All of us know this past year has been one like no other. We know that lives have been disrupted by COVID as well as additional environmental disasters. Many educators and students experienced new educational platforms and lives have been disrupted like never before.
In light of this, The Common Application added a new question regarding COVID and other community disruptions. It reads:
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.
The question is optional and is limited to 250 words.
Answering this question involves those who truly have been impacted by the virus or any environmental disaster, such as fires or hurricanes. This means if you experienced illness or loss within the family, if your family experienced a shift in housing (did you have to move home due to loss of income/employment), did you, as the student have to take on additional responsibility-babysitting, employment to contribute to household expenses, did you become homeless? Did you lose your home due to the fires, hurricanes, or did you not have internet accessibility or a place in your home to study? Did you have to drive to a parking lot in order to access internet connectivity? What hardship did you experience?
Admission officers are quite aware of the general impact of this year. They know that education has been impacted, they know that grades and AP scores were impacted, SAT/ACTs were not able to be taken or scores were impacted. So that type of short essay would not make sense to put forward. If you do write about your disruption to life, how should students go about it? Straight forward, no need to start with a ‘story’. What exactly happened to you, what were your new responsibilities, what were your new responsibilities, what exactly happened to you and your family. Be succinct and straightforward-remember, 250 words is not a lot of verbiage.
Your school counselor will have 500 words to describe the impact on your school, so there is no need to repeat that story. Let the counselor take the lead and responsibility in this arena.
While all of us have been impacted by COVID, hurricanes, flooding, storms, fires in some way shape or form, some have been impacted by the ability to quarantine in comfort of our homes. This is not worth a mention for this mini essay. Remember, these admissions officers are reading thousands of essays. This essay is meant for those whose lives were truly impacted and live perhaps in an upheaval we cannot imagine.