Transfer Student-Gap Semester after Medical Leave


<p>I have a question about how to explain a gap semester to the 5 schools I'm applying to transfer to.</p>

<p>It's a bit complicated, so I'll do my best to make it clear.</p>

<p>After high school, I spent 1 semester (fall 2009) at an out of state liberal arts college before having to take medical leave for depression (bipolar disorder). I was told by the dean that I could go back to the school the next fall (2010), if I had a letter from my doctor proving that I was stable enough to return to school. I attended a local community college at home the spring semester in 2010, and had been stable ever since coming home from my medical leave.</p>

<p>Since everything had been going well, (good grades at the CC and no emotional problems), I was admitted back to my LAC this last fall (2010).</p>

<p>I was fine for the first month back at my LAC, but in early October, I had another episode and had to be hospitalized. Needless to say, I was put on medical leave again, and had to return home.</p>

<p>The problem is that when I came back this fall in October from my LAC (the second time),
I had missed the deadline to register for classes at the CC. So, I wasn't in school from October to January.</p>

<p>I'm not going back to my LAC, since it's far from home, and it would be hard socially going back after everything. I'm applying to some LACs close to home in CA and UC Santa Cruz, but I don't know how to explain my gap semester. The colleges I'm applying to will no doubt know that I left my first college because of medical issues, but I'm worried that if they know that I went back there after medical leave, only to have another episode and come home (therefore missing CC registration) I will seem very unstable and a bad choice.</p>

<p>The other issue is that during my gap semester, I foolishly didn't do anything especially productive (didn't travel, work, or volunteer). I did help my parents manage and renovate their real estate (painting, stripping walls, manual work etc) which was very time consuming but I only helped because I had some free time. </p>

<p>My grades are good (4.0 last semester at CC), my high school test scores are good too. I had a job all throughout high school as a tutor, volunteered a lot in high school (as well as having a few other ECs) and my transfer essays are pretty strong, but I think the gap semester will be a problem.</p>

<p>I'm applying this fall to transfer fall 2012, and have decided to volunteer a lot this year, to make up for my lack of extracurriculars in the past year or so.</p>

<p>Any suggestions on how to handle the gap semester?</p>

Sorry for such a long winded post!</p>