2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Is writing about your family and the unfair pressure you have put on you an okay topic to write about?

I believe my family has put unfair pressure on me and I want colleges to know that and understand that I am able to extract this unjust pressure from my conscience.

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3 answers

2 years ago[edited]

Colleges admissions officers only have 1 job. That job is to curate and shape the incoming freshman class of cohorts that best exemplifies their high standards, expectations and goals for the school. They are not in the business of weighing in on what is fair or not fair in terms of pressure or expectations from your family. They are not mental health professionals. Nor should you expect them to take sides with or against your family, nor to take pity on you, nor sway their decision in your favor because they feel sorry for you.

Colleges know that until you reach the age of 21, unless you are completely emancipated and independent from your family, both you and your family are legally responsible for either paying or contributing for your higher educational costs including tuition, room and board. So they are not going to take sides for or against the people responsible for the paying the bills of the college you are applying to. Even if you apply for financial aid, you are going to need your family to cooperate for the next 4 years of college filing out either the CSS Profile docs, the FAFSA, or both so they want to make the paperwork go as smoothly as possible to risk manage their finances. What they do not want is to work with a family that is arguing and fighting and holding up the process because that means they are wasting their time and would rather have the space filled with some other admit who is going to get things done. I mention this because most applicants do not full comprehend that colleges are a business and they have to get the machinery oiled and working to keep it going smoothly.

My advice to you is to get help with your feelings and mental health. Things do not get easier with college than high school. If you get into a good college, your family will not do anything differently when you are under real time crunches, and challenges with keeping up with the reading and assignments. So get as square as best your can with your emotional and mental health before you embark on college. It is harder and more stressful.

Try to balance your college list with colleges your parents expect you to apply to and college that are a better fit for you as a person. You can tell your parents your list are safety schools. The best way to manage your family is to find a great, supportive school that is difficult for them to visit you on weekends or breaks. So you might think about smaller liberal arts colleges near more regional airports that are harder to fly in an out of. And if you are applying to Ivys pick the ones no one wants to drive to like Cornell and Dartmouth. Pick liberal arts colleges like Bowdoin, Hamilton, Colgate, Middlebury, Bates, St. Lawrence and Bennington College. Or Grinnell, Kenyon, Carlton, Colorado College, Reed College.

Family and parents don't change but you can place a physical barrier between you and them while you try to find your family of choice and make new life long friends in a safe and supportive environment. I didn't get along with my mom so now when I go to Columbia there is 2500 miles between us and a 3 hour time difference. She is proud of my accomplishments but understands that the she just can't pop into my dorm like most parents do if you pick a college in your home state.

Don't write about pain and suffering because that is not your best attribute. You never want to say your best asset is your ability to put up with things. You should write about something unique and special about yourself. Use the 650 words to celebrate and share the best part of yourself with your future college okay.

Good luck.

2 years ago

As long as you mention your personal growth rather than simply trauma dumping. Colleges read a lot of scholarships essays about family issues and want to see you either 1. do something different or 2. Incorporate it into a lesson learned and how this experience encourages you to keep imporving.

2 years ago

That should be fine as long as you remember to show how this has helped you grow academically and as a person, and it isn't just trauma dumping . I hope this helps!

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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