doctor visits (rather than your parent), and many other skills. To learn more, visit the webpage on "Preparing for Adult Care."
You will likely have other factors beyond your medical needs that you are considering to help you choose the right college for you. Just remember to keep your health on the top of your list!
To read other helpful tips, check out our wepbage from the Foundation's Campus Connection website, on "Choosing your college."