<p>Hi, I am currently a sophomore at Johns Hopkins and I am majoring in Biomedical Engineering.</p>

<p>I have recently been diagnosed with depression and my grades have been plumetting this semester. I may soon decide to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the university so that I can get better without having the additional psychological stress of my grades. </p>

<p>My psychologist said that I should consider transferring to another school. I am a native Rhode Islander, so Brown University natually came to my mind. I was wondering if anybody knew if having a history of depression and having to withdraw from university will have a significant detrimental effect on my application? I am also interested in studying a new field: neuroscience or cognitive science. My interest in these fields have in part been sparked by my depression and previous brain related issues. Thanks so much.</p>

<p>Hi xnwc87,<br>
So glad to hear that you are seeing a professional to deal with your depression. As I'm sure you know, it is very treatable with therapy and/or medication, and it is good that you are thinking about what you will do once it is under control and you are feeling better. My question in reading your post is why your psychologist thinks that you should consider leaving Johns Hopkins. What is it about Hopkins that she thinks could pose problems for you, and what does s/he think you should be looking for (or looking to avoid) in a university? Knowing the answers to these questions should give you a better handle on whether Brown, or any other school you might consider, would be a good place for you.
I'm not sure of the answer to the other part of your question. If and when you are thinking about transferring, it might make sense for you to talk with a professional college consultant to get their recommendations. It occurs to me, also, that unless Hopkins specifically poses a problem for you and it would be bad for you to return there, you might consider returning to complete or redo the work of the semester from which you withdrew and then starting the process of transferring. This could demonstrate to the new schools that you were again doing solid college work with your depression behind you. (Do not even consider this if being at Hopkins is a problem for you.)
Your new interest in neuroscience sounds exciting, and the contributions you make in that field should be particularly satisfying for you. Let us know what happens.</p>

<p>I'm not sure if transferring is the answer. If you don't like Hopkins, or if that is contributing to your depression, then yes, transfer. But if you LIKE it there, there's no reason to leave! By all means take time off, get on the right meds, get counseling, and get better (or back to a functional level). Then return and get a great education and have a great time. </p>

<p>That said, I have bipolar II, and I transfered to Brown. I didn't transfer because of my bipolar II, I transferred because I didn't like Tulane, my old school, all that much and I had wanted to go to Brown originally. Remember, transferring and starting over is hard, so only do it if you want to. Don't let the depression be the deciding factor, let your desire to be at Hopkins (or not) be the deciding factor. </p>

<p>So, concerning Brown...</p>

<p>First, Brown has arguably the best neuroscience program in the country (though I'm sure Hopkins' program is also very good) (part of the reason i transferred, i used to be a neuroscience major. But my meds make my brain now i'm an art major) </p>

<p>Second, there are pros and cons to dealing with mental health issues here. There is a very good support system in terms of the deans and advisors. The school has a mental health dean (which I think is pretty rare) who is spectacular on like 20 million levels. Her name is Dean Carla Hansen, look her up if you come here. I think there may be more mental health deans too. Also, each advisor has only about 10 students so you can build a very personal relationship with your academic/personal advisor (you'll eventually have an academic/personal advisor and a major advisor) which can really help you. The people here REALLY care about your success and well being and will be very supportive in helping you in both areas. </p>

<p>You'll have to find doctors outside of the school health services system. You can only see a school therapist 5 times a year and the psychiatrist is more for on call purposes than treatment. They don't perscribe meds. There are however a lot of people in the area. But if it's 1-2 miles away, plan on walking, they won't grant you a parking permit as a fresh / sophomore so you can drive there. </p>

<p>You'll find that you may need accomodations because of side effects of medications and symptoms of depression itself (a lot of medications make your brain jello like I said before and effect your processing speed and memory. And then there is the inherent difficulty concentrating and anxiety associated with depression)</p>

<p>I find the disability services here less than satisfactory. It's all right, and granted, I'm comparing it to a spectacular program at Tulane, but it's difficult for me to navigate. For example, you have to have much more extensive documentation to get 2x for testing, they usually only grant 1.5x. I'm positive I could get this if I went to the trouble of getting more extensive (and I'm talking EXTENSIVE) documentation. I haven't pursued it because I mostly need it for like math tests and I'm not taking math anymore now that I'm an art major, so it just hasn't come up. But for you, a neuro major, it will. So be prepared. </p>

<p>Also, you have to get accomodations re-approved every semester. That means going back to your doctors EVERY semester and getting them to send that letter in again. Maybe I'm just being snotty and this isn't too much to ask, but I know that my situation hasn't changed, and isn't going to change anytime soon, if ever, and I just feel that dealing with bipolar II (I also have narcolepsy and anxiety) is difficult enough without jumping through so many hoops all the time. </p>

<p>It's also hard to get a private room for tests. You can get one, but they tend to pressure you (or at least lean on you) into being in a quiet room with a few people instead. You have to make a special request every time, even if your accomodations say private room. At Tulane it was downright automatic. And it's always in some random office or classroom near the main testing room, instead of in an establishd center like at Tulane, where you can then get the continuity of being in the same spot, which I have found very helpful. </p>

<p>Back to the issue of getting things approved over and over, I take a reduced course load (reccomended to me by two different doctors, independently), and I didn't know I had to get it reapproved for second semester (like, seriously, my narcolepsy was gonna vanish come december?), and so this summer I became a canidate for academic suspension when the board reviewed how few credits i have considering my semester status. It all got straightened out, but it was stressful and who needs added stress? </p>

<p>If I were more organized and didn't have the problems I have with memory and stuff this system would probably be easier for me. But that said, it's not. </p>

<p>That said, DON'T let the slightly sub par (or more difficult, however you want to read it) disability services here deter you from coming here. It's an annoyance and an obstacle but it's definitely managable. It's just more demanding on your organization, memory, and time. And I'd say the support system here for people with mental illness far outweighs the negatives of the disability services. Tulane, for instance, did not have that kind of support system, and I have found that the good support system is more important than a good disability services. Also, you may not need accomodations to the extent I do. </p>

<p>Also, being close to your parents / home can really help. I'm far away from home, I'm from Oregon, and it's hard. </p>

<p>Anyways, Brown is a fantastic school and I love it here. If you are considering transferring definitely apply here. There are pros and cons but the pros far outweigh the cons. Just be aware of them.</p>

<p>xnwc87 - Depression very much affects one's thought processes. As tempting as it it, don't let your depression make your decision.</p>

<p>I would strongly advise that you become stable with the support of a talk therapist and a psychiatrist who can work with you to find the right medication(s). Loss is the single greatest contributor to depression, setting the biochemical processes in motion. This is why medication is almost always essential and why making a sudden change might not be wise.</p>

<p>Depression is highly treatable. You'll be nothing short of amazed by what the right therapies can do!</p>