Admissions

Should We--or Shouldn't We--Disclose ADHD?

Question: My daughter, who is a senior, is very intelligent and has done very well in school (3.9 gpa, several honors classes and 2 APs included), but a few snags in her academic picture have me wondering if she should do something I know she would hate — but might help her in the long run. Namely, should she tell the colleges she’s applying to that she has ADHD? On the surface, she has the qualities colleges look for — open, intellectual mind, lust for learning, passionate about her drawing and poetry. But 1) her ACTs  (28 composite) came in pretty low for someone who did extremely well on the PLAN test and who got 5s on both of the AP tests she took last year; and 2) she has pursued honors level courses for only half her classes, and will only have 4 AP courses under her belt by the end of her senior year. Some of the colleges she’s interested in include U. Delaware, Brandeis, Kenyon, and Marquette. In your opinion, would it help or hurt her to reveal her ADHD?

“The Dean” has answered this question a gazillion times but each response may be slightly different than the one that preceded it because it really depends on the student herself.  In this case, from what you’ve told me about your daughter, I suggest that she NOT disclose her ADHD to her target colleges.

Why? Well, in a perfect world, colleges wouldn’t discriminate against an applicant with any sort of disability (in fact, they’re not allowed to).  But colleges also do not have to reveal their reasons behind a denial, and I believe that discrimination is out there, whether the college folks own up to it or not.

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