How can I write this essay?

I’m writing essay B for apply Texas, which says to “describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life, and the skills and resources you used to resolve it. Did it change you? If so, how?”
I want to write about the challenge I faced going through treatment for an eating disorder. I’m quite open about the topic and I feel like my experience would make an outstanding essay. How can I write about this without making my reader feel uncomfortable? What would be some key things to focus on? Thanks!

I was in a similar boat last year. I wrote my essay on a disability. At first, everyone told me not to because I was looking for pity. But I wasn’t. The topic was make a story out of it so I incorporated the theme into it. I think as long as you believe you can represent it in a positive manner (what you learned and experiences) that you should write about it because it’s part of you! If it helped, some of my colleges specifically said they liked hearing such an interesting story.

I have heard that writing about eating disorders is and can be risky. So, I would make sure that you’re definitely able to write about it in a way that will show college admissions how you have grown from this conflict/obstacle.


  • Make you that you mention (clearly) that you have fully, 100% overcome your eating disorder. That way, colleges won’t look at your essay questionably.
  • Put more detail into how you were able to grow from this obstacle. I would mention the eating disorder just a little bit. I would focus more on the skills and resources that helped you resolve it.
  • Relate your obstacle/conflict to your life today. For example, write about how it helped you realize that you want to do ____ because you were able to overcome this. (The blank could be for how it impacted the major that you chose, how you wanted to help others in your life/community with similar struggles, etc.)
  • Don’t go into too much detail. While you want to describe how your eating disorder was an obstacle you overcame, I wouldn’t share every single, personal detail about it. Just write a little about the ED, and more about resolving it. This way, college admissions will be less caught up in the ED and more invested in the resolving and “after obstacle” part.

While I think that you could definitely write a great essay on the topic, I would make sure to write multiple rough drafts. Ask your parents and others what they think of your rough drafts. This essay topic could have potential, but only if it is written in a strong, touching, empowering way. If you start writing and have difficulty writing about it (or it doesn’t seem to come out/flow the right way), then I would write about a different topic. Good luck!

It’s not just a pity thing. From personal experience, writing about topics related to mental illness is very tricky and very risky. There are many things about college that would make colleges concerned about a student who disclosed having an eating disorder. Stress is a huge trigger for ED behaviors returning, and both the transition to college and college itself can be very stressful. Additionally, you’ll be by yourself, and potentially away from your support system. Especially if this all happened recently, they have no reason to trust that you’re going to take good care of yourself except your word. Especially if you’re going to be writing an essay about how difficult it was to start taking care of yourself. And they don’t know you to be able to trust your word.

You won’t know how it comes across until you write a draft, though. I’d suggest putting a spin on it, too, because there will be other people writing about eating disorders as well, and you want to stand out. For example, IDK, many people take up knitting / crocheting in inpatient units. That could be what got you through treatment, and you could turn it into a metaphor for the slow process of recovery or something. Bonus points if it’s become one of your favorite hobbies / stress-relief techniques, and you teach it to children on the side or something.