oversharing in college essays
hi! I've been struggling to come up with a topic for my college essay, and a topic I think would be good to talk about is my mental health, specifically my ed. my friend said this would be oversharing and I shouldn't, and this possibility hadn't even crossed my mind before. where is the line for oversharing in essays?
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I've read multiple articles written by college admissions counselors and they all say that you should avoid topics relating to your mental health. I think that talking about your ED seems like a good idea because it is probably something that has greatly affected your life and that if you've overcome, shows great resilience and personal growth. However, LOTS of people are already writing and have written about topics like this. You want to give the person reading your essay a topic that is unique to you, and also something that will make them see why you are a good choice for their college. While this isn't a good thing and mental health topics need to be de-stigmatized, some college admissions counselors might also find your essay triggering or disturbing depending on how much detail you go into. If your ED emerged during quarantine, you might be able to talk about it in the "Additional Information" section of the Common App.
I have some articles here that really helped when choosing what to write about: https://www.story2.com/blog/10-things-never-do-in-college-application-essays
Your friend is partially right. You can overshare when writing your college essay but this should not discourage you. The best way to ensure that your essay is a good one is to choose a topic that inspires you or is important to you. Writing about your ED is not oversharing as long as you can expand on this topic further.
My suggestion is to start by discussing challenges and overcoming them. Then, explain what challenges you faced because of mental health problems, providing an example of these challenges. During the example portion, you can then expand upon your personal challenges when dealing with an ED. Finally, tie it all together by concluding your essay with why/how the challenges you shared changed you.
In addition, you might include how you plan to help others facing these same struggles during your time at the college you are applying to or how you will combine your degree and personal experience to help these individuals.
I would say as long as you state about your unique situation to the admission officer and talk about how it impacted your life, without sounding redundant, it could help them get a better grasp of your personal life. Like what @yu_li243 said it could help de-stigmatize some of the tabooed topics.
I think sharing something like an ed could be acceptable in a college essay as long as you talk about how your recovery/healing from this shaped you and how you are overcoming it. Colleges are starting to take a more nuanced approach when reviewing applications, and they aren't expecting students to be as perfect anymore. However, the key is learning from your experiences, and showing colleges how you overcame challenges you faced, including eds. I hope this helps and good luck with applications :)
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