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Essay about OCD

lavendergirl21lavendergirl21 2 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
Hello! I have seen some people ask if they should steer away from writing about OCD or any form of mental illness in their college essay but I was wondering if it is okay to take about dermatillomania which is a skin picking disorder. I do label it or refer to it as a form of OCD but I write about the picking habits in a narrative about my hands. Do you think this still is classified as writing about a mental illness? Would love to hear advice from anyone! Thank you!
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Replies to: Essay about OCD

  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33094 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Do you think it's something adcoms want to read about? Do you think it promotes your admit chances, that they'll say, "That's the kid we want?"
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  • jym626jym626 55106 replies2859 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    What personal quality does it show about you? Personal growth?
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  • lavendergirl21lavendergirl21 2 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    Yes. I tied it into how my need to pick at my hands subsided after I discovered art as an outlet for expression.
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  • lavendergirl21lavendergirl21 2 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    I think so. I used the metaphor that my skin was my first canvas and tied it into my creativity and love for art.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6476 replies51 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your essay has just one purpose: to convince a couple of people that you should be a part of their college community. It's not about splitting hairs as to whether X is a mental illness or not. It's about an essay that is interesting enough to make a reader with 50 more apps to go before dinner slow down long enough to focus on your app.

    An essay that says something along the lines of 'my skin was my first canvas and over time I learned to channel my creativity by drawing designs on paper instead of picking them out of my skin' could get reader reactions that range from 'i see creativity / growth / overcoming obstacles' all the way to 'ewww'. Some more informed readers might wonder if you are cured or in remission (and it could come back) and what other challenges might come along with it. And you don't know which sort of reader will be looking at your app.

    There isn't a blanket answer here: a lot depends on *how* it's written. In theory you should be able to substitute some other challenge and have the essay still make sense- if not, it often means that you have focused too much on the challenge, and not enough on *you*. Find somebody who you are not close to (a teacher you don't know, for example) and ask them to read it (cold- don't prep them for it) and give you feedback.


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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33094 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    It is an 'ewww' image that comes to mind. You never want an adcoms to mutter, "What was he thinking?" Or, "Does she know what we do look for?"

    Trying to equate picking your skin with a canvas is too odd. It doesn't translate to love of art. It's one thing to mention, in a line or two, that you had self image uncertainties, when younger, but quite another to blow their minds. Not only do they want to see how applicants grew, etc, they're looking at your thinking today, in what you choose to write about.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1557 replies25 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    This is the best you have?

    Imagine this...someone is meeting you on paper deciding if you are someone they want on their campus. They are deciding if you (on paper) should be invited rather than someone else. You only have 650 words to put yourself in the best light. Skin picking, no matter how creative, isn't it.
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