a year ago
Admissions Advice

I've written my common app essay about baking, is it okay that I've mentioned my eating disorder?

My essay is about how my love of/relationship with baking has changed over time. Part of my essay describes the way it changed once I developed an eating disorder. I don't mean to make it the focus of my essay and I know writing about these kinds of topics can be tricky/taboo. Any advice?

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Accepted Answer
a year ago

So don’t be all dark and gloomy but mentioning a ED is perfectly acceptable but don’t for lack of a better term seek sympathy. An essay is about yourself so if you talk about what makes you you you should be fine. Typically I’d say to not write about ED directly but as you talk about your relationship with baking an ED will definitely fit/okay to mention.

Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify!

a year ago

@DebaterMAX gave really good advice here and I just wanted to add my point of view. How you talk about the eating disorder (how long you spend discussing it, the tone you use, word choice, etc) will definitely affect how it is received by an admissions officer. It's similar to other "taboo" subjects for an admissions essay like religion or politics. These topics aren't really "off-limits" to talk about, just like writing your essay about a sports injury isn't "off-limits," it's just that most people advise against writing on those topics because it can be difficult to pull off correctly. In terms of an essay which includes religion or politics it's often difficult to not come off as preachy and in terms of a sports injury essay it's difficult to stand out as unique.

In your case, it sounds like your essay focuses much more on baking which I think already puts you in a good position. That's an interesting topic and I bet whoever reads your essay hasn't read too many before which focus on baking. Since you're focusing on your relationship with baking I think talking about the eating disorder will be an important part. First, because it no doubt had an impact on your relationship with baking and second, if you've overcome the disorder I would bet your relationship with baking improved and that makes for a good story. Similar to what @DebaterMAX said, as long as the eating disorder isn't the sole focus of your essay it's OK to mention.


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