Lately, I’ve been struggling with what sorts of topics to write about. I write about my disability often, every day even, and within the last two years it’s become my livelihood. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve been able to slowly build a social media following and pay some bills by writing pieces that offer insight into the world of the lives of people with disabilities. I feel honored that people are interested in my life and what I have to say.
I’ve just wrapped up my junior year of college at a major university that will remain unnamed for the sake of this piece. I study digital/print journalism and minor in entrepreneurship and innovation. Before I begin my senior year, it’s important to me to give advice to those who are trying to enter college for the first time, or for those who don’t know if they are going to college because they are wondering if they even can.
The answer is, yes, you can! I believe you can do anything you put your mind to and getting into college is no exception. But college applications are daunting, and if you are like me, you didn’t have a long list of extracurricular activities to put on your application or include in your essay. That’s probably because you spent a lot of time battling your illness and caring for yourself — use that as a strength.
College applications are looking for who you are as a person on the page, not necessarily how you read based on the lost list of things you did. And believe me, they can tell the difference between someone who’s done all they can to get in and someone who had other priorities, but they can see your education still matters to you, and that’s important.
Here are my top five pieces of advice for getting into your dream college, as someone with cerebral palsy:
- This may be a no-brainer, but don’t deny or downplay your disability on the application. Be honest about your needs and your struggles, where you’ve come from and where you are going. The last thing you want to do is get accepted based on something you are not — you want to know you got in because of who you are.
- Be realistic. If you don’t know what you want to study, say so! There’s no shame in being unsure, but also don’t set goals you may not be able to reach in your application. For example, if you struggle more physically, is a nursing degree and job right for you?
- Let’s talk about essays. For me, I wrote specifically about my struggles and triumphs as a person with a disability. I think it showed strength of character and I think it paid off.
- Apply to multiple schools. I only applied to a community college that I was already enrolled in as a high school study, and while I did visit some schools and researched many more, in the end I really only sent out one application — and I got in. So, I give this advice as a regret that I have.
- Don’t take rejection too hard. If a school turns you down, it’s their loss, not yours. It may not have been the school for you.
Happy college season, and good luck!
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.