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3 months ago
Admissions Advice

Is writing about depression and anxiety in college essays considered a cliché?
Answered

From the perspective of college admissions officers, I often wonder if it is a boring and commonly written-about subject that students should refrain from writing about. I, myself, have an essay written about mental health struggles, but I'm afraid that it might be put to the side due to its topic alone. Any thoughts?

collegeessays
mentalhealth
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4 answers

3
Accepted Answer
3 months ago

This can either go two ways: one where you just talk about your depression and anxiety, and one where you talk about what you did to overcome the challenges from your depression and anxiety. You are aiming for that second option, as colleges are looking to see how you perform in spite of difficult challenges.

I actually brought up my depression in my main college essay as well. However, instead of just focusing on that and how I felt during that time, I instead focused on how I overcome that depression. I started taking part in extracurricular activities, I was part of leadership and helped my school as much as possible, and much more. Focus on those things than just talking about your struggles.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you want me to explain it more!!

-Evan

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4
3 months ago

I agree with @simpsonah16 that it's more the way you write about it rather than the general topic itself. If you write it in a general/cliche way, then it will be cliche. If you talk about some interesting or insightful thing within the general category of mental health, then it could be great.

I also just wanted to add that it's a bit of a dicey topic because there are lots of ways that a mental health essay could accidentally make them worry about your abilities instead of showing your strengths. Make sure to think a lot about how you write about it; try not to focus on the negatives too too much and focus more on specific personal insight.

Hope this helped!

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3 months ago

I would say it entirely depends. Speaking about mental health in general may well be considered a cliché, but the entire point of a college essay is to be personal to you. If you are able to expand on your own personal mental health struggles and be specific as to how this has affected your own life, how you have grown, etc., it could still be a fantastic essay.

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-3
3 months ago

sorry, but do not recommend that topic. depression and anxiety are common health conditions (not to make light of your health condition, but super common), and it could make you seem fragile and/or self absorbed and not mature if you pick that topic. I appreciate you are tyring to be authentic and vulnerable in an essay, but you are so much more than your anxiety or depression. it would not make you stand out as unique ... that alone might get you put aside. No doubt you have way more interesting stories to tell about yourself.

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