Applying to college

Hi I am a senior in High school and am beginning the College App crap :D Is there anyone else on here doing the same? Or anyone who has already gone through the process that would like to share any advice? I'm also curious when and how you brought up the fact that you have diabetes. Did you put it in your application or write about it in your essay? Thanks!

I'm a freshman in college and for most of my essays I had to write about a personal experience that changed my life or something along those lines so I talked about being diagnosed.  The one thing I do suggest is that if you plan on living in a dorm on campus with a roommate you tell your roommate before hand and explain to them either before or when you meet them about what to do in case of an emergency and tell them how you test your blood sugar and all that other stuff so that they know.  As for telling other people that's up to you when and if you do.  If you decide to chances are they probably already know someone who has diabetes or if not it's a good chance for you to tell them all about it.  Good luck and if you have anymore questions about being in college with diabetes let me know and I'll try to help!


When I was applying to college oh so long ago, I never really mentioned my diabetes to anyone or on my application or anything like that. I was still in denial so I decided to keep it secret. Once I got to college I started to be a little better about letting people know, more for my own well being than anything else. I was really not keen on having a clueless roommate thinking I passed out due to drinking (mind you I did not drink, but he did and we were in two completely different social circles and who knows what the kid thought. Side note we lasted 4 months together before I ran out on him). It is good for people to know, especially ones roommate, again looking back I realize how stupid I was in not telling my first roommate.

One thing to check is that the JDRF has a page oin diabetes in college which offers some good advice. You can see that here.

Either way if you have any questions, shoot me a message. I may be able to offer insight.

I was diagnosed a week after taking the SAT (and had an elevated BG for about 2 weeks before that).  I didn't use my diabetes in my application for college, and really acted like I wasn't a diabetic for a few years.  One piece of advice I can give you is to take care of yourself, or college will be a lot of trouble.  I don't mean to scare you, but I had a lot of trouble in college because I didn't take care of myself.

Fast forward a few years, I talked about my diabetes for my medical school application.  I have been taking care of myself for a good while by this point, and it showed.  My interviewers really appreciated the extra strain diabetes can cause, and they accepted me!  I am currently a second year medical student, and am doing amazingly well.  It is mostly because I finally started taking care of myself.

Bottom line, take care of yourself.  You can do well in anything you do, but only if you take care of yourself.

Hey, I'm a senior this year and just getting started on applications and things like that. I still don't know where I want to go, so I think I'm going to apply to 5 or 6 schools. 

I've only written one essay so far, which was "Identify a person who had a significant impact on you and explain the influence." So, I wrote about my dad, but I did mention diabetes as being a challenge in my life.

I stumbled upon this a few weeks back and figured I would send this to all you happy college applicants.

If nothing else a chance for a $5,000 scholarship.

[quote user="Brian Q."]

I stumbled upon this a few weeks back and figured I would send this to all you happy college applicants.

If nothing else a chance for a $5,000 scholarship.



Brian, that's awesome...wish someone had told me about that before... so i wouldn't be majorly in debt right now... lol

i didn't bring up my diabetes in the application process for fear of (illegal) discrimination.  i've always been quite open about it with my friends/classmates.  most of my instructors found out eventually cuz most of  my classes were less than 30 people and i'd always test in class.  being in nursing school we'd be off campus a lot, and i'd always make sure i had snacks with me and that my on site instructor knew my situation (just in case)

I wouldn't dose insulin until you've met with a doctor, hopefully an endocrinologist or someone with diabetes expertise.  A few units of too much short acting insulin can kill a person.  Not something to mess around with until you know what you're doing.

At the early stages of diagnoses, diabetics still make insulin sporadically.  It's called the honeymoon stage and can make dosing a pain in the butt.

Lantus or other long acting insulins provide a steady background rate of insulin lasting from 12-24 hours, depending on the insulin and the person.  It's the normal first step for someone beginning insulin.

Short acting insulin (think that's what you're taking) works immediately and is done working within 2-5 hrs., depending on the person.  When people take short acting they work with a doctor to determine an insulin sensitivity factor, which is how much blood sugar is lowered by 1 unit of insulin.  

After you've met with your doctor get John Walsh's book "Using Insulin."  

Hi Jan (and daughter),

First thing's first:  if your doctor is scolding you and yelling about a high blood sugar, you need to go find another doctor immediately. That's uncalled for and counterproductive. Also, do not let anyone tell you or her that there is something she cannot eat because she is now diabetic. She needs to make this work for her and not let it run and dictate her life.

There is no such thing as a bad blood sugar, you just need to trace it back to figure out why you went low/high, and then through trial and error you will figure out how much to take for certain foods. I recommend (if you don't already) to get the Calorie King book and carry it EVERYWHERE you go until you can rattle off the carbs in all of the basic foods. It's small and easy to keep in a purse.

If you're not already, get a log and be diligent about keeping it. Especially only 2 weeks in you can't be upset about swings in BS, as her body is still adapting to having proper amounts of insulin once again, and she very well may even go into a honeymoon phase after you start the insulin regularly. Figuring out insulin is completely trial and error, and unless she's Rainman a log will help track trends and help figure out problem spots.

"Short acting" insulin like Humalog and Novalog will stay active in your body for 4 hrs. Starting out, if she has taken insulin for any reason, and is high in the next four hours, do not take any more until that 4 hrs is up, otherwise you are potentially doubling up and may go low. So if you gave it at 6, it is done by 10.

