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Is it okay to talk about mental ilness in a college essay?

annaedlesonannaedleson 4 replies2 threads New Member
edited April 29 in College Essays
i know there's a stigma around mental illness, but would it be okay to talk about that in a college essay without being judged as an "unstable" candidate for the school? Personally I struggled with an eating disorder my first 2 years of high school- my grades, extracurriculars, sports, etc were fine, but behind closed doors I was certainly struggling. Its one of the biggest events in my life that shaped who I am today and i'm blessed to say there's a positive end to the story, but I just wanted thoughts on how it might be percieved, as I know its a precarious topic.
edited April 29
7 replies
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Replies to: Is it okay to talk about mental ilness in a college essay?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9861 replies110 threads Senior Member
    Congratulations on getting well!

    The general advice is to pick a different topic. The point of the essay to highlight to schools why you'd be an awesome addition to their campus- How you'll fit in, thrive, and be active in their community. It's typically hard to do that when discussing mental health.

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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6655 replies153 threads Senior Member
    This ^^
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  • NJdad07090NJdad07090 565 replies8 threads Member
    I have to disagree with pick a different topic, as you say it is a precarious subject but if is important to you , go for it, yes you may have someone read it and be turned off but you may have someone read it , who can relate. Everything I read about essays say write about you and this is a major part of your journey to college.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30281 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Any subject can be the keystone to a great essay. That depends upon the writer and how the subject is viewed by the reader. Certain subjects just have more risk to them. Difficult to do well, greater chance of being assessed negatively.

    For those who really feel a risky subject is key to a terrific essay, go for it. Write the essay and pick some colleges apps to showcase it. But I’d also apply to some colleges leaving out that essay. Don’t put your eggs in one basket when the that basket is gorgeous but possibly precarious in holding those eggs.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6941 replies31 threads Senior Member
    You can write about anything you want if you do it well. But how does that talk about how you fit on campus as a student and shows your strengths and curiosity? I would pick 3 topics of interests. You already have 1 so pick 2 others. Do a few rough drafts. Have a teacher/counselor read them over and see what hat the comments are. The problem is health issues become cliché. They read thousands of these so how does that separate you from the pack?. I am happy your doing well but how does that tell me how your going to be engaged on campus?

    So....this is where you let your counselor write about what you overcame and you concentrate on the "Why" this school questions. It's much stronger if it comes from your advisor.

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  • happy1happy1 23831 replies2384 threads Super Moderator
    edited April 29
    The purpose of the college essay is to 1) tell something about yourself that can't be found elsewhere on the application and 2) to give the admissions officer a reason to want you on campus. Whatever topic you choose be sure it fulfills those two criteria. The essay does not have to be a soul-baring exercise.
    edited April 29
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  • jym626jym626 57418 replies3010 threads Senior Member
    happy1 wrote: »
    The purpose of the college essay is to 1) tell something about yourself that can't be found elsewhere on the application and 2) to give the admissions officer a reason to want you on campus. Whatever topic you choose be sure it fulfills those two criteria. The essay does not have to be a soul-baring exercise.
    This is good advice. In addition, its fine, often suggested, to be vulnerable in your essay, but focus not on the initial challenge, but mostly on how you grew, what you accomplished, what you learned and how it helped you become who you are today. I tell my students to write the essay with the reader thinking “would I want this person as my roommate?”
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