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Inappropriate College Essay Topic?

coco4848coco4848 Registered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
I need help deciding if my essay topic is inappropriate or oversharing or just too negative. My freshmen year of highschool I was diagnosed with a chronic illness called vulvodynia, it's chronic pain of the female genitals. There is no cure or known cause, and I had to deal with it all of highschool. I had to learn to keep my grades up while being in and out of school because of pain or doctors appointments. I had to learn how to do well at school even if I was suffering through pain. I was able to keep my grades up and stay in honors classes even with my illness and spotty attendance. But since this illness impacts such a taboo body part, is it a bad topic to choose?

Replies to: Inappropriate College Essay Topic?

  • jnkam24jnkam24 Registered User Posts: 527 Member
    Tmi just say chronic pain condition if you want to write your essay on this topic
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 35,740 Senior Member
    You can put in your additional info section of the app that you have a medical condition that includes chronic pain during your HS years. I think I’d leave it at that and write your essay on another topic.
  • michelleeeee1234michelleeeee1234 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    edited September 2018
    I agree with intparent. Basing your entire college essay on an illness, no matter how serious, is risky because it can come off as pity-seeking.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 8,442 Senior Member
    Your guidance counselor ideally should mention your chronic pain in the letter of rec.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,737 Senior Member
    You have some great posters giving you great responses.

    The fact that your illness relates to a "taboo" (really??) part of your body is entirely irrelevant. In fact, the specifics of any illness / medical challenge are largely irrelevant.

    The ability to keep going through a debilitating illness is absolutely admirable; the character traits (determination, persistence, etc) it implies are ones that will serve you well in life.

    And there are HS students (though probably not a lot of them) who can write an interesting essay on the subject. The key is that it *shows* (v. tells) more than just "I had a tough time medically in HS, but I persevered'. There are thousands of HS students who have done that- can you add any other insights to it? For example, how you decided who to tell & how much to tell- the complex social calculations that a 16/17 year old has to make in weighing up how much to say about an illness involving a private (not taboo...) part of the body, given the social dynamics of HS, could be interesting and show something about how you perceive and manage your social environment.

    As @Lindagaf said, your GC should do the heavy lifting on flagging your objective achievement. IF you decide that this is your main/best thing that you want to showcase to the AO, try and find a way to have the story tell more about you / who you are / the person who may be showing up on their campus next September.

  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,329 Senior Member
    @coco4848 : Almost any topic can work as a college essay, but it depends upon how it is written. Therefore, it is too hard to judge your topic without reading a draft of your essay.
  • coco4848coco4848 Registered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
    Taboo was the wrong word. I meant more that it might be taboo to talk openly about such a private area.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,329 Senior Member
    edited September 2018
    Part of the evaluation of your essay will be how you handle such a sensitive subject. "Chronic pain condition" seems reasonable.

    But think about what positive qualities such an essay will reveal about you. The essay should focus on how dealing with such a chronic condition has made you a better & stronger & more caring person. And that it has ignited an intellectual curiosity in you regarding study of medicine or biology or chemistry or psychology. And that you do not take anything for granted as this chronic pain condition is a constant reminder of your blessings & of the sufferings of others--especially those in third world countries who may not have access to medical care. In short, it should be fine if positive (better appreciation of life), developed compassion for others & caused you to pursue an area of intellectual curiosity.

    P.S. Remember that it is your choice how you want to represent yourself to this school.
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