Admissions

Should Student Discuss His Depression in his College Essay?

Question: My question is about my son's Common Application essay. In it he discloses being diagnosed with depression a little over a year ago. I think it's a touching, optimistic piece of writing, but it has my husband worried. Would this be a deal-killer for colleges?

You and your husband can call a tie here. I'm asked this question—or similar ones—fairly often, and my standard reply is that I like to review each case individually. In some instances, I feel that an essay that discloses depression (or other mental health concerns) is worthwhile, but in many situations, I recommend that the student should stay mum. Here are some of the factors that go into the advising process:

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