Overcoming depression - How will this look in applications

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: May 2003 Archive: Overcoming depression - How will this look in applications
By Rockofeller (Rockofeller) on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 12:49 am: Edit

I have high aspirations for college. I would love to go to UChicago but realize something like UCberkeley is a more realistic goal (im from CA). I have clinical depression and its been really tough for me in school for over a year, and my gpa is now 3.6 unweighted overall as a junior. I was wondering if it would help my chances in applications if I wrote about overcoming my depression (im in the process of it right now) and showed it with better grades this semester and senior fall. Could that greatly increase my chances at top colleges?

By Lateralus (Lateralus) on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 02:14 am: Edit

just curious, was your depression caused by school?? if so, i don't know how much sympathy that will evoke in the black hearts of admission officers.

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 06:29 am: Edit

I think this is probably a subject you should stay away from. The dangers are 1) some people don't understand how difficult this can be, 2) some people who have had depression respond to medication very quickly, so they don't understand how difficult this can be, and 3) as a rule it's a bad idea to be obviously trying to pull the sympathy vote. Undoubtedly, this issue ahould be addressed if it's affected your grades, but it would be much better coming as a factual statement in your GC's rec.

I commend you for addressing this issue, as I know how crippling clinical depression can be. Good luck.

By Tenisghs (Tenisghs) on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 10:45 am: Edit

College students suffer depression. Depression and eating disorders are the most overdone "hooks." Don't do it. You're not gonna impress the admission officers. Hell, one of them may have depression and won't have sympathy for you.

By Rockofeller (Rockofeller) on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 01:49 pm: Edit

This is a school related depression, although the actual reasons for it i dont really know. Anyway, thanks for responding. Even if it can't help me in admissions i obviously want to overcome this for my happiness and grades. Thanks

By Starbyrst (Starbyrst) on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 04:28 pm: Edit

The risk I see is overwhelming an admissions officer, but if you want to risk it, and are a good enough writer to pull off a well-written, light, yet not pulling at heartstrings essay, I say go for it. Don't to it to try to increase your shot at admissions, do it because it's something that has played an important role in shaping your life. Good luck with everything.

By Kelly_Johnson (Kelly_Johnson) on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 06:27 pm: Edit

Don't write an essay about it, but have you guidance person make it clear that you have/had clinical depression. I am also a junior, and I am starting to recover from depression. It greatly affected my 10th grade grades, but since then, my grades have become noticably better. (Although it was not like they were absolutely awful before, anyway) Anyway, I think anyone with depression should mention it. It is an actual illness. If you had cancer, you would want to mention it. Again, don't overplay it, and do not try to evoke sympathy, but just explain that it affected your performance, and I think they will understand.

By Yz16 (Yz16) on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 06:39 am: Edit

definitely mention something abotu it in your essay - even if you make it sound off-handed.

i personally know someone with clinical depression. She cannot stay in school without suffering panic attacks and some of the teacher-pricks at this school openly despise her for it. This student's gone from our top music and science student to a wreck. While admin officers and some of the people on this board may not relate to this, if you can write well on describing what it's like and how you're a stronger peson now as a result, i say go for it.

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 03:46 pm: Edit

Don't write an essay about it. There are so many over-diagnosed cases, and the fact that its so popular now frankly won't give you any merit, even if you do have it.

By Tenisghs (Tenisghs) on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 03:50 pm: Edit

Current college students have clinical depression too!!! Don't write it.

By Divingin (Divingin) on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 06:40 am: Edit

no ... stay away from writing about depression. although it's such a dark time that seems like something you could write passionately about (and i'm sure you could) i would advise staying away from it. ppl who haven't been thru it MAY write it off as not being a great essay even though you feel strongly about it.

By Andrew05 (Andrew05) on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 06:07 pm: Edit

Hello, I am currently ending my sophomore year in HS. Yea, I've been told that it's a little early. I have been through perhaps the worst experiences of any high shooting scholar. It all started in Elementary school through the 6th grade. I was at the very top of my class, never got less than 100%s on anything, however, things took a turn for the worst. Starting in the seventh grade, I developed severe depression and as a consequence, my grades suffered. It got to the point where I wasn't doing huge projects that were 1/3 of my entire grade. This coming from a person who got mad when they got one question wrong on tests in previous years. Because of my illness, I wasn't recommended for the highest classes for HS, only honors classes (a step down from GT). Sadly, my notorious trend of bad grades continued through Freshman year where I ended up with a cumulative GPA of 3.07. This, again, not even hinting at my ability level.

***Also, may I add as a side note that my HS is the top public school in Maryland and the top 1/4th of the graduating class can pretty much get in where they want to...Top 15% can go ivy league without trouble.***

However, this year, my sophomore year, I turned things around in a big way. My grades for the first 3 quarters have been 3.57, 4.0, and 3.86. I am looking at a most probable 3.86 for the year. I did farily well on my PSATs, however I hope to improve it dramatically once I get a class or two under my belt (1400-1500 Range). Next year, I am enrolled in all GT classes again, even in English and Social Studies surpassing the GT mark to the prestigious Humanities program. (A mixture of Art, Music, English, and Social Studies) Out of our entire region, only our school offers the Humanities program because it is intended for the "Higher thinkers" who generally take aim at attending my school because of its reputation.

Here is how my schedule for next year looks:
1. Physics GT
2. HUM English 11 GT
3. HUM American History APGT
4. Spanish 4 Honors
5. Java AP
6. Precalculus GT
7. Art III AP

On top of this schedule, I am in the Maryland Technology Honors Society, I am on the "It's Academic" team, I plan to: Play Varsity Soccer, Indoor Track, Varsity Lacrosse, do as many clubs as possible, NHS, Spanish Honors Society, and work a job.

Ok now for the questions....
1. Are my issues rare for applicants to the better schools (Ivy League, Better Technology Schools)?
2. What are my chances at a school like Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, or Cornell (My top 3 choices).
3. How much does freshman year really matter?
4. Will admissions officers notice my significant improvement maybe to evoke that slight chance of accepting someone who has been through such turmoil?
5. My classes haven't been all that difficult, nor will my class rank be amazing, however will addmissions officers "throw my application out" just because I wasn't challenged enough, or I didn't graduate as high as the rest?

Thank you for the great deal of time that you put into reading this. I look foreward to your feedback.


By Andrew05 (Andrew05) on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 06:18 pm: Edit

I posted that before looking at some of your remarks...I realize that many college students currently have depression, but THEY ALREADY GOT PAST THE HARD PART...getting accepted is what people aim at. Nobody cares what you contract as a result of being overwhelmed once you are in! You people obviously have no idea what it is like to be smart as all hell and come home to sit down in front of the TV all afternoon because you can't do your work. You people never heard of such a thing because nobody influenced you out of doing your work. You just did it, and now you are telling us to forget it ever happened even if it impacted the one thing we have been working for our entire teenage life?! SHAME ON YOU ALL. YOU ARE TOTALLY INEPT TO THE HARDSHIPS EVOKED BY SUCH AN ILLNESS. I WAS READY TO KILL MYSELF, SCHOOL WAS THE LAST THING ON MY MIND. IF I AM ABLE TO TURN THAT AROUND....WHY THE HELL SHOULDN'T I INCLUDE IT IN MY APPLICATION?! what the hell do i tell admissions officers? "OH, IM SORRY ABOUT MY GRADES...I WASN'T AS BLESSED AS ALL OF THE OTHER SMART PEOPLE OUT THERE!!!!"

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