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Should I Answer the COVID-19 Question in the Common App?

by Story2 Staff, on Jul 24, 2021 6:16:30 PM

As we update these essay questions for the Class of 2022, it's hard to know what will happen with the Delta variant and the spread of COVID this fall. Here are three general rules you can follow whatever happens with COVID this year:

  1. Only answer this question if there is a specific and significant way that COVID disrupted your school or family life. For instance: you were sick: a key member of your family or community was sick or died; you were without internet or a computer for several months; one or both of your parents lost their jobs; you lost your home and needed to stay in public housing; you were responsible for taking care of your younger siblings or neighbors and their schooling. 
  2. If your life has been disrupted in a significant way -- either directly by COVID19 or related challenges (racism, food or housing insecurity, mental health) -- you want to be as matter-of-fact as possible about what happened and how that affected your health, including your mental health, and your ability to complete school work successfully.  Here's one example (yours must be yours and it must be true): My grandmother became ill in the early weeks of the pandemic, and she died last spring. She lived with us and was the emotional anchor of our extended family, so I really couldn't focus at the end of eleventh grade. My grades suffered. I sought out counseling online over the summer, and I feel much better now. My ability to focus and my schoolwork is back on track, and I'm ready to take on all the academic and emotional challenges of college!
  3. Absolutely do NOT use this essay as an opportunity to brag about how you survived or helped others during the pandemic. That's great, and keep doing it -- with or without a pandemic -- staying humble about that essential community work. 

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Topics:college admission