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Does my topic fit any of the prompts?

conscious02conscious02 24 replies18 threads Junior Member
edited May 2019 in College Essays
Idea: All throughout middle school I was a SERIOUS hypochondriac. My hypochondria was on steriods - it was so bad and I have many examples of how and why it was. It has really changed me as a person and I have grew so much because of this. Not only did it grow my interest in disease/medicine but my prolong hypochondriac experience allowed me to now take life slowly - step by step - breathe, etc.

There is more but this is just a mini brainstorm.

The problem is that I'm not sure if this fits with any of the prompts given for 2019/2020. Would it fit prompt #2?

"The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?"

Thank you!
edited May 2019
32 replies
Post edited by MaineLonghorn on
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Replies to: Does my topic fit any of the prompts?

  • wewigwewig 2 replies5 threads New Member
    I would say it fits well, I would just be cautious talking about mental health issues. I've heard from many people that it's something some colleges avoid because they worry it will affect your ability to succeed in college. That isn't to say you should never write about it on an essay, I've heard of many people getting into colleges where in their essay they mention their mental illnesses. It's just something to be aware of.
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  • conscious02conscious02 24 replies18 threads Junior Member
    Thank you. And yes, I am aware - I am a bit hesitant to write about this topic (although i already have 443 words). I read that mental illness is 50/50 but what happened in middle school has no negative affect on me whatsoever - I actually appreciate it when I look back. I dont know me being an ex-hypochondriac as a 12 year old would harm me in anyway in the future. In about 200 words or more, I will be explaining how much it had a positive affect on me. If a college turns this away...I dont understand. Because I was so hesitiant (still am), I asked a friend who attends Princeton and she told me that my topic was good and unique - she herself wrote about how she would obsess whether an item came from the aisle (stores) or not and if they didnt, she would freak out and inspect/smell it.

    I am a bit iffy but I think I'll take this chance...unless I get too many "oh no's"....
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  • rofikicaferofikicafe 160 replies12 threads Junior Member
    I'd say it's a little risky because middle school is a big time of change and so is college. Maybe the readers would be a little concerned that this issue would pop up again and they don't want to lose students.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 2081 replies27 threads Senior Member
    You have nothing else? Honestly, IMHO this topic seems like a mistake to me. It is important to grow from negative experiences but just as important to show yourself in a more positive light. I especially wouldn't write about something from middle school. By now (a young adult), middle school is neither here nor there no matter what you overcame. You were 12...it just doesn't really seem relevant now. Again, just my opinion but I think you can do better.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threads Senior Member
    Did you read the essay tips at the top of the essay forum? I do not see these as a good topic in multiple ways. It is focused more on middle school than now, and seems like a possible symptom of mental health issues. Go read the tips, and try to find something that will make them want you on campus. I don’t think this is it.
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  • scholarmescholarme 2674 replies79 threads Senior Member
    It's a No vote from me.
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  • conscious02conscious02 24 replies18 threads Junior Member
    I understand that my topic may come across as taboo. However, you have not read my essay. I know a handful of students that got into top colleges (princeton, johns hopkins, dartmouth, villanova, emory) with an essay centering around something like mental health. It showed their growth as a person and how it increased their curiousity. I now believe that my experience fits the prompt really well.
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14378 replies103 threads Forum Champion
    edited May 2019


    Oh no

    If I am a college admissions person, I read essays to get an idea of who you are besides 3.7GPA/1365 SAT.
    And the first thing you want to tell me is:

    I am a hypochondriac.

    Why do I want to choose you? You are saying that the most fundamental thing you have to say about yourself, is that you have a mental health issue.

    Google "Hacking the College Essay 2017" and read it.

