Offering support to students concerned about the effects of the pandemic on their college admissions journey, the Common App has added a COVID-19 question. As the Common App blog so eloquently puts it, “We want to provide colleges with the information they need, with the goal of having students answer COVID-19 questions only once while using the rest of the application as they would have before to share their interests and perspectives beyond COVID-19.”
The question will appear in the Additional Information section of the application and have a 250-word limit. The application will include a FAQ section to guide students in choosing which aspects of their COVID-19 experience they would like to share.
The current Additional Information question with its 650-word limit will remain. In response to this question, students are invited to share any information they feel is not reflected in other sections of the application.
Keep in mind that the COVID-19 question is optional. There are pros and cons to weigh in deciding to answer it. And just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.
To help students discern how or even if they should write about their pandemic experience, College Essay Guy Ethan Sawyer has crafted an extensive guide titled “How to Write About Coronavirus/COVID-19 In Your College Essay & Application.” And when I say extensive, I mean that he gives the same level of insight into approaching this special question in his online guide as he does into approaching the personal statement in general in his book College Essay Essentials. It’s all kinds of helpful in planning a COVID-19 writing strategy across all your college admissions essays.
Before you get too far into writing any of your personal statements, I highly recommend you check out Ethan’s Coronavirus/COVID-19 guide.