Preparing for College

Are Tell-All Admission Essays Risky or Advantageous?

Question: My nephew's father has serious medical and mental health problems. Will writing about these in his college essay give my nephew an edge in the admission process or is this topic too risky?

Writing a personal statement that is truly personal is far from risky these days. In fact, times have changed a lot since the typical application essay touted the triumphs of the debate society or the challenges of tackling AP French. Admission officers are more than accustomed to reading about family illnesses, divorces, substance abuse and other matters that used to stay behind tightly closed doors. Whatever the issue, if you’ve seen it on “Jerry Springer,” you can almost guarantee that an application essay has mentioned it as well.

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