Q&A: Can I talk about a mental illness on my college applications as a reason for a dip in my grades?
Q: Can I talk about a mental illness on my college applications as a reason for a dip in my grades?
A: As an on-again, off-again admissions reader, I’ve always been trained to take into account extenuating circumstances like an illness (in whatever form) or death in the family when evaluating an applicant’s profile.
This type of info should be detailed in the additional information sections of your college application for sure, but can also serve as a main focus for the primary personal statement. Overall, I recommend you include any information about the impacts of a mental illness in your application, especially if you think it has had an effect (and it most likely would) on your academics or life in general. For example, if you had a two-week hospital stay and missed classes during that time period, you might include that information in the optional essay section to explain a slight dip in grades during that particular semester.
No matter what you decide to include in your college application, know that mental illness is not a disqualifier for attending college, especially if you’ve learned to manage it effectively. The ability to overcome personal adversity is an important skill to have in your toolkit and one that admissions officers recognize and admire in it’s prospective students.
Note: If it’s an extremely personal circumstance, as in one you don’t want to be included in your official application that gets sent to your email after you hit submit on those app systems, you can also send an email to the admissions team at each school, before the application deadline, and your message should be included in the application packet at your request.