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Any fellow disabled grad school applicants?


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Hi everyone! Just wondering if there’s any other grad school hopefuls (or current grad students) with disabilities out there. I (graduating senior, zoology) have an autoimmune disease and I often feel sort of inadequate with how much I’ve accomplished in undergrad, mostly because I’ve had to spend summers in the hospital instead of in the lab or at internships. Anyone with disabilities successfully apply to grad school?

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  • 4 months later...

I feel the same way (I have bipolar and ADD) and I feel like I have to explain myself so much more. I feel inadequate as well but I'm sure you're like me in where you've accomplished so much despite it. Just going to college and even applying to grad school is an accomplishment like you made it this far so nothing is stopping you from going farther. Best of luck to you in grad school apps!!  

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Yeah, bipolar 1/anxiety/likely OCD here. I took time off during undergrad because of hospital stays, but no one been asked about it my grad applications.

I ended up accepting at a place at a good university which is exceptional in my department (top 10). I am genuinely enjoying my PhD here. However, I still hurt a bit when I see my peers who had lower grades than me going to brand name universities like our undergrad. I only applied to programs geographically close to my parents and partner to try and avoid relapse, and though I know I made the right call, it's hard to be reminded of what I can't do anymore. Instead, I try to focus on all that I do have. Living with serious mental illness is a path I would wish on no one, and even doing grad school at all is an achievement for me.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yes. I have psychiatric disabilities, and they have really held me back academically and professionally.  It took me double the amount of time to finish law school-6 years instead of 3-due to taking multiple mental health leaves.  However, unlike most recent law grads I ended up graduating with a job lined up that's full-time, long-term and JD required.  So I did pretty well for myself in spite of it all.  

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/5/2018 at 7:26 AM, zoologyandc said:

Hi everyone! Just wondering if there’s any other grad school hopefuls (or current grad students) with disabilities out there. I (graduating senior, zoology) have an autoimmune disease and I often feel sort of inadequate with how much I’ve accomplished in undergrad, mostly because I’ve had to spend summers in the hospital instead of in the lab or at internships. Anyone with disabilities successfully apply to grad school?

Hey, me too, I lost one year because of my disease, but I don't know if I can use it as an excuse. Because of the same thing, I suffered and had to resign from my very first job. I don't know if mentioning it will do any good.

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  • 7 months later...

Late to this topic, but I was and will be a disabled applicant for 2021 again. It's tricky having medical disability that is so unpredictable and costly. I have noticed that most of the accessible programs/campuses are up-front about it (e.g. it does not take a great deal of work or research to find accommodation services, they have diversity programs that exist etc...) I have had the most success with being upfront about my circumstances with professors/supervisors/housing etc... 

The feelings of inadequacy, of "being behind" linger but I remind myself of how much I have accomplished in different realms than my peers. My path is going to look different, and I am okay with that. 

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Rising MSW student this fall! I'm deaf and also doing my program 100% online. I'm a little scared to see how the professors will handle this experience. At my undergrad they had a HUGE disability office and were fantastic about providing access to online materials. I'm keeping my fingers crossed but this school seems to be very understanding. One thing that scares me is I won't be able to make any friends in my cohort since I can't call or videochat with them.

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  • 2 months later...

I am a 2 time grad school attendee (different degrees).  I am deaf in one ear and was diagnosed with severe narcolepsy some years ago, in college.  I understand your feelings, because I felt the same way for YEARS.   I just had to start seeing that despite the disability, we managed to graduate from school and are trying to live as best a life as possible. 

I have talked about that experience in my essays and how I overcome that to live my life.  Being disabled and still managing to go through everyday life is an accomplishment in itself.  I'm now a practicing tax lawyer and have changed how I feel about these disabilities.  Understanding my resilience has allowed these things not to stop me one bit!  Stay strong and know that you are living with your disability shows your strength. 

Cheers

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  • 6 months later...

Hi!

