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Where do I explain my Social Anxiety Disorder on college application?

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I was finally diagnosed with social anxiety disorder last year as a junior and completed treatment this February, so social anxiety isn't really an issue for me anymore. However, before I received this treatment, I simply wasn't able to communicate with other students or teachers very easily. This means that I couldn't make friends with others very well, and I never answered a question in class unless I was directly asked, and my presentations were weak as well.

Since this was not my fault, I would like to explain this illness somewhere in my application in case my teacher recommendations suffer because of it. My teachers appreciate my work ethic, and a few of them know about my anxiety and have helped me with it, but there simply isn't much for them to write about when it comes to class participation.

I do not want colleges to think that I am lazy, uninterested, or any other reason students may not participate in class. I want them to know that the opposite is true: I have worked very hard to overcome this condition and am now much stronger and look forward to finally being able to participate in classes at college.

I know there is an "additional information" section in the common app, but I am applying through the coalition app, so I'm not sure where to put this information, or how to put it.

I firmly believe that my recovery from anxiety gives me unique and valuable experience/skills, and is certainly not a disadvantage, which I acknowledge colleges may see. How/where should put this in my application? Thank you! :)

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3 answers

answered on[edited]
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Congrats on your recovery process.

Congrats for being brave to disclose this in your question.

Congrats on feeling good about yourself.

Read this article and see if it makes any sense to you. The author is someone currently attends Columbia U. but got there through a winding circuitous arduous journey after being rejected from every college they applied to for disclosing their mental illness in their college application. One could say that in the couple years perhaps things have changed or are changing in the college admissions process but I would err on the side of caution about what you think application readers want to read about.

I believe colleges do no have the right to ask you about your health or mental health in the admissions process but if you volunteer it and create an essay about then who's to say they will not use that in your best interest.

I am not someone who has struggled with mental illness although I can say that in our current COVID-19 world, that might change. I truly only care about helping people make informed decisions and wish everyone to get into their dream college.

Best of luck in your college admissions process.

https://www.columbiaspectator.com/opinion/2019/10/25/the-great-big-blank-mental-illness-in-the-college-admissions-process/

answered on
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I agree with @mrids_xo and I am also writing about mental illness in my essay. The key is to focus on how you've grown and reflect on your experiences rather than dwell on the negative aspects. However, do explain the challenges you have faced and how they have made you stronger. Make the essay unique to you, and you should be fine.

Yeah, agreed. The key is that you want to focus on how you are STRONGER as a result. If you highlight the weaknesses or struggles that you faced in the past colleges will really question your ability to be a strong and independent college student. Best of luck OP and hope things get better :)
answered on
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As someone who has struggled with mental health myself, You can try including about your journey with anxiety in your essay if you are comfortable. This might be a good place to talk about it if required. I too have been thinking about writing about GAD in my essay and if you are really able to outline your struggles and how you come out of them, It might make an impressive personal essay.

Note- I in no way mean to romanticise the idea of having a mental disorder.