Preparing for College

Cancer Battle as College Essay Topic?

Question: My daughter survived leukemia when she was 12. She is now a senior and a good student living a healthy, normal life. She wants to write her application essay on her battle against cancer, but I fear that even a well-written essay on that topic might suggest to admission committees that accepting her will pose a risk. Should she choose another topic?

We're so glad that your daughter is thriving. An application essay about her successful fight against cancer shouldn't have any negative effect on her admission decisions and could, in fact, have a positive one. That is, the vast majority of admission committees will see her as a survivor--not a victim or a high-risk candidate-and perhaps also view her as someone who is better prepared than many students to discern between what's really important and what's not. (In other words, she won't be the one whining about the college cafeteria food or the reduced hours in the sauna!)

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