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Mention depression in your college essay? (yes or no)

In this article, we will explain if you should mention depression in your college essay or not, and other important points to remember while writing your college essay.

Mention depression in a college essay?

College essays are meant to provide an insight into your personality that your academic transcripts and certificates do not. They are a way for you to introduce yourself to the college committee. That is why it is important to mention what is your core personality and who you are as a person. If you feel that depression is now a part of you, something that has changed you and has helped you to grow then you should mention it. College administrators and individuals who will review your college essays know that a lot of students these days experience depression and therefore are accepting of it rather than seeing it as an undesirable trait.

Reasons to mention depression in your college essay

In case you wish to mention depression in your college essay here are some reasons why you should:

  • It impacted your high school experience
  • Your academic performance suffered
  • To explain a gap year or period
  • You wish to highlight how you overcame it
  • To show how you turned your weakness into your strength
  • It defines you as a person
  • To highlight how you handle your mental health now

It impacted your high school experience

You shouldn’t just mention your depression in your college essay unless it impacted your high school experience. In case because of depression, you felt that you were unable to participate in the school extracurricular activities or were not able to enjoy it as much as others. Then you can mention it, but ensure that its impact was quite significant in nature. Another reason to mention your depression in your college is to highlight how high school can be a little difficult for some individuals and how it affects one’s mental health negatively. But ensure that you are not blaming the education system but providing a viewpoint.

Your academic performance suffered

In case you were unable to perform well academically due to depression, then you can mention it in your college essay. You can provide an explanation as to why your academy performance suffered so much while reassuring the committee that you have bounced back from it and won’t let it affect your college grades now. Especially if you were a student who used to score very high marks and in a particular year were not able to score as much. In case there are inconsistencies between your grades you can use your college essay and an explanation platform for it.

To explain a gap year or period

In case you took a gap year or period during your school or after your high school ended you can mention your depression in your college essay. Be sure to explain how and why it was necessary for you to take this year, build upon your mental health and how you were able to successfully overcome depression after taking this gap year. Mention how you felt during this time of period and how other people like your family members, friends and classmates help you with it. Mention how your experience during the gap years was, what other activities did you learn or do during this time period, be sure to mention any internship or course that you did. 

You wish to highlight how you overcame it

A reason to mention depression in your college is it could be to illustrate your journey on how you overcame depression. You could mention the feelings and the emotions that you went through during this time, how your family and friends helped you, and what different activities did you engage in to help with depression. You could also mention your journey of self-realization during the therapy sessions or how going through depression changed your outlook on life and the world in general.

To show how you turned your weakness into your strength

You can mention depression in your college essay to show them how you turned your weakness into your strength, that is how you overcame depression, and rather than seeing it as a mistake turned it into a learning experience. Mention what you learned during this time of yours and how your outlook towards life is no different from before. 

It defines you as a person

If you feel that you are a different person because of depression you can mention it in your college essay explaining what changes it brought in you. In the essay explain what type of a person you were before and how depression changed things about you that you are now proud of. Be sure to only mention in your college essay if you feel that it has changed you and the definition of who you are. Explain your journey from your older self to new you and highlight what realizations you mean about yourself.

To highlight how you handle your mental health now

If you feel that you are more and better equipped at handling your mental health and actively taking steps to improve it even now, mention your depression in your college essay. In case you have started ensuring that you do yoga or practice mindfulness, take out time to explore your hobbies then it is a good idea to mention these things in your college essay.

Points to remember when you want to mention depression in your college essay

Here are a few points that you must remember while writing and mentioning depression in your college essay:

  • You are not alone
  • It is okay to talk about your struggles
  • You are more than just being depressed
  • Focus on your coping skills
  • Research about your college’s counseling services

You are not alone

Remember that you’re not alone and that many students just like you have also struggled through depression and gotten into college. College administrators know that and know how tough it can be to deal with and overcome depression. Knowing that you have gone through something as life-changing as depression and come and be able to come out of it. It takes a lot of courage and strength to be able to do that. You are understood and wanted by colleges based on who you are now. 

It is okay to talk about your struggles

Depression is not an easy thing to go through and it is even harder to overcome it and begin to rebuild your life. It is okay to talk about your struggles, you’re weak moments and times when it was tough for you. Be confident about your life journey and the obstacles that you have faced. There is nothing for you to hide or be ashamed of. Be comfortable in talking and expressing about depression as it will show your maturity and how well you can handle adversities in life.

You are more than just being depressed

Remember that depression is something that happened to you and that it does not define who you are. You’re more than just being depressed you’re also all your other personalities and traits. Just like if a person has a cough we do not say that they are “cough”, similarly you had or have depression but you are not “depression”. Do not let depression be the only thing that defines you as you are much more than that.

Focus on your coping skills

While writing the college essay be sure to mention what different coping skills and mechanisms did you use to overcome depression. Don’t let the college essay just be about your struggles and the problems that you faced. Mention how you tackled them and overcame them. The faculty is more interested in knowing how you deal with difficulties and problems in life rather than which problem you faced. So let your essay be more about the coping skills that you have used and the new ones that you developed because of depression rather than talking just about the downfalls that depression caused.

Research about your college’s counseling services

While applying to a college ensure that you go through the website properly and research as to what counseling services your college provides in case you have difficulty keeping up with the curriculum and college life. This will also help you have an understanding of what your college’s approach to mental health is. If the college has a proper counseling center where 24*7 help is available. It indicates that the college is aware of the importance of mental health and is working actively to ensure that the students are given the proper treatment and care they wish for.

In this article, we explained if you should mention depression in your college essay or not, and other important points to remember while writing your college essay.

FAQs: Mention depression in a college essay? 

Is it okay to write about depression in a college essay?

It is okay to write about depression in a college essay when you are mentioning it to explain an inconsistency in your academic records. For example, explaining a gap year or drop in grades.

Is it OK to write about mental health in college essays?

It is ok to write about mental health in college essays, but avoid making it the main essay. You can mention it if you deem it to be very important. It is preferable if you do not write your main essay about your mental health.

What should you not write your college essay on?

You should not be bragging about your accomplishments and achievements in your college essay. Your transcripts and other certificates will do that for you. Avoid writing about highly sensitive topics and illegal or illicit behaviors you might have been a part of in the past. Also do not write about how lucky you are to be able to apply there.

Is it bad to swear in a college essay?

Yes, it is a terrible idea to swear in a college essay as many articles by college admission boards have mentioned that using profanities in college essays leads to people losing their seats. They consider using swear words a significant mistake that every student must avoid.

What are the best college essay topics?

The best college essay topics are where one shares their life story, how they learned from difficulties in life, when they challenged a long-held belief of theirs or how they grew as an individual. It can mention things that captivate you, people you admire, or any other topic of your choice. 

Do colleges look at mental health records?

It is actually illegal for college to specifically ask for details regarding your mental or physical health. As it is considered discrimination, they can not look at your mental health records.

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioral therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References 

https://www.collegetransitions.com/blog/tackling-depression-anxiety-on-your-college-application-and-beyond

https://www.noodle.com/articles/how-to-discuss-your-mental-health-on-college-applications

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