Suicidal thoughts college essay

Hi! Okay so I wanted to write about overcoming my suicidal thoughts for my college essay. I feel like it says a lot about me that I was able to get up each day and decide that I wanted to live even though it was a struggle. I’ll write about how I deal with it, and make sure to express to them that I take pride in it. I’m proud of myself for continuously dealing with something this hard everyday. Here’s an excerpt that I wrote for my essay

“I stare at the ceiling and decide that I am going to live. Despite how I feel now, or how I will feel in the future, I am going to live. For them. For me. For that hope that one day I’ll have so much going for me that the thought won’t even cross my mind.
It’s hard. It’s really hard. But I do it. I ask for help. I talk about how I’m feeling because I know that it’ll make me feel better. I take medicine to keep me on my feet. I learn how to tell when I’m not thinking rationally, and I tell people I trust. I force myself to get up, get dressed, and go to school each day. I live.”

I know it’s kind of risky, but this is really important to me. What do you think? Do you think there’s any way this could work out for me? TBH I don’t really know what I’m doing, and I want some other opinions :slight_smile:

I’m not going to comment on the subject of your essay but you shouldn’t post portions of your essay on the internet….mainly because of plagiarism issues.

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No. Not a good topic.


The unfortunately likely outcome of an essay like this is that AO’s admire you and wish you well, but not at their college. Student suicides are very damaging to colleges and college communities. No matter how great the AO’s may think you are, they have a mandate not to expose the college to risk. Overt discussion of suicidal thoughts and impulses is likely to put you in the “We wish you all the best - someplace else” pile.

Don’t get me wrong - you should be proud of yourself and this has the potential to be a great piece of writing. (Although, as noted above, don’t quote your essays in CC posts going forward.) In an ideal world, essays like this would not be a liability. But that’s not the world we live in. Don’t red-flag yourself with admissions by being this candid about this topic. Write about the things that motivate you to overcome your struggles, not about the temptation to self-harm.


While it is clear that you need to write this essay as a cathartic experience, do not share it with anyone other than your therapist, parents,a qualified medical provider, or priest/minister/rabbi/clergy. In fact, such a writing does not have to be shown to anyone other than to yourself.

Please do NOT include this writing as part of any college application as the only result will be a rejection.

It is okay to write about faith such as faith in yourself,your family,a higher power. And how faith allows you to accept challenges and to grow and to accept others for who they are. That you understand that life is not perfect,nor is any individual perfect, but that perfection is not necessary in order to make meaningful contributions to society. But it is not okay to write about thoughts of self-harm on a college application.

Focus on positive thoughts. Use the college website or course catalog to express interest in particular courses, clubs,and/or activities offered by the school. Share that you want to learn by exploring new subjects and by trying new activities and that you are excited about making new friends from different backgrounds. Positive thoughts. Think positive thoughts.Write about positive thoughts and engage in positive activities.

Always look for the good in others and the good in everything about life. Practice doing this everyday. Exercise. Spend time socializing with others. Say nice comments to others.

Stay busy. If you need time for self reflection,talk to someone whom you trust such as a parent, clergy,counselor/therapist/medical practitioner. Read books about faith and the power of positive thinking. Read books which cover any positive interest that you have.


“Write about the things that motivate you to overcome your struggles, not about the temptation to self-harm.” <This.

Think about the part of your essay that you shared as the “pre-writing” to your essay. Now you’re ready to tell us about exactly what @aquapt suggests, all of the wonderful things that keep you motivated and wanting to live.


Absolutely, without question, you should not write about this. Think of it like going for a story you would tell on a first date or the speech you would give. It would be far better to have a boring old essay full of typos than to talk about suicide. Tell a story about asking for help or how personal connections are essential if you must go deep. If you are stumped go to your junk drawer and look what you thought was so important it needed to be saved, find the oldest thing in your house and write about that. Write about decorating your room and why you chose what you chose or how you didn’t choose it, someone else did. Write about your shoes. Seriously, practice using some of those topics and see what develops. Basically anything else.


not sure if you need another opinion that states you should select a new topic, but you absolutely should.


I am glad you are getting support and have people whom you can ask for help. Don’t stop!! Your words convey self awareness, strength, vulnerability and courage. All are extremely admirable traits but not a good idea for an essay.

Sharing suicidal thoughts with someone conveys trust, while hearing those words from someone else imparts responsibility. Typically that responsibility is directed and limited towards supporting the person sharing their thoughts, but an admissions officer has to think beyond that.

Specifically you don’t want an admissions officer contemplating whether or not you can handle the pressure of transition or college life.

Contemplate how you would feel knowing you could inadvertently put someone who has had these thoughts in a compromised position with no further ability to directly support them. I am being this specific so you understand there is absolutely nothing wrong with the sentiments you are expressing or your desire to share. To the contrary you should be encouraged to be open and honest with yourself and others.

Your college application however is not the right place to do so. Best of luck on both the little stuff and big stuff!!

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A lot of students misunderstand the role of the essay(s). Think of the Admissions Officer (AO) who opens your file. They will see some stats (GPA, test scores, course rigor), your school profile (so how your stats compare to your cohort), what the adults in your school world think of you (LoRs), and how you spend your time outside the classroom (ECs). Those things are pretty much nearly set and/or outside your control. What isn’t set is your essays, and they are your opportunity to connect the dots for the AO- to create a narrative whole. Sometimes an essay can do that explicitly, drawing connections between different elements of the application. Other times it can do it implicitly, with an anecdote that demonstrates a characteristic that you want to highlight. Or it can fill in a gap, showcasing something important about you that doesn’t show up anyplace else. Any of those things.

What it is not, however, is therapy. Even though they say that they want to ‘know’ you, they mean it in a narrow sense.

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Totally agree with the above but also look into a school that has the support you might need to get through college. Suicide on college campuses is a real thing. Knowing there is support you can count on can be invaluable to you. Good luck.


My quote is from @aquapt ‘s post, just above mine, who I didn’t adequately cite.

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If you tell a professional that you are suicidal, they have to get you into a hospital. This essay is written in a way that shows continuing suicidal thoughts and struggle. I am hoping you feel you have adequate help and support, that the meds are working and certainly admire your perseverance and positivity.

One of my kids had similar struggles and wrote a benign essay about a childhood toy. The only revelation she made about mental health was to the disabilities office in order to get accommodations (which you should consider as well).

I understand the thing about showing how you overcame obstacles, but depression tends to continue or recur and if it leads to suicidal thoughts, yes, colleges might be concerned.

If it is really important to you, there may be other ways to matter of factly tell them you have overcome this obstacle in your life. The supplemental essay, your guidance counselor or in an interview. I am not recommending that at all- but I hear you when you say it is important and it is part of your story. But if you are really compelled to share this, keep it short.

Noone should be ashamed of a mental health issue so not suggesting you hide anything. It’s just that the main essay can be about so many things and you are so much more than your depression.


No to the topic! But… perhaps you can write about something that gave you joy and hope and how it began to fill and shift your world to a brighter place. That thing must be powerful for you to be where you are now.

You can start your essay by saying you were going through a challenging period in your life and that this thing/person/belief/goal gave you a purpose.

Your journey so far shows courage and strength. Let an AO see that and whatever feeds it.