Preparing for College

Admission Advice for Student with an Anxiety Disorder

Question: Throughout my three (so far) years of high school, my grades have suffered because I have an anxiety disorder. My grades are not awful, and I've taken quite a few honors and AP classes--as many as i can manage--but I don't know how to explain the erratic marks and absences. If I tell a college that I suffer from illness, they will most likely consider me a liability and reject me, but I feel that my transcript does require some explanation. How should I handle this?

We appreciate the bind that you feel you're in, but rest assured that admission officials are very accustomed to seeing--and admitting--applicants with stories similar to yours. You are correct in believing that it's important to explain irregularities in your transcript. You can do it succinctly, without going into excessive detail, much as you have done here. In a supplemental essay or letter (preferably not your MAIN essay) briefly discuss your diagnosis, treatment, and some of the obstacles you've hurdled. Be sure to balance that with the good news. That is, mention the tough classes you've handled successfully along with other endeavors with which you've fared well. It would also be useful to include a letter from a current or recent doctor or therapist that is also succinct and states clearly that you understand your condition and have a fruitful college career ahead of you.

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