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university application

Hi Sam :)

We started our UCAS application today in school and I have to tick the box that says I have a disability (mental health issues- anorexia, depression and I self harm) which my head of year says I NEED to tell them.

Do I have to tell them this, and if I do tell them, will it affect my application in a negative way?

Thanks for reading! :)

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your message. Applying to university can be a difficult process so it’s good to get some help with it.

I’ve had a look at the UCAS website and it does suggest that you do let your university know about any disabilities and illnesses you have. This is so they can look at what support they can offer you and make sure it does not affect your studies.

This will also give you an opportunity to compare the different support universities offer, so you can decide what university is best for you. You might want to consider how easy it is to access counselling, whether they have a telephone counselling service, and what previous students with similar issues have said.

You can decide not to tell them on the application and wait until your acceptance email. Alternatively you could tell them during your first week on the course, or you could have a chat with your personal tutor. It is up to you whether you tell them at all.

It is important to remember that universities want to help students to do as well as possible. Letting them know might make it easier for you to ask for help if things get hard.

I can hear how worried you are that it will go against you, but it is against the law for universities to discriminate against anyone for mental health reasons. The university has a responsibility to keep your information confidential. For more on your rights you could have a look at our page about discrimination and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

If you felt you were not offered a place on a course because of your mental health declaration, you could complain to the university. Every university will have their own complaints procedures. Also, if you start a course and feel you are being discriminated against then you also have a right to talk to someone about that, and make a complaint.

If you still feel unsure about giving information about your disability then talk with your head of year again - see if they can explain why they think you should do it.

Good luck with your application, and remember the counsellors at ChildLine are always here if you’d like to chat. You can talk to a counsellor by phone on 0800 1111, send an email, or log on for a 1-2-1 chat.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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