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Disclosing Depression/Anxiety Issues In Optometry School Application

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On OptomCAS, some optometry programs include the following question: "Provide any additional information that may assist the Admissions Committee in evaluating your application."

I feel that disclosing my previous issues with depression is essential to understanding me as an applicant due to how it adversely affected by academic performance during my sophomore through senior college years. I ended up having to live alone these three years and for the majority of it, had no idea that what I was experiencing was depression; I was just clueless. And as result, my studies suffered. I have since moved to a larger city and found an extremely helpful psychiatrist whose aid has resulted in me feeling completely back to normal.

A little background about me: I finished my freshman year with a 4.0 after graduating as Valedictorian of my high school class. I also finished my undergraduate degree with a 4.0 for the summer 2018 semester. My GPA is my no means horrible or outside of the normal realm of optometry school acceptances, but it definitely does not reflect my academic aptitude and abilities.

I am torn on whether to describe my situation in the aforementioned OptomCAS question box because I am unsure how it will be perceived by admissions essay readers. My psychiatrist suggested that I include it because an explanation is better than nothing and most readers would find that it speaks well of who I am overall. Her only possible downside of this is that certain readers might just not understand.

Any suggestions or advice?
 

ronzroyce97

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As someone who has also suffered from depression and anxiety and had it affect my schooling I'd say that to be on the safe side to not include it, cause like your psychiatrist said it may not be understood by others. The stigma behind mental health is still alive and well, you never know who is going to review your application. There's always other reasons and stuff you can use to justify grades and stuff. But in the end its your call OP, i personally did not nor would I if i was in your situation. Whats your GPA and OAT?
 
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no need to say it upfront before you are accepted, I was accepted and once I arrived and classes started I reached out to both the school counselor and the school doc to discuss my anxiety and how best to manage my stress level while attending optometry school. You should not say anything in advance its a mute point until you are accepted somewhere then and only then do you discuss your situation with the school that accepts you on how to best manage your anxiety once you start school. Anxiety and depression management is KEY to dealing with all the stresses that come from a rigorous program like ours.
 
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acho011

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This reply might be a little late but as someone who also experienced a similar situation, I say disclose it. I ended up disclosing it to ICO for their supplemental and when I went to the interview, they mentioned how they saw it as a positive that I was able to overcome the situation.
 
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This reply might be a little late but as someone who also experienced a similar situation, I say disclose it. I ended up disclosing it to ICO for their supplemental and when I went to the interview, they mentioned how they saw it as a positive that I was able to overcome the situation.
Well dang it. Accepting depression and responsibly seeking treatment or any self-help is what I consider to be an indicator of maturity and high emotional intelligence. I’m generally very open and willing to talk to others about my fluctuating struggles. For me, it’s primarily just my physiology—just the way my body chemicals react (or don’t react). It’s familial and there’s no way around that.
So I was thinking that disclosing issues with depression would be advantageous...But I ended up not including it in my application because most of the people I asked about it said they would be scared to and that not as many people understand and empathize the way I think they will.
Oh well, I guess. It can always come up in an interview I suppose.
 
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As someone who has also suffered from depression and anxiety and had it affect my schooling I'd say that to be on the safe side to not include it, cause like your psychiatrist said it may not be understood by others. The stigma behind mental health is still alive and well, you never know who is going to review your application. There's always other reasons and stuff you can use to justify grades and stuff. But in the end its your call OP, i personally did not nor would I if i was in your situation. Whats your GPA and OAT?
Overall GPA: 3.27
OAT:
QR: 370
RC: 360
Bio: 330
GC: 350
OC: 310
Phys: 280
TS: 320
AA: 330

The real "perk" of my application in my opinion is a letter of recommendation from the former president of the Texas Optometry Association (as I am hoping to attend one of the Texas schools).
 

Lumin

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I was upfront with my essays and disclosed my depression and anxiety issues. I received interview invites from all of the schools that I applied to and was accepted to all of the schools I interviewed at. Some schools brought up my issues during the interview and I elaborated on them. TBH, the interviewers that did ask seemed to appreciate that I was honest about my issues and that I was able to overcome them. Like you said, it gave me a chance to demonstrate my growth as a person.
 
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