Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, education, Guest Blogs, Open University, studying, Tips

Thinking about college? 5 Tips for the BPD Student – Guest Post by Lauren

studying (Photo credit: English106)

Going to college or University is an exciting and scary time for any student, if you have BPD the anxieties can be even greater. Lauren shares five tips to help those with BPD make the transition a little easier…

Higher education is the foundation of many fruitful careers; however, it is also a time of great instability for students. College students are especially prone to undergoing identity crises as assimilating to a new culture carries added social pressures to a competitive academic environment. Although this can be challenging for the average student, for a student with BPD, these factors can be debilitating and even devastating.

1.      Find a supportive college campus

Because people with BPD are vulnerable to stressful situations, transitioning into an independent lifestyle can be especially hazardous. However, most people with BPD will be relieved to find that many college campuses offer support to students who are coping with mental health issues.

The University of Washington in Seattle has one of the leading behavioral research and therapy clinics dedicated to researching BPD. Students can receive dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in individualized and group sessions.

2.      Don’t indulge in a party atmosphere.

All students are prone to overindulge from time-to-time, but for a student with BPD, indulgent behavior can often reach self-destructive proportions, especially when drugs and alcohol are involved. Colleges with strict conduct codes or single-sex admittance policies may be solutions for students who are uncertain they can keep their impulses in check.

3.      Stay in therapy.

College is an exciting time, and all newly independent teens and young adults look forward to meeting new people and exploring the world. A student with BPD will need to continue visit a therapist during college years to help manage new relationships and perspectives. With so many new relationships, it is important for the BPD to have a trustworthy adviser who understands his or her unique condition.

4.      Work on DBT daily

In addition to regular visits to a therapist, students with BPD will need to begin assuming responsibility for their own treatment goals and daily initiatives. A young adult who is unprepared to strive for his own wellness is ill-suited for independence and may begin to miss therapy and engage in self-destructive behaviors. However, DBT doesn’t have to be a drag. There are some great apps out there that BPD students can use discreetly and easily to manage emotions and crisis situations.

5.      Consider online classes

For BPD students who have a strong support system at home, online classes may be a good alternative to campus life. At the very least, online classes can serve as a starting point; and for some BPD non-traditional students, online classes could be a way to work toward a new career. Online classes may also be ideal for some BPD students because the detached socialization of e-learning eliminates the distraction of volatile relationships.

Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger for She loves writing about education, writing, and health. She welcomes comments and questions via email at blauren 99

Are you at college/uni and have BPD? 

What tips would you share that help you cope with higher education?



Self-published author whose first book Coffee Break Companion, a collection of short stories and poems is now available on Amazon. S.L.Grigg lives in Bromsgrove with her family. Working in the NHS and enjoying reading, Pilates and travel, amongst other things when she isn't too busy writing.

13 thoughts on “Thinking about college? 5 Tips for the BPD Student – Guest Post by Lauren

  1. Hello, I’m just starting my second year at uni, but with my first year there was one important thing i learnt very quickly- to do the work promptly and swiftly, so that if i have a couple days where its really effecting me then it’s not all going to pile up on me as I’m up to date, and stops me getting extra stressed because of it. As with the partying and going out, Most universities have one or two particular ‘student’ nights. For me, I found the best solution to not let it ruin uni was to just stick to these nights and stay in the rest, because leaving it to impulse generaly leads me to the wrong choice on that front. Just my two pennies from what I discovered, hope it helps any of you just starting out, and GL on your degrees 🙂


    1. Thanks for sharing Kirsty, I also get ahead as much as I can early on in case of problems later, it definitely can be a huge help at times! 🙂


  2. well i started my first unit for online study and sobatashed it! i decided i wasnt any good at it and stopped my readings, i got my assessments back both above 90% and was empowered until i decided i couldnt do the exam because i didnt know the material 100%… this is very frustrating I need relax and just enjoy my life lol 🙂


  3. Hi, I started Uni in September 2010 and first year went by fine, then my second year I relapsed, I am re-starting my second year this year. I really want to emphasise the point you made about not indulging in a party atmostphere, that is one of the big triggers that caused my latest relapse and it caused me to step of the course for the rest of the year. It is really hard though, when everyone else is out partying and drinking, people always ask me “why aren’t you coming out?” and I never know what to say other than pretend I’m ill, because my group of friends just don’t understand not drinking! It’s so important to be assertive if you’re a BPD going to Uni, maybe attend an assertiveness course before attending, to get the skills that you are going to need in order to stay healthy. Good Luck to anyone (BPD or Non) that is starting University/College this year 🙂


    1. Good luck with your second year! Yeah, it can be tough being the only one not partying and I think the idea of assertiveness skills training is a great suggestion! Thanks for sharing 😀 x


  4. Loved this article, my favorite thing about online classes is the ability to not have soooo much anxiety from being in class with many people yet I still get to communicate with classmates when I feel like and create friendships. I have found online classes to be very helpful I’m only bout a year and half away from graduating and receiving my Bachelors in Psychology- Addiction


    1. Thanks Faye, I too have enjoyed online study although I guess it’s not for everyone as your self-discipline needs to be much higher! Congratulations, hope the rest of your study goes well and you get the grades you want for your degree 🙂


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