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09/07/2019

college application essay–mention a therapist?

QUESTION
college application essay–mention a therapist?
I am in the process of writing an essay for a college application– “indentify a person who has had an significant influence on you, describe that influence,” and I want to use my therapist. I used to (and still occasionally) suffer from social anxiety, and get really uncomfortable and nervous during social situations. My therapist helped me to see that I can really branch out and talk to others, and that they’re not always judging me. I was wondering if it was weird if I mention a therapist? Like, will they think, “this girl has problems,” or will it be a good essay topic? should I choose someone else?

ANSWER
1) Major universities do not have mental health counseling for students without reason.
2) If anything, this gives you an interesting story – you are open, willing to share, etc. It is thought-provoking, and gives you uniqueness
3) Admissions committee members are college-educated, hold advanced degrees, and are solidly middle-class. Going to a therapist is unlikely to be off-putting, since many of them probably see therapists (or have seen them in the past)
4) Mild forms of mental illness (not trying to minimize your symptoms), unlike psychosis, bipolar disorder, or other stigmatized conditions, are less likely to be off-putting to a cosmopolitan, educated audience. Depression is not uncommon among college students, once again, and these people know it – they may have experienced it themselves. Major public figures have revealed they suffer from depression (e.g. Rachel Maddow). It does not carry the sort of stigma it used to.

I would say go for it. It’s a terrific essay topic.