Is it a bad idea to tell engineering graduate admissions about academic disabilities, especially when explaining GPA? ?

I was diagnosed with ADD and Autism at the age of 23. I graduated with a BS in environmental engineering from a not so selective state school (chose school offering  biggest scholarship) recently and I want to go back to get my masters after working/volunteering for a year. My undergrad GPA was a 3.25, and my strongest semesters came from the final two semesters where I had accommodations. I never received an ASD diagnosis as a child because there was no profile for girls/women, and it’s often diagnosed only after burnout. My parents denied recommended treatment and therapy for ADD for all of my schooling, and threatened to disown or get me expelled from college if I got help. With ASD, it's so hard to keep friends so it was a power/control relationship. You pair that with working 100% harder than everyone else to be mediocre, you lose free time and your family is your only form of connection. Fast forward, I have the diagnosis, I moved, I need a MS in water quality. I want to be in a great program, I’ve done the work, I have the research experience but I think the GPA is going to be the nail in the coffin. Even with networking, I always end up behind everyone else. Is it worth mentioning to graduate school admission my diagnosis? I’m not incapable, I am fiercely skilled and smart, but my brain operates differently. I want them to know that before scoffing at my GPA. I’m fearful of repercussions or being denied because of it, but it’s an essential part of the story.

2 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    It isn't a bad idea, but if you are unwilling to get any help for your condition, it isn't going to help you get in.  It may explain why your grades aren't as high, but the bottom line is that graduate school is for those who are strong academically.  If the admissions committee doesn't think you will be able to meet the academic rigor of the program, they aren't going to let you in.

    Now that you are an adult, you can seek help via medication and or various therapies. 

  • MS
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    You should not bring it up.  It just looks like you're making excuses.  If you are asked about the reason your GPA changed suddenly, then you can explain.  But don't make yourself a victim - no program wants that.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.