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A Confusing Transcript

abukhbinderabukhbinder Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Hi all,

Happy summer to everyone! I need advice.

My parents and I have been struggling with the question of whether or not to disclose my ADD in my college apps (in an essay). I was diagnosed at the end of Freshman year with ADD, and since then I have taken medication for it. Because I was only diagnosed at the end of ninth grade, my freshman year grades are not great; however, with the help of medication, my grades quickly began to change. My school grades on a 100 scale, not a 4.0 scale. Here are my grades throughout highschool.

Ninth Grade GPA -- 82.2
Tenth Grade GPA - 91.6
Eleventh Grade GPA -- 99

In ninth grade I took no honors/AP courses. In tenth grade I took two Honors/AP courses. In eleventh grade I took five. The reason my tenth year grades are not too great is because the medication I began to take that year had some nasty side effects that I had to deal with and get used to--such as mild anxiety (OCD). I overcame these obstacles, and in eleventh grade I THRIVED; I took as many challenging courses as I could, I realized I loved school, and I even began to tutor kids in my own classes.

I want to go to a very challenging school. So my question is—disclose my ADD or not? The rest of my application is strong (35 ACT, 2340 SAT, plenty of extra curricular’s, etc.)

I truly appreciate all of the help that you all give. Thank you so much.
Post edited by abukhbinder on

Replies to: A Confusing Transcript

  • Worrying MomWorrying Mom Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    My daughter's GPA was even lower-- D's F's in 9th and part of 10th, with missing credits due to similar mental health concerns, as well as ADHD and LD. She ended up with barely a 3.0, with middling SAT's (1800), attending one of the nation's most academically competitive public high schools. She shared her story through interviews and essays, which was necessary in helping admissions folks to understand the extent of her challenges and her progress. However, she made sure her strengths were addressed equally. She got into almost every college she applied, with the exception of one. Acceptances included 3 "Colleges That Change Lives," a state honors college, and two highly competitive LACs. And she received merit $ at 4! Who said no? One of the 7 sisters...

    The bigger question is, are you ready? My daughter made such amazing progress, we were sure she was ready to fly, and felt she'd earned the chance to go away to college. As it turned out, she continued having many more challenges, and she is back home, taking a semester off. I'm not saying she should NOT have gone, because in many ways, she matured and thrived while in college.

    But, it is worth thinking through. I suggest students and parents read this essay from Dr. Ravin, because while we followed some of her tips, we were unaware of others that could have been helpful:
    Leaving the Nest: 10 Tips for Parents eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and psychotherapy
  • StacJipStacJip Registered User Posts: 632 Member
    Hi Avi,
    It sounds like you are a smart curious student who wants to be academically challenged in college. That is wonderful. It also sounds like you have been addressing how you learn best, and working hard to find supports and medication to help you be successful. Those are all things that are going to serve you well as you move forward with your academic studies.

    Rather than focusing simply on colleges that are "perceived" to be academically challenging (i.e.: Ivy League and tier 1 liberal arts schools) I would think about what you want out of a college. Do you think you would do better in a large or small school? Do you want strong science, liberal arts, business, performing arts, athletics, urban or rural? Do you prefer to learn in lectures on in classes with discussions? What sort of organizational things help you access the curriculum? Do you want to be close to home or not? Think about finances as well.

    Remember that what makes a college challenging is not just it's Ranking and it admissions but also the quality of it's faculty and the courses the college offers. There are many excellent colleges that have amazing faculty and rigorous curriculum that are not necessarily perceived as the most competitive. For example Wheaton College in Norton MA was named in Newsweeks top 10 Brainiac colleges because of the number of Scholars (Fulbright, Rhodes etc...) that it produces. But Wheaton has a holistic approach to admissions and tends to admit students who perhaps show potential but who are not exactly typical of the students accepted by ivy league universities.

    Depending on what you want to do going to the most competitive college you can get into might not be the optimal decision. You want to go to a college where you can be successful. If your goal is medical school then you want to go to a college where you can excel in the courses that are required. If you want to go to graduate school then you want to go to a school where you can for relationships with faculty, get involved with research and pursue necessary undergraduate coursework in your field.

    Remember your goal is success in the long term, not short term bragging rights.
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