Preparing for College

Reporting Anxiety Disorder on College Applications

Question: I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder that has affected my grades and attendance throughout high school. I have earned some top grades in honors and AP classes, but a problem is apparent from my erratic transcript, and I think I need to explain it. How shall I handle this when I start applying to colleges? Will I be rejected because of my illness?

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 in 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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