I wanted to create a thread focusing on applying to college with an existing or previously-overcome illness, chronic or otherwise.
I am someone who has a chronic illness (POTS) and is currently in the belly of the decision notifications beast. I, like everyone else, have been having a difficult time with rejections especially. Because of my illness, I had to drop out of a school I loved as a second semester sophomore , I fell behind on school work (then home bound) for a year, and I completed my jr. and sr. years at an online school from my room. During my year-and-a-half recovery phase, I also decided not to take any APs jr. year, as I was still very symptomatic (brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, bp issues—the works), which deviated from the four year plan I had hoped for since freshman year and haunts me to this day as I ask myself “Did I not push myself enough?” or “What if I did take X amount of classes?”
Flash forward to the present, I have applied to some highly selective LACs and am facing rejections and wait lists. I cannot help but think that if I hadn’t experienced my chronic illness, I might have been able to get into certain schools by taking on a more rigorous course load and, you know, being a “regular” high school student. The sense of loss I feel for the life that could have been is overwhelming, and though I also feel grateful for what I have been able to accomplish—an AP-full sr. year, symptom management, finally graduating last semester, and, now, a gap semester at AU—I cannot help but feel a sense of self-pity as well. Additionally, I have intense anxiety about how admissions directors see someone with an illness/previous illness and strike the balance between viewing them differently vs. assessing them through similar applicant criteria.
If anyone is in the same shoes whatsoever, please feel free to add how you are managing the college application process, or how you were able to get through it and find solace at college. Thank you to anyone who read through my thought dump, and feel free to express your frustrations/thoughts/feelings/etc.!