Chronic Illness and the College Search

Applying to schools and preparing for the college transition can be tough for any student. But for students dealing with a chronic illness, the process has added challenges.

The key to tackling those challenges? Planning ahead.

Teen Vogue recently published a list of advice to help students dealing with chronic illness clear those hurdles before heading off to college.

“For those students with a chronic disease [heading to college] can be an extra stressful time as they may be away from the health care providers they have been used to seeing for management,” Dr. Susan Hutchinson, the director of Orange County Migraine & Headache Center told Teen Vogue. “In addition, they are away from their home environment, their local pharmacy, and all the familiarity of their local community and resources for their chronic illness.”

When selecting a right-fit college, asking about the campus health care center and finding out whether they treat your specific condition is crucial.

“Most colleges will have a student health center, but hours of operation, access, and type of providers on-site can vary from college to college,” Hutchinson said. “In addition, you should find out if the student health center can treat your specific condition. For example, if you suffer from disabling migraine attacks, does the student health center offer a walk-in option and will injectables or IV medications be available for treatment, or is treatment limited to oral medications?”

It’s also important to know your health center’s hours and have a secondary medical location ready to go.

Once you arrive on campus, coordinating with professors, roommates, and new friends will be essential. These relationships can be the basis of your new support system at college.

Read the full list of tips at Teen Vogue.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s senior communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at

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