The 2020/2021 Common App is giving students the opportunity to discuss the impact of covid-19 in their college applications.

From the Common App website:

Next year, on the 2020-2021 application, Common App will provide students who need it with a dedicated space to elaborate on the impact of the pandemic, both personally and academically. 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.

Below is the question applicants will see:

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.

  • Do you wish to share anything on this topic? Y/N
  • Please use this space to describe how these events have impacted you.

The question will be optional and will appear in the Additional Information section of the application. The response length will be limited to 250 words.

The Common App is providing an FAQ to help students think about all implications of Covid-19. The goal is to help students craft thorough responses that gives admissions committees the information they need. At Opus College Prep, we think most college applicants should respond to this prompt, and really consider how this virus has impacted their lives.

Opus College Prep 3 Tips for the Covid-19 Question on the Common App

  1. This is not a place to complain. We get it though, Covid-19 has been really hard for many of us. There are many reasons why Covid-19 has made our lives hard, but remember that this text box is not a place to complain on your college applications. Focus on direct examples of how this virus has affected your life. Speak about impact, how you’ve adapted and what you have learned. Remember that just about every high school student had their learning environment change. Try not to spend these 250 words telling a story that most high school students could tell.

  2. Be descriptive. The college application system is giving you a chance to tell your admissions reader more about who you are, how you adapt and how you handle tough situations. If online learning was challenging, tell them how. Admissions readers know that the change was hard. This is something to share if you feel like you weren’t equipped with the right technology for online learning, if the quality of your education changed with online learning etc. If your family struggled financially, what did you miss out on? If you had to care for a sibling, what did that keep you from doing for yourself? With just 250 words, it is imperative to make all your words count. Ensure your reader thoroughly understands your individual perspective and hardships.

  3. Keep it specific to you. Remember, this is your application to college, not an application from your family, friends, or community. While we all recognize that the affected of Covid-19 are widespread, this response should be focused on only you.
Opus College Prep’s insight on the Covid-19 Question on the 2020/21 Common App

We’d love to help!

Most students will be responding to this prompt, so if you find yourself stuck on what to say, please reach out! We would love to help you figure out how your response to this prompt fits in with your overarching application narrative.

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