As for corrections for lows, that's VERY difficult and, again, trial and error. Being new I highly recommend getting glucose tables rather than juice. They work more quickly, and you can count the carbs you are taking by the tablet to be more precise. Do not eat chips to correct a low. I learned this from experience - they take too long to absorb, and so you just keep eating until you feel better, and by that point it's been WAY too many carbs and you're now looking at a high BS. The common rule is 15 grams of carbs and then wait fifteen minutes and test again - that would be 4 glucose tabs, nice and easy. Waiting the 15 minutes is VERY tough, we all know, but when still figuring this whole thing out it's the only way to determine what her body needs to correct a low. When you correct a low, it may go back down or it may not. That is determined by how much extra, unneeded, insulin was taken.

As for lantus, yes she will eventually need to start taking that as well (unless she get's on a pump, WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO DO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!! If your doctor says NO to a pump, find another one with an open mind for treatments). One recommendation I will make about Lantus - split the doses in half. So for example if she needs to take 40 units of Lantus, take 20 units in the morning and 20 units 12 hours later. This will help avoid the problems with Lantus causing lows, especially if she is an active person.

If you haven't already, contact your local JDRF office - they have more support than you could ever use for both you and her:

I hope this helps. I was diagnosed at 21 as a college athlete, so I know what she is going through first hand. If she wants to get in touch with me to talk or if she has any questions I'd be more than happy to do that.

Good Luck, and welcome to the club!

Hey Jan.

First off, I want to introduce myself.  My name is Chris and was diagnosed just over 5 months ago with T1 as a 20 year-old college kid.  I was your typical college kid who slept in, did whatever I wanted, ate whatever I wanted and all of that.  Then January rolled around and my diagnosis hit me like a ton of bricks.  My BS was 260 and my A1C was 10.8.  My primary care physician was the person who first diagnosed me and he basically told me that he had no idea what to do (which by the way made me feel even better about the diagnosis haha) so he called in a favor with an endo and I had an appointment a few hours later.  That afternoon, I walked out of the office with 2 insulin pens (Humalog and Lantus) and I had already given myself a small dose of Lantus.  I was scared, worried, and I had no idea what was going on.  Needless to say, it has been a crazy 5 months.  I've learned a lot about food, myself, and my body and how it works, and I brought my A1C down to 6.1 in 3 months.  I was even proactive enough to get an insulin pump a few weeks before my 3 month "anniversary" came up.  Now, it hasn't been easy especially since as a second semester junior I had to take the semester off, but it has definitely been worth it.  

In response to your questions, I'm quite shocked that it seems like your endo just gave you insulin without a whole lot of explanation or instructions.  I was told exactly how much Humalog to take at each meal for the first week and then I was told to adjust if I noticed I was having problems (I waited 2 days before making adjustments because I went way low after every meal).  I was also told how much Lantus to take once a day (I chose mornings).  So it seems a little weird that there might not be a whole lot of help from your endo.  I mean, short acting (rapid acting) insulin can be really dangerous so without instructions you have to be careful.

I'm not sure what your daughter had for breakfast/lunch but I can assure you that for most adults 1 or 2 units of insulin at a meal is probably not enough.  For dinner, 180 isn't a terrible number, especially if a few hours earlier she was at 325.  One possible reason that your daughter's sugar was low after dinner was because what's called the "pizza effect" but basically, foods with a very high fat content delays the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates into your body.  As a result, you can take the right amount of insulin for the carbs your eating, but 2 hours later, your sugar would be low because most of the carbs haven't been broken down.  So then, being the good diabetic that you are, you drink your juice box and wait 15 min, and your in the perfect range.  But then, an hour later your sugar is suddenly at like 200 because the carbs were finally absorbed.  This can happen a lot with french fries too.  Keep in mind that the purpose of the Humalog is to counteract the carbs in the food that your daughter eats.  

As someone else before me said, If your endo isn't really that supportive, I would recommend switching to a new one.  I read somewhere that two of the most important resources that a T1D needs to be successful is a supportive family (which it sure seems like she definitely has that one) and a good supportive primary care team (physician, endocrinologist, Certified Diabetic Educator, and a dietitian-the last 2 your endo should given you contact info).  Each individual will help you and your daughter learn more and more information about everything you could possibly imagine about diabetes.  They are always available to help answer your questions and can really help you do anything you want.  Like I said before, I was so convinced about getting a pump as soon as possible that I told my CDE at our first meeting about 3 weeks after diagnosis and now I've been using one since mid-March.  

Above all, just remember to relax and know that people are here to help.  It's the beginning of a long and crazy journey, and it's one that definitely change someone's life in many ways.  Relax and remember that you can't expect everything to be perfect all of the time, especially in the beginning.  It definitely gets better.  In the meantime, if you or your daughter have anymore questions or need anything at all, please feel free to ask me seeing as my story and your daughter's story are very similar.  This site definitely helped me in the beginning so I'm glad you found it too.

Good Luck!

Isn't this just so much fun! LOL All this sounds normal to me. Here what help I will offer. 1st, slow down, hee hee I know it sounds funny but the body doesn't work real quick. The chips were because most of us over treat lows, well I do if I am not careful. If I remember right it takes about 6 hours for insulin like Humalog and Novolog to be done. Now for the bed part, 180 isn't bad point to start for bedtime, a little high at bed works, so you don't have a low while trying Lantus the first time. This is what I would do. Here is my story. aug./08, ICU, DKA, dx'ed type 1 at age 52. My last 3 a1c's were 5.8 and I am on MDI, Lantus(well not at this moment, for some reason I don't need it), Novolog at 1 unit for every 15 carbs. You're doing OK

Thanks Everyone!

Just a thought.. When I take my lantus at night I go low in the middle of the night.. So I take it in the morning..  So you may want your daughter taking it in the mornings instead.

I'm also a 20 year old college kid, & today is my 3rd month of having this lovely disease.

Hi Stephanie, if you're getting lows from your lantus, try splitting your dose in half: half in the morning and half 12 hrs after. Especially if you're an active person this will help you tremendously with lantus-caused lows.