By John Raftrey And Lori McCormick
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About this blog: We are writing this blog to give practical advice to students and parents, to reflect on issues affecting college admissions, and to provide a platform for a robust community discussion on post-secondary choices. We occasionally f... (More)
About this blog: We are writing this blog to give practical advice to students and parents, to reflect on issues affecting college admissions, and to provide a platform for a robust community discussion on post-secondary choices. We occasionally feature "guest? bloggers and invite other college counselors to join the blog team. We are members of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and the Western Association for College Admissions Counseling (WACAC).
Lori McCormick: I began my college advising career in 2006 at Notre Dame de Namur in Transfer Admissions. Since then, I have worked at San Jose State in the Career Center, for a local independent college advising firm, and for BUILD a college access program for underrepresented youth. I graduated with a BA in Sociology from UCSB and a MA in Psychology with a concentration in Career Counseling from Antioch University. I am an active volunteer with The Parent?s Club of the Peninsula (PAMP), the Palo Alto Community Child Care (PACCC) and I am a seasonal application reader for the Maisin Scholar Award
. I reside in Palo Alto with my husband and two sons.
John Raftrey: I have been advising students for the last three admission cycles. I regularly attend conferences, tour colleges, and keep up with the changing landscape of college admissions. I'll share what I learn and throw in a few opinions along the way. I moved to Palo Alto in 1991. My three sons are all veterans of PAUSD and graduated from Paly. I graduated from the University of Michigan, earned an MBA at Columbia University and hold a certificate in College Counseling from UC San Diego. In my past life I worked in TV news and high tech marketing. (Hide)
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(written by Lori McCormick)
The Common Application, which is used by over 800 colleges, is adding a new question to their 2020-2021 application this upcoming year. This question covers the most prevalent concern I am fielding these days from students, especially as they start preparing to write their college essays.
“Do I write about the impact of the coronavirus?”.
Having the forethought to know this pandemic is on student’s (and parents!) minds, the Common Application has added a 250-word optional question for applicants who wish to share how COVID-19 has impacted their life. Not only does this question allow students to write about COVID-19, but any personal hardship or natural disaster that may have affected the applicant’s life experiences.
This essay question may not seem like a significant addition to the application. However, as a college admissions advisor, I appreciate having this space for students to share details about some of life's hardships and how they are dealing with it. And, they still have the 650-word essay to write about other aspects of who they are and why.
To learn more about the Common Application’s updated optional essay, please visit their website.