Should Sister's Death Be Mentioned to Colleges?

Question: I’m looking for some advice on how to handle an unusual situation regarding a family tragedy we faced (and are facing) and my daughter’s college applications.

Last year, my 15-year-old daughter died suddenly – almost overnight – due to an infection (she was diabetic). To make things worse, a month later, our community was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. We lost power and all other services for almost three weeks, couldn’t get gasoline, and saw many nearby homes destroyed. Our house had some flood damage as well, but we were able to repair it for about $10,000. We struggled for weeks to become functional again, and it was months before life in our area became basically normal. At the same time, we were still reeling from our daughter’s death. That whole period was an incredible struggle for our family, as you can imagine.

The question I have is regarding my older daughter. She’s now going into her senior year, and I’m wondering if colleges should be told about what she experienced. She coped with losing her sister and best friend by working even harder in school and still staying just as active in all her school activities. Her academic performance remained steady. In fact, she is ranked 10th in a class of 500 at a very good public school.

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