    Write the Essay No One Else Could Write
    "It boils down to this: the essay that gets you in is the essay that no other applicant could write.
    Is this a trick? The rest of this guide gives you the best strategies to accomplish this single
    most important thing: write the essay no one else could write.
    If someone reading your essay gets the feeling some other applicant could have written it,
    then you’re in trouble.
    Why is this so important? Because most essays sound like they could have been written by
    anyone. Remember that most essays fail to do what they should: replace numbers (SAT/GPA) with the real you.
    Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer. She’s got limited time and a stack of
    applications. Each application is mostly numbers and other stuff that looks the same. Then she picks
    up your essay. Sixty seconds later, what is her impression of you? Will she know something specifically
    about you? Or will you still be indistinguishable from the hundreds of other applicants she has been
    reading about?"
    edited May 2019
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  • conscious02conscious02 24 replies18 threads Junior Member
    I am no longer a hypochondriac. I no longer have a mental health issue. That is why I am writing this essay.
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  • squ1rrelsqu1rrel 412 replies30 threads Member
    Lol you are doing exactly what I do on my threads, just refuting suggestions given to you. I advise you listen carefully; the people on this site know what they are talking about.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9149 replies91 threads Senior Member
    I also think this is an unnecessarily risky essay. Not only are you addressing a mental health issue, but something that happened to you when you were in middle school. My advice is to write about something more current that highlights your strengths, not drawing attention to something that could be perceived as a negative. Hypochondriasis rarely goes away completely. If I was an adcom, I'd be worried that the stress of college could re-trigger the condition.





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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threads Senior Member
    What adults know and high school students may not is that mental health issues sometimes resurface. Why would a college take a chance? And... do you want then saying, “hmm, should I add a potential hypochondriac to the class mix?” But... sounds like you are going to do what you want to do. Carry on. Be sure you have solid safeties.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 40322 replies2204 threads Super Moderator
    @intparent is absolutely right. Just because YOU think you're cured doesn't mean an AO will think the issue can't resurface. Don't chance it!
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  • collegemom9collegemom9 823 replies30 threads Member
    First of all, you don't have to choose a topic that fits any of the prompts because the last prompt is the "free choice" one. Second, the best idea my child was given is to write the essay and then choose the prompt that best fits the essay knowing you can always go with free choice. Finally, the advice I've always heard is to stay away from the 3 D's-death, divorce and disease.
    I would scratch this one. I can guarantee that this essay has been done a million times. It's risky and not super original.
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  • scholarmescholarme 2674 replies79 threads Senior Member
    @conscious02
    Have you read Hack the College Essay?
    google it - it's got some good advice
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  • conscious02conscious02 24 replies18 threads Junior Member
    I 100% understand the issue. I wrote it already (it's part of our final exam, ugh) and I know a handful of students who wrote about mental issues & got into top schools (i am aware that my experience may not be the same as theirs). Also, I spoke to an admin for UVA 2 months ago & I explained to him this topic (I had this all planned out already) and he said that it all depends on how it is written and there are many factors that play into it. But again, he is speaking from his perspective. So those three things, especially the last two, are causing me to be so attached to this topic.

    The good thing is that what I will be turning into my teacher for the final will not be what I will be turning in to colleges. I have this summer to delete, edit, and revise. Hope I make the right decision. But I didn't want to come off as stubborn. I originally wrote this post to ask whether my topic had fit the prompt and I had negative responses regarding my topic so I was a bit taken back. But thank you all, I will definitely take your concerns into consideration.
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  • conscious02conscious02 24 replies18 threads Junior Member
    & I will be sure to read the Hack the College Essay!
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  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher 236 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I would try a different topic if I were you. Talking about yourself when you were in middle school may come off as immature.
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  • scubadivescubadive 1091 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Health can be a taboo subject. It all depends on how you write it. The best essays I have read are a brief moment in time where the writer tells a story about how they felt in context to what was going on.. The most mundane things can make an excellent essay.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35300 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    Why would you choose to write about something not relevant to colleges? Being an ex hypochondriac isn't a trait they look for. Not at all.

    This isn't like writing in high school, where your English teacher gives you an open topic and just wants to see introspection. This is for your college admit chances.

    And it's "show, not just tell." You may think this explains your nedical or EC interests, but it's not good enough to just tell them you "grew" or take things easier now. They want to see how this let you triumph in high school and outsidr. have real impact, stretch out of your own self.

    Plus they may not want kids who are too laid back.

    They may question your judgment and thinking. Rethink the purpose of the essay.
    edited May 2019
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