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How do I explain my strange family situation on the common app for transfers?

nohrdragonnohrdragon 17 replies9 threads Junior Member
Basically, one of my parents died when I was young, and the other is alive, but has pretty much abandoned me. I don't live with her and she doesn't support me financially. I was raised by my grandparents, but they never had legal custody of me (lived in a rural area, this same scenario happened to lots of kids. Parents couldn't take care of them, grandparents stepped in.) I know I still have to list her in my household on FAFSA, but on my commonapp household profile, could I list my grandmother, my now deceased grandfather, and my two siblings as my household? Now that I am an adult, I don't see why I would have to list my mother except for when it specifically asks for that information. When I am not in college, I do live with my grandmother. I also would like to write an essay about how I was raised by my grandparents, but I don't know how adcoms would percieve my mother abandoning me and my father being an addict, which is why I was not under his care.
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Replies to: How do I explain my strange family situation on the common app for transfers?

  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3706 replies85 threads Senior Member
    Whew! That's a lot of information. I can see why you're confused about how to handle this. Also, you sound like a ver resourceful and mature person.

    Many of these questions for a definitive answer, you should talk to the guidance counselor at your school and / or call the FAFSA helpline to ask about how to list your grandparent, etc. Generally for this form I should think that people who are deceased are no longer part of your household.

    Here is where you can find the FAFSA info phone number -- https://studentaidhelp.ed.gov/app/home/site/fafsa

    It's a government organization and so you may be on hold for awhile. Just be patient. Organize your questions ahead of time.

    As far as your essay for the common app, I think the topic is a good one. How it's written will be important. My advice would be to write two essays, this topic and some other topic. Let them rest, and then look at them again. Whichever speaks to you the most is the one you should polish and use. Be sure to let several people review your essay before sending it out.

    One thing though: you say "when I'm not in college". Do you mean, "during breaks once I'm attending college" I will live with my grandmother?
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  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3706 replies85 threads Senior Member
    I wanted to add briefly that you want to emphasize you yourself as the focus of your essay. Make sure that this essay is about you primarily in the family situation that you described.
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14645 replies108 threads Forum Champion
    The OP's title is about transfers...so I think they are in college?

    But if you are writing an essay, google "Hacking the essay 2017"...it talks about writing the essay only you could write...and like @Dustyfeathers said, it needs to be about you.
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  • lostaccountlostaccount 5331 replies90 threads Senior Member
    You have a very compelling story; one that highlights your resilience. It's the kind of life story colleges want to hear. If you come close to having the academic credentials that a college typically expects, letting them know your life story should certainly put you over the top. Good luck!
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  • My CupcakeMy Cupcake 38 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Sorry to hear that but I think you need to explain about your story and for sure they will give you a proper response regarding that situation.
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