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Bethany: From Chronic Illness to Northwestern

Apr 14, 2021

Learn how Ivy Insight guided her to pursue her dreams and to thrive.

Case Study:

Bethany attended high school in New Jersey, where she carried an almost-perfect GPA. Bethany was an exceptional student in that she managed to balance her many extra-curricular involvements and excel academically while coping with chronic illnesses. These illnesses forced her to miss school and get behind on assignments. Bethany’s energy dipped during certain times of the year, which made staying on top of her coursework a challenge. Bethany’s doctors suggested that she cut back academically and extracurricular in order to best manage her illnesses.

But Bethany knew that taking care of herself meant tending to her own ambitions. Bethany worked as a liaison for a local charitable organization, and later served as Vice President. She was active in the Forensics club at her high school and captain of the speech club. Bethany was a co-founder of her school’s Model United Nations chapter where she held various roles, including those of publicist, treasurer, and president of fundraising. She was also a team captain for a major foundation related to the illness that she suffers from.

More than these skills and experiences, Bethany cultivated a mindset that would enable her to balance her personal challenges with her unyielding ambition.

Bethany demonstrated tremendous grit: she maintained a high GPA and invested many hours into her extra-curricular activities, all the while living with her illness. Rather than seeing her illness as a liability, Bethany chose to appreciate the unique lens on the world that life with chronic illness offered her (even with all its challenges). For her Common Application essay, Bethany wrote about her personal challenges and her ability to face them. Bethany was accepted into Northwestern, where she is now a flourishing member of the student body.

Ivy Insight helped Bethany to realize the gift of knowing yourself inside and out while meticulously planning out her college options. With our support, Bethany beautifully balanced the tension of life with illness and her own ambition: these two elements of her experience were not mutually exclusive, and each informed the other. Sometimes going for your dreams means persevering in the face of difficulty, even if those around you don’t understand what’s driving you. Bethany stayed true to her vision despite authority figures asking her to scale back her dreams—and the payoff was huge.

Bethany’s done it by having the courage to follow her own instincts and break with the advice she was given. With a little support from the Ivy Insight team, she has already achieved greatness and is well on her way to achieving even more as a Northwestern sophomore.