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Overcoming Depression in a College Essay?

LOGAN_HARRISONLOGAN_HARRISON 0 replies2 threads New Member
So I am 17 years old preparing to send in applications to my colleges. I have struggled with depression and self harm for most of my life. But I recovered in 8th grade due to the support of a friend. The thesis statement for this personal essay is, I believe one person truly can change anything. It is talking about my struggles with depression as well as my journey out of it. My parents are suggesting that I write about something different which is genuinely hurtful given that this is a part of me and something that made me into the man I am today. If I could get some feedback as to wether this is a good idea or not as well as possible ways to format an essay of this sort or even someone willing to proof read it I would greatly appreciate it.
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Replies to: Overcoming Depression in a College Essay?

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2350 replies44 threads Senior Member
    I would not write about depression, unless you're trying to get your supportive friend into college.

    I am trying to think about what you could write under that topic that would convince me you'd be a good roommate or tell me what you'd contribute to the college community. Very, very difficult to do.
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  • BellaMorganBellaMorgan 108 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I don't that it a good college essay topic, try to look at the bright side and search for a new topic that you may find interesting aside from depression.
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  • svlab112svlab112 598 replies7 threads Member
    I understand why this is important to you.

    However, it’s not typically the type of narrative that will positively add to your application.

    If you were at a job interview and the interviewer asked “why should we hire you”, would this be the first thing you share?

    Typically, your essay is the opportunity to share how you will be a positive contributor to campus life and academics.



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  • MWolfMWolf 1697 replies10 threads Senior Member
    The point of the essay is to let them know something about you that they won't be able to get from your application or your letters of recommendation. Since it's an essay, the rule is "show, don't tell". That essay would definitely be considered "telling".

    Aside from that, you want to write something that will make them want to have you as their student. Unfortunately, as somebody who struggles with depression, and has done so for a few decades, I am truly sorry to tell you that it is not something that can be cured. It can be controlled, and can be overcome, not eliminated, and that's something that AOs likely also know. For them, the fact that you are prone to depression makes you a risky proposition. So that is the last thing that you want them to know.

    Find a topic that will allow your best traits to shine through, and have you come across as a person that they'd like to have around.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34507 replies383 threads Senior Member
    Struggled "most of my life" or "recovered in 8th grade?" Sure, 8>4. But they're looking at you as a hs senior and generally prefer who you are currently or the recent enough past.

    You don't need a thesis statement. That's hs. But if you want to show you can change, you do need active examples (show,) what you do, how that impacts others. Of course, depends on the tier of colleges.

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  • happy1happy1 22956 replies2261 threads Senior Member
    I have to agree with your parents on this one. The college essay is not meant to be a confessional or a soul bearing exercise.

    The purpose of the college essay is to: 1) tell admissions officers something positive about yourself that can't be found elsewhere in the application and 2) to give admission officers a reason to want you on campus. IMO your proposed essay does not accomplish either. In fact discussing mental health issues can be a red flag for admissions officers.

    It is great that you have overcome depression and it is amazing that you have such a wonderful and impactful friend. It will always be an important part of your story/your life. But that does not make it a good college essay topic.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8514 replies91 threads Senior Member
    edited October 24
    If your goal is to be accepted by a college or university, then it would not be wise to write about your depression and thoughts of self harm.

    Nevertheless, this is a very valuable writing topic to share with your parents. Write the essay & share it only with your parents & trained therapist.

    edited October 24
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9382 replies502 threads Senior Member
    Write about the man you are today and not the boy you were.

    Totally agree with others. You are selling yourself and depression isn’t a selling point. Admissions officers see it as a red flag because they know it can come back. Don’t give them a reason to say no.
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