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Hi!

Growing up I have had multiple chronic illnesses that have shaped my life. In recent years I have been able to be a full time college student without the illnesses getting in the way. After getting my PhD I want to work with children with chronic illness and other health issues. Some mentors have told me to include my health history in my personal statement while others have warned me to avoid it at all cost. Since it directly relates to my research interest and future career goals, should I include my medical history in my application? Thanks!

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I think you are right in wanting to include your history into the SoP, so long it relates to your research and not about your personal narrative of those experiences. Unlike college applications, doctoral program applications are more professional-oriented. 

For example, in my initial SoP I told the story of how a faculty member was unfair in his comments on my thesis. I remember being so bitter! A friend of mine read the draft and basically told me to f*ck off. I was even madder! I mean, come on! Despite that professor being a jerk, I triumphantly passed! That's gotta count! Nope. In the end, my SOP was something like "after graduating, I transformed the final feedback from the examining board into conference papers, which I presented in A, B, and C". 

I strongly suspect that your personal experiences are by far more profound than my little tantrum, and you should show exactly how they shaped how you see the world and how this unique way of looking at the world is what AdComms want. 

Good luck!

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