Considering the Best Choices for a College or University It’s important to note that smaller institutions of higher education, particularly those without large graduate programs, are often referred to as “colleges” whereas larger institutions with much broader ranges of academic programs and graduate schools are typically referred to as “universities.” Sometimes we see that these different terms are even used interchangeably.For simplicity sake, the remainder of this chapter will refer to the generic term “college.” It should also be noted that whether referring to a college or a university setting, the advice pertaining to higher education with bipolar disorder applies equally to both.
For purposes of this continued discussion, the generic phrase, “university counseling center,” will be referred to as if it were a full-service treatment setting.
For any student the choice of where to go to college is crucial.
For students with bipolar disorder, it’s imperative to investigate the scope of services available through a college’s counseling center before making any commitment to attend.
If those resources are minimal or without a clear psychiatric component, then one should also make sure good psychiatric services are accessible in the nearby community.
If more recent management of bipolar symptoms has been difficult and the student is struggling with instability while applying for college, then perhaps a community college setting or a four-year school fairly close to home would be a better choice.
The real issue here is the extent to which one may need to rely upon family support as part of his or her essential support network.
At this point in late fall, the majority of high school students are in the process of submitting applications for their 2017-18 college enrollment.
It thus seemed timely to offer the revised version of the IBPF book chapter through this blog.
Equally important, if not more so, is finding an environment that will be optimal for maintaining emotional and psychological stability. When deciding near or far, we look to the student’s recent history of stability as an indicator of the kind of support network that will be necessary at college.
If relatively stable for the last year or two without hospitalizations or frequent medication changes, then perhaps being close to home is not as important.