WHAT COVID-19 PROMPT IS ABOUT IN THE COMMON APP?
First of all, you may not know that the common application recently released this year has a new optional prompt. It can be found in the additional information section of the common app when it goes live and it’s 250 words max about your experience with COVID-19.
Here is the exact prompt
Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans and education including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces.
So now we come back to the question, what is the prompt really asking and the common application has done a lot of favors in its wording of the question, It’s quite specific.
What schools want to know is how the pandemic impacted your life in your world. If you or someone close to you has been afflicted with a virus. This is the space in which you’re going to want to talk about that for example, are you in heightened danger when it comes to contracting the virus? Do you have a parent who works in the healthcare system and who has temporarily taken themselves out of your family’s living space in order to do their job and protect your family? Has someone in your family lost their job because of the economic impact of quarantine and what about your ability to access educational resources and information like is Wi-Fi hard to come by your home, are you living in the quarters where there isn’t a lot of private space for you to concentrate and get your work done? Be forthcoming with admissions about how your life has been changed.
Admissions officers really want to wrap their heads around. What your life has been like? What challenges have you faced and ultimately what hardship you overcome in this situation? It goes without saying that all of us have been impacted by quarantine and a global pandemic. So there are some things that admissions are going to hear over and over again or some things that they will take for granted. So those are the things that you likely don’t want to spend time writing about or space writing about on this application. For example, pretty much all applicants will have transitioned from in-person to online learning so the challenges of having a truncated curriculum or an unusual grading system or just maybe an ideal circumstance in terms of how information is being facilitated and communicated. That’s something that pretty much everybody has had to overcome this year.
So don’t think that that’s necessarily distinguishing or important enough to spend time on it, this space what we know admissions do want to know is how have you adapted to this new life, have you taken the initiative to get a group of classmates together and start study group that goes over material for an hour after each classroom session. Maybe you’ve started to deliver groceries to the elderly and other at-risk populations in your community instead of doing your normal in-person volunteer work at the nursing home. What if you’re an athlete, what is the abrupt end of your sports season mean to you on an emotional level, on an accomplishment level and what have you done to keep your workouts up, keep your spirits up or what have you done with the time that you would otherwise spend on the court or on the field.
This new space is an opportunity to show your determination, your resilience, in the face of the challenge. Really, our greatest challenge is our lifetime. Show admissions that you have not given up and the COVID will not dampen your will to succeed.
To write strong college application essays it is important to understand How to begin with college essays? and things that you should avoid while writing an essay.