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Should I mention this?

Discussion in 'Pre-Optometry' started by mmurill3, Feb 16, 2012.

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  1. mmurill3

    mmurill3

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    I have to say I don't have the best grades ever, I have recently came to find out I have been dealing with either adhd or depression since my teens (at least). I went to my school counseling center and I was treated with depression [they are very limited on what they can do with adhd because of students abusing adhd medication]. During the period I was on depression meds, I did do well in classes, however I have since came off the medication. I do plan on seeing a counselor/psychiatrist soon to continue some kind of treatment, however I was wondering if I should mention my untreated depression/adhd in my personal statement.

    I don't want to seem like im blaming that for my bad grades, but it did affect them. Will schools look at it as an excuse? Can I mention that it's something that I have not taken lightly and am looking to take control of, because I know I can do better?

    Any advice would be appreciated!
  2. zaizian

    zaizian

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    optometry school may see you having problem catching up with optometry curriculum if you say you are untreated. Better to treat now and say you are well and are prepared to study hardcore.
  3. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    I don't know if you should mention it in your personal statement but you should definitely use (or abuse) the Americans with Disabilities Act that can give you extra time on your OAT or your MCAT and/or your board exams.
  4. mmurill3

    mmurill3

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    How do I say I am going to treat soon (I am seeing the doctor in 2 weeks), without saying Im not currently being treated, or giving the impression that I am doing nothing about my condition?

    So overall would it be a smart idea to mention my condition, as long as I say im being proactive about it?
  5. mmurill3

    mmurill3

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    I hadn't even thought about it, I tend to forget I have a medical condition, as I have grown up all my life thinking I was "normal."
    So i'm not really familiar with the act..I am scheduled to take the OAT in a week, would you know how I could go about possibly requesting this extra time?
  6. optoapp2012

    optoapp2012

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    For the OAT - you need to contact the testing administration ASAP, because those requests can take a very long time to process. You also usually need timely documentation, which sounds like you might not have if you haven't been to the doc in awhile. It's still worth contacting them to see what's possible.
    https://www.ada.org/oat/index.html (contact info is at the bottom of the page)

    For disclosing the information about your condition... I would go for being vague in your application and letting them know that they can contact you for more details (it's better to err on the side of not giving more info than they want - simply knowing there were some health issues might be enough for most schools). I would not do so in your personal statement at all - that should be entirely positive and in no way explaining away bad grades. Most supplements have a spot for "Is there anything else we should know?" That's a great place for it. But if you don't see that for a school, then contact them prior to sending your OptomCAS app in order to ask where you should make such disclosures (don't bother elaborating on the phone - leave it at a simple "Where should I explain any extenuating circumstances for low grades?". When it comes to what to write, I would again keep it simple with something like "My lower grades in (blah blah) semesters were due to health issues. Please contact me if you would like more information." Something like that! Good luck!
  7. optoapp2012

    optoapp2012

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    One other quick thought...although this would be quite time consuming. I think it could really put a positive spin on the whole thing though. So I tutor high school kids and one of them has dyslexia. He's exceptionally bright, but that has definitely made things much tougher for him (especially when it comes to standardized tests). His mom didn't even want to disclose it, because of how it might look. But we eventually settled on doing a very thoughtful, self-reflection essay where he was able to say "Hey, I have dyslexia but here's what I'm doing to make sure it doesn't hold me back and here's why it actually makes me a better person." So if you think you can do something like that in your case, that's another option. I think that takes the negative connotation away and lets that be a positive self-growth thing. That is probably tough for time, making sure the schools will take an additional essay, and since it's not currently in check...but just wanted to throw the idea out there!
  8. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Nowadays, a lot of these medical or psychological conditions are over-diagnosed and misused. Like the criteria for ADD is that you have a certain amount of symptoms out of some number like 5/16 and you can be diagnosed with ADD. Shaking your leg while sitting is one of those "symptoms" lol. A lot of people abuse this condition by malingering.
  9. mmurill3

    mmurill3

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    I last saw a doctor about a year ago, but I should be in to see a doctor again within the next two weeks. However I have the OAT scheduled next week. I think i'll probably just have to take the OAT as is, but I will try calling to see if there's anything that can be done. Thanks for the info!

    I will definitely be getting in touch with someone regarding where I might want to mention this medical condition of mine. I was originally planning on putting a positive twist to it as you mentioned in your other post, but I don't see how I can do this until I have been treated once again.
  10. mmurill3

    mmurill3

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    I am quite aware of this. When I found out my school doctor wouldn't prescribe adhd meds because of college students abusing them, I realized how people with these conditions were being kept away from medications that could really help them. It is quite disturbing.
  11. dinkus

    dinkus

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    Probably politically incorrect to say, but I don't understand why certain individuals get this type of treatment. I don't mean to make light of ADHD, but I remember in H.S., a seemingly normal kid took advantage of the extra time to score better on the ACT. It's one of those things that seems very easy to manipulate. And whether you have ADD or not, it doesn't seem fair to everyone else who's struggling to finish the test on time. I think most test-takers have trouble keeping focus for the duration of the test; I know I do. But getting extra time to finish a test that's mostly difficult because of the time constraints seems a little unjust.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  12. mmurill3

