Which is tougher- cancer or college admissions? ;-)

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: March 2003 Archive: Which is tougher- cancer or college admissions? ;-)
By Kelsoola (Kelsoola) on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 12:27 am: Edit

I posted this in a thread started by another cancer survivor, but I realized it wouldn't get bumped up to the front because it was in the archives.

I'd like to know whether being a cancer survivor could help me out in college admissions. I've been "playing the cancer card" for years, so I see no reason to stop now.

I am a survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I have been in remission since I was 8 years old. I also attend and volunteer at a camp for kids with cancer and I'm training to run a marathon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in December of 2003 (I'm currently a junior, so this would be right around the crazymaking time for college admissions - I think I might be insane).

I have high test scores but my grades aren't great (3.7ish at a prestigious private school). My ECs aren't stellar or anything...no sports (except for a disastrous stint on crew freshman year - don't even ask!). I tutor during the school year and teach during the summer at a summer program for underprivileged youth I went to when I was younger. I founded a club for public school kids at my school. I'm a member of Multicultural Alliance and some other clubs.

Is the cancer thing enough of a hook? Would the marathon/cancer thing impress college admissions officers? I'm planning on applying to a mix of different schools, with one or two of Ivy caliber included as reaches (definitely Yale, maybe Princeton also, probably Brown, possibly even MIT for architecture). What do you all think? Thanks for a quick reply.

By Phantesi (Phantesi) on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 02:30 pm: Edit

Haha Kelsoola! I'm glad that there's someone else out there with the same question. My stats are great compared to a lot of schools, but for the Ivies....who knows? I've only been dealing with it for 2 years though, not 9(or so). Also-my EC's aren't so great. I'll definitely let you know how I fare in the admissions process though so at least you'll have a decent clue...April can't come fast enough!

By Kelsoola (Kelsoola) on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 02:47 pm: Edit

What kind of non-Hodgkin's did you have? I had Burkitt's. Of course, that also means that I only had 4 months of intensive chemo, so it's kind of a "pussy" cancer - certainly not leukemia or anything like that. I'm not sure it even really counts! It's also been a long time since I was actually sick, so I think the statute of limitations on my cancer-card playing may have run out. I'm so impressed with my friends who have battled cancer and high school at the same time - *I* would definitely let you in! I think it shows that you can handle anything, including the Ivy League. Then again, I'm not an admissions officer, so what do I know?

By Momx3 (Momx3) on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 04:29 pm: Edit

As a marathoner myself, I would caution you against running them so young. Even when well trained the distance is hard on the body and more importantly the immune system. Why not wait until your mid 20's to go the distance. Instead do a half- marathon or better yet a triathalon. Good luck

By Kelsoola (Kelsoola) on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 04:43 pm: Edit

Well, I've talked to my doctor and she's given me the thumbs up. Since I've been healthy for so long, my immune system isn't much of an issue. Thanks for the advice, though. I am still considering whether I will do it or not.

By Phantesi (Phantesi) on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 09:14 pm: Edit

I had Ki-1 Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
I only had 4 months of intensive chemo, so it's kind of a "pussy" cancer
Haha that's a great way to describe it! I had 6-7 months of intensive chemo also. I feel the same way, but cancer is cancer and how many ppl can say that they've had it?
I have a whole bunch of friends who battled cancer-most around the age of 14 when they had/have it-so it's kinda hard for me to compare to them. But I know one of them was diagnosed last year and had surgery and is now finishing up her first year at west chester. No one from my school tries to get into the Ivies, but my oncologist convinced me to try it.
He thinks I'll get in....but who knows? I'm keeping my fingers crossed though...
Anyway, good luck with your marathon! I can't even pass the running tests in gym class at school, so the more power to you!

By Kelsoola (Kelsoola) on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 12:57 pm: Edit


By Subjecttochange (Subjecttochange) on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 04:07 pm: Edit

i don't know that much about that specific type of cancer, but does it still hinder your life a lot?

because you can't really use the overcoming it thing, since you were 8, and that is why too young to write about.

but yes, the admission officers are humans too, they will be reluctant to reject you, if you have cancer.

By Phantesi (Phantesi) on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 08:25 pm: Edit

Well, I've found out that college admissions are apparently tougher. My advice is work your butt off-you're gonna have to. I was rejected from Princeton, Cornell, and Harvard, even though I am a cancer survivor and believe me they knew it. I'd say join a sport and get very active in your school's extracurriculars. I hope you have better luck than I did.

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