I've been very fortunate to have great support from both my undergrad and MA program, even to the point of my program helping me finish my first graduate semester from home when I needed emergency surgery. I'm now applying for PhD's and am more concerned with student health insurance providing what I need than with disability services (although I suppose maybe they can help with this). I haven't looked at all of them (because I've applied to too many), but some of the schools I've applied to don't cover my service needs in their student insurance. Some do. My only option might be to purchase private insurance because out-of-pocket or not having any healthcare is not an option.

What have you guys done/plan on doing?

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AP, some (or most) schools have on their website information on their student medical insurance program with respect to cost, coverage, etc. Sometimes you have to dig around for it though. Most schools offer subsidized coverage for student employees (research assistants, etc.) and often they have an on-site medical clinic which may also be able to provide some sort of support.

In general, if you have concerns about disability accommodations, health benefits, etc., be sure to reach out to your schools and ask questions. They generally don't mind answering questions, and are there to help. 

For those concerned about admission, be sure to discuss your unique challenges in your admission essays as appropriate. Some schools have a Diversity Essay or similar, which is separate from the Statement of Purpose or Research Statement. In that case, the Diversity Essay would be the best place to bring up these challenges and how you've overcome them.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/22/2020 at 7:21 PM, AnachronisticPoet said:

Hi!

I've been very fortunate to have great support from both my undergrad and MA program, even to the point of my program helping me finish my first graduate semester from home when I needed emergency surgery. I'm now applying for PhD's and am more concerned with student health insurance providing what I need than with disability services (although I suppose maybe they can help with this). I haven't looked at all of them (because I've applied to too many), but some of the schools I've applied to don't cover my service needs in their student insurance. Some do. My only option might be to purchase private insurance because out-of-pocket or not having any healthcare is not an option.

What have you guys done/plan on doing?

I am absolutely terrified of what my health insurance is going to look like. I've gotten an acceptance to one of my top choices, but their health insurance coverage is... less than satisfactory. I haven't gotten the official funding offer, either, so I don't know if it will be included in funding. Many applicants probably never think about health insurance when considering an offer!

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I'm a wheelchair user applying to PhD programs in sociology. I have quite a bit of experience in figuring out how to get things done at universities (this would be my third graduate degree), so let me know if I can help problem solve.

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On 8/30/2018 at 8:48 AM, MettaSutta said:

Yes. I have psychiatric disabilities, and they have really held me back academically and professionally.  It took me double the amount of time to finish law school-6 years instead of 3-due to taking multiple mental health leaves.  However, unlike most recent law grads I ended up graduating with a job lined up that's full-time, long-term and JD required.  So I did pretty well for myself in spite of it all.  

I'm also a lawyer in New Jersey. Are you working as a law librarian?

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On 1/22/2020 at 8:21 PM, AnachronisticPoet said:

Hi!

I've been very fortunate to have great support from both my undergrad and MA program, even to the point of my program helping me finish my first graduate semester from home when I needed emergency surgery. I'm now applying for PhD's and am more concerned with student health insurance providing what I need than with disability services (although I suppose maybe they can help with this). I haven't looked at all of them (because I've applied to too many), but some of the schools I've applied to don't cover my service needs in their student insurance. Some do. My only option might be to purchase private insurance because out-of-pocket or not having any healthcare is not an option.

What have you guys done/plan on doing?

You might want to consider looking into Medicaid eligibility. I'm not sure what your needs are, but it's generally better than private insurance in covering a lot of disability-related needs. There are some relatively lesser-known corners of Medicaid eligibility rules, so make sure you're able to get accurate information beyond the first-level income eligibility charts that you might see.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been talking to different offices at UC Davis (admitted not yet accepted) because most UC's (through SHIP) don't cover cochlear implants, which I have and need to communicate. I've been rerouted through so many difference offices and am growing more and more concerned about my options. Have you guys had any success appealing coverage in UC or university insurance programs?

Thanks

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