    mmurill3

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    I'm tempted to give an explanation here, but I don't want to turn this thread into something else than what it was intended for. I respect your point of view, whether I agree with it or not. I would appreciate any input on my original post :)
  13. optoapp2012

    optoapp2012

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    It's ADHD - ADD is no longer a correct way to refer to it. It probably does get misdiagnosed when you have doctors willing to bend the rules for parents who just want to medicate their kids. Or parents that don't understand what a poor diet and too little physical activity will do to a kiddo (it's not ADHD but rather other factors). BUT...it also could be on the rise (chemicals and additives in anything and everything we eat and touch?) or it could have been very under-diagnosed before. I know lots of people who received the proper meds (at minimum effective dose) for the proper reasons and saw marked improvement in school performance (speaking as a former teacher and the child of a psychiatrist). Plus, if it is not diagnosed early and treated early, it becomes a much bigger issue later. I think it doesn't help the situation to belittle the condition. That can lead to someone writing it off as something "everyone has" and not seeking out proper medical advice. Let's make it ocular...almost everyone has at least some degree of dry eye, but some patients need more drastic intervention than others and various treatments aren't appropriate for everyone. Doesn't mean anyone is making it up! Bottom line: a trained medical professional is the one someone should be getting advice from, not the media, not internet forums, etc. (Am I telling you to disregard everything I just said? Maybe :))

    Re OAT: a year back is probably plenty sufficient. Hope it works out!
  14. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    I think the whole thing is ridiculous and shouldn't allow you extra time on your OAT or your MCAT or whatever. Imagine seeing a patient and you routinely administer fluorescein. Next thing you know they are having an anaphylactic reaction and their throat starts to close up. You tell the patient, "hold on let me think about what I should do next...for I have this condition..."

    http://www.jmedicalcasereports.com/content/4/1/27

    This is of course rare but illustrates my point.
  15. dinkus

    dinkus

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    Exactly. Nobody is saying ADHD doesn't exist. But insofar as these standardized tests measure what they're supposed to measure, ADHD is one of many cognitive impediments that prevents test-takers from obtaining perfect scores.
  16. q1we3

    q1we3

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    Do not mention this in your app. or interview. They want students who are most likely to get through the curriculum. Get help and see if you can improve or learn to deal with it.
  17. nicmc

    nicmc

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    I totally agree. Do not mention it at all. Optometry school is tough, and they want people who are going to be able to make it. There is a ton of negativity at school, and I would say a large chunk of our class is border-line depressed or depressed every semester. You don't want to go into an interview with them thinking you already have depression issues because they likely will think that you definitely will not be able to handle what's going to be thrown at you. Get treated, and best of luck with admissions!
  18. dinkus

    dinkus

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    Out of curiosity, which school do you attend?
  19. mmurill3

    mmurill3

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    While I had no idea depression was such an issue at optometry school, that's exactly how I thought they might view my depression, as a deterrent rather than something i'm overcoming and will be doing much better after.
    Thanks!
  20. mmurill3

    mmurill3

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    While I will be getting treated, I've had friends that have been asked to explain a bad grade, how do I go about explaining it without mentioning my then untreated depression/adhd? Or would adhd be more acceptable than depression? Im unsure how my new doctor will treat me, with depression meds or adhd meds.
  21. q1we3

    q1we3

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    You mean if during the interview you are asked to explain a bad grade? Honeslty, schools do not care about one or two bad grades as long overall GPA and OAT are decent. I had a C- in one course and a C+ in another, but no one questioned that because overall application was great.

    If asked, you can say you were going through "personal health issues" at that time but was treated and you overcame that, things went back to normal after. If you say the word "personal" they will most likely not ask you what exactly you were suffering from. You can even mention this vaguely in your essay and then turn it around as a positive by stating how you overcome it, which shows determination. But do not go into lengthy detail about how you have been depressed for last several years and have trouble concentrating.

    Best advice I can give you is make sure you do good on the OAT, it will greatly compensate for your few bad grades and show that you even of you had previous health issues, they are not affecting you academically any more.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  22. optoapp2012

    optoapp2012

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    I'm not entirely sure, but I think they can't even ask for further details on health issues, so I would just leave it vague like that. I disagree with other posters, and I've done a lot of admissions counseling to high school students applying to undergrad (and talked to LOTS of admissions offices in order to have that information) - I DO think it's important to offer some explanation. If you don't, they might think you either blew off school or couldn't handle hard classes. Let them know that there was a good explanation (but keep it vague of course - do not mentioned depression, for sure) and that you will be able to handle the rigor in optometry school. Worst case scenario, if you are still doubting what to do, call up the admissions offices of a couple schools you definitely will not be applying to, and ask what they would like students to do. You don't need to tell them you aren't applying there, and keep in mind that they might give you some canned responses, but you should probably be able to pick up a hint of what direction you should take things. They cannot deny you on the basis of health concerns (so long as it's not a danger to future patients - random onset of epileptic seizures or total blindness in a potential optometrist are medical conditions they could deny you for on the basis of danger to patients of course), because that is against ADA rules.

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