Should you write about depression in your personal statement? Disclose mental health challenges elsewhere on your college application? Here's what experts say.
Relevant statistics on mental health at college
This fall, many high school seniors will be staring at a blank computer screen with the same question on their minds: What should I write about in my college application essay? For seniors who experienced a mental health challenge while in high school, this question takes on another dimension.
Should they talk about depresison they coped with say, depression, or any other mental health condition?
Should they refer to it only in passing? Should they avoid mentioning it at all? No matter which prompt they select, for all high school seniors, those with or without mental health challenges, the essay is the only part of the application in which colleges will hear their voices.
The rest of the application contains numbers, statistics, and comments from teachers and counselors. This is why the personal statement, as college planning experts mmyshould i write about depression in my college essay where you should share part of your true self in the most positive light. Think about what a college wants to know about you as a person, or what a university would gain by having you become a part of aout campus community.
Mention depression in a college essay?
Your essay is what brings your college application to life, and you should strive esxay it to represent you in an authentic ky optimistic way. Picture an exhausted admissions officer with a stack of unread application files on her desk.
She is reading yours at midnight at the end abkut a hour day. Does your essay draw the depresison in and make her eager to read until the end of your essay to learn more about you? Will she be eager enough for her to conclude that, yes, we want this student on our campus next fall? That is the purpose of your essay: to take its reader beyond the numbers into who you are as a should i write about depression in my college essay live human being.
Wendy Kahna Chicago-based college planner, and Anna Seltz, of Higher Ed Ua college consulting organization in Philadelphia, both spoke about how a student should try to talk about herself in a positive light instead, taking the opportunity to showcase one of her many other qualities, like her intellectual curiosity, personal growth, or maturity.
Follow these pre-application steps to help your student stay on track for admissions success.
A couple of the counselors — Bruce Vinik of Vinik Educational Services and Marsha Shaines of College Strategies in Kensington, Maryland — said that the only case in which a student should consider writing about her mental health challenges is if the struggle truly defines her as a person. Even then, both counselors saw this as the rare exception, and suggest that instead, most students should take advantage of the should i write about depression in my college essay to 20 page research paper outline example one of the many other attributes that makes them unique.
Vinik says that mental health problems should only be shared in the essay if the college would not be able to understand the applicant without knowing about this part of her. Generally, dperession discourages selecting this as a primary topic.
The three other college counselors generally agreed with this sentiment. All expressed that if the mental health challenges have made an impact on your grades, involvement in class, attendance, or ability to participate easay school activities, you should provide a short, factual summary no more than two paragraphs for background purposes, always emphasizing your recovery after these difficult moments and your preparedness for a college environment.
Seltz suggests that talking about this in your admissions interview may be another route applicants can explore. Seltz recommends taking an approach like the one outlined for personal dollege above: Briefly explain how the challenge affected your grades and focus mostly on the fact that those problems are now under control.]