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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)

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Common Application and COVID-19

Uploaded: May 13, 2020
(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.
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