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Writing a college essay on an ADD or LD

MattFromNHMattFromNH Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
Hi, first time poster here. I go to a fairly respected public highschool in Manchester with about 2400 kids enrolled. I have a career gpa of 3.3 unweighted, and I'm in the top 15% of my class of about 550 students.
Post edited by MattFromNH on

Replies to: Writing a college essay on an ADD or LD

  • ph1lgiiiph1lgiii Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    I second this... Part of me thinks I should write about ADD in my essay, to help explain my GPA (finally accepted that I had LD very late), and another part of me thinks that would bother admissions people... thoughts?
  • MattFromNHMattFromNH Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Sorry, I posted accidently before I was finished.

    to continue...

    I have ASD (auditory processing disorder) and ADHD-Inattentive (I even forgot my username to this site 5 minutes after I created it....lol). My SAT scores were 680 math, 630 reading, 530 writing, and I only finished 2 sections of the 10 on the test. I have NEVER received any special notes, extra time on tests, or a quiet room. I, also, have good sports and community service.

    I was wondering that if I write an admissions essay about overcoming this, would it help you edge over a person with similar grades? Would it hurt you?

    Also, I wanted to know if an essay on suceeding in high school with an LD/ADHD would propel you into a top tier university or college (like UVA)?

    Either way, I'm sure any essay on a disability would catch on admission officier's eye because they probably don't see too many of them right?

    BTW - thanks for the support phil
  • LaxChampLaxChamp Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    I wouldn't write an essay about this. I know many people who wrote essays like that and it didn't help. Disabilities don't get you into schools unless they give you a special ability (i.e. you have Savant Syndrome and are excellent with numbers) or you are in a wheelchair, which looks good for the catalogue.
  • ph1lgiiiph1lgiii Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    I was thinking maybe it could show a reason for improvement... i.e. I've never been treated untill right before senior year... If I can show that that makes a big difference, wouldn't that interest colleges... seeing that I could do better than I had through most of high school
  • LaxChampLaxChamp Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    There are thousands of people who will write an essay like that, and colleges know that there are millions of students out there like you who have your condition, so it won't really matter, and therefore could only hurt you. Another reason why it is a bad idea is because colleges might think that you get extended time, and therefore discount your standardized testing. Colleges were doing that, which is why the scores are no longer flagged when people take extended time.
  • MattFromNHMattFromNH Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    I guess more specifically, I was wondering of I could write an essay about the disability to would help explain a weakspot in my transcript. This year my junior 1st semester grades were abyssmal, partially on the part of my egotistical AP chemistry teacher. I dropped it and picked up 2 classes, and now I have much, much better grades with basically the same classes (3.6, up more than 1.0 pts). Since 1st semster ended, I have been on adderall and it helps a TON for me. Anyways, what if the essay was written downplaying the disability and playing up the bounceback? Or to explain something related to the disability? I don't intend to write about a disability so I can be another Harry Hardluck story, but on the flipside, I kind of feel obligated to write an essay about it because the LD will come up either way. Yet, I definitely don't want them to pity me because that won't increase my chances. I guess I want to write about my disability though because it will help explain my transcript and me as a person.
  • mythmommythmom Registered User Posts: 8,305 Senior Member
    It's best to write a wonderful, creative essay thay shows the best you can do. Your GC should mention ADD if you think it's appropriate. Mosy applications provide an opportunity to add anything relevant you want the college to know. You can mention it there. I would not devote an entire admissions essay to this topic if I were you.
  • ahoo2uahoo2u Registered User Posts: 216 Junior Member
    My D wrote her essay about how her LD was her 'gift' and overcoming it gave her the character traits for success...part of the essay was a poem she wrote about her determination to succeed and 'refusing' mediocracy. SHe not only got accepted, she was offered full rides to two schools. If you write about it, don't use LD for explaining away or sympathy.... make it creative, make it strong, show them how it's made you a better person.
  • ARobertsonARobertson Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Hey Matt-- I've spent time on both sides of admissions as a GC (working particularly w/ LD kids) and as an AC, so I've seen this question come up many times before.

    First, I think you need to consider the overarching question of whether you want to disclose your LD. There area lots of things to consider w/ this and it's a decision that is really personal in that what works for someone else may not be what works for you. If you decide that either a) you do want to disclose or b) you don't have much preference either way, then there is nothing wrong with writing an essay about your LD. BUT, you definitely want to avoid being the clich
  • nycnyc Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    The advice on these boards has gone both ways:
    - powerful essay topic (if done correctly)
    - don't disclose

    I advised dear friend's D against disclosing her LD. She wanted to attend top LAC; her grades were strong (from second tier pvt day sch), but her scores were a little weak. I feared that reference to LD would immediately be read as "receives extra time on tests" and make both her SAT scores (she did get extra time) and her grades suspect.

    I just didn't see how revealing the LD would help tip the balance in her favor. Maybe she had overcome some adversity (a hard-sell as an affluent, White girl attending pvt sch on the Upper West Side), but how could reporting that, even w/ extra time her scores placed her in the bottom 25% of the school's admitted students, have enhanced her app?
  • hermyronharryhermyronharry Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    I have a learning disibility do you think I should tell a story about it and add what other activities I do at school? To explain bad test scores and grades?
  • hermyronharryhermyronharry Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Should I explain my disability with my grades or talk about all the things I did in school??
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    both my kids wrote essays on learning differences and the challenges that brings.
    THey also both were accepted to all the colleges they applied to.
    What colleges like to read are how students have found to work with/around their disability, not so much an essay that tries to excuse performance.

    You can have lower grades if you show how hard working you are.
    I also think it is important in many cases colleges are aware, because you need to know their stance.
    It could cause real problems if you are attending and find you need more accommodations than you expected- if they are inflexible
  • marnikmarnik Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    My S did not explain his various LD's, but rather explained the 'unique' way his brain works, which allowed him to 'invent' projects. He specifically wrote about a huge project he took from an idea all the way to working completion. When he went on interviews, he then was able to show the interviewers short video clips on his camera of this project. So, though the message was clear that he didn't always 'color inside the lines', he turned this into an asset. He didn't mention specific diagnoses, nor did he use them to explain a weakness. I guess my two cents would be if you are going to write about your LD, do so in a positive way...let them know how the LD works for you, rather than against.
  • missypiemissypie Registered User Posts: 18,303 Senior Member
    I've encouraged my son to disclose his Asperger's....his test scores are too high for his grades, making him look like a slacker in the absence of any further explanation. Or do you think this is a bad idea?
This discussion has been closed.