Going to College

Transcript: Applying for college


I went ahead and started getting my application for college at the end of my junior year, and with the application you fill it out, a lot of times you can do it online but I did a paper application so that way I could make sure everything was right and also wanted to make copies of it in case something happened and it got lost in the mail, or something happened online I wouldn’t be able to have that paper right in front of me. So you fill out the applications, usually you have to get recommendations from teachers, maybe somebody in the community that knows you very well, and you want to get it from people who will say good things about you, and people who know you well, know you very well, you don’t want to get relatives - a mom or a dad - but you want to get maybe a teacher that you’ve had for a couple of years, or that you feel comfortable with giving you that recommendation. And also you have to write an application essay. The essay doesn’t have to be like 3 pages. Most of the time sometimes you get to pick your own essay and write whatever you want and it’s about maybe a page and a half long. I think mine was about 2 pages. And then another college that I applied for, they actually gave you questions that you had to answer, and it was like 2 questions and had to be a page long for each one of them. A lot of the times the … the essay is optional but you want to make yourself stand out in front of all those other applicants, so put in the essay.


I did disclose my disability in my essay. I think a lot of the college essays were asking like, who are you, why are you going to this school, and your family background or something. So for me, it just came up because it fit in the question. I don’t think I went out of my way to say it, if the question had been like well what do you think of world peace in 20 years or something, I don’t think it would have come up. But because it fit within the college application question, I did put it out there because I felt it was a unique part of me and the whole college experience, the application process is, you’re supposed to make yourself stand out. And I don’t think a learning disability is anything anyone should be ashamed of, so I felt it was something I could use to make me stand out from another student.


I’d definitely disclose my disability in my master’s level of my PhD level applications, but only to the extent, like very briefly to the extent to express why I was interested in the field I was … how my interest got sparked, how my research interests were sparked. And then I move right away from that right into my interests. That can be … I feel very careful about including that information up front. There’s a way to do it if you’re going to do it, to do it in a way that shows … how that helped you be where you are without going into incredible detail because you want the people in the college to focus on your academic ability, and then the disability is part of who you are but it’s not all of who you are and don’t want your academic ability and your other abilities to get overshadowed by the talk of disability up front. So I think it can be really good to put it in there, but like weave it into your story rather than it’s the primary focus of your story.


I disclosed my disability in my essay but I made sure that I talked about all my strengths and didn’t focus so much on my weaknesses and what I couldn’t do, but I focused on how it helped me become a better person in life and what I plan to do and my career goals.