College Admissions Guidance

Blog posts about college admissions topics such as essays, extracurriculars,  planning, mental health, etc.

Don't use COVID-19 experiences for your Common App essay

application strategy covid essays senior year Apr 21, 2021
College essays are to help you differentiate over other students. If your topic is common, one that many others will be writing about, you are already fading into the crowd. It’s simply too common and makes it harder to show what's unique about you. Common or overdone topics are difficult to make it interesting. Of course, there are some exceptions: ‚Äč
I would say it would need to be something extreme, or highly unexpected, or unusual. Even better, somehow bizarre, or shocking. (Remember, it probably feels as though it has hit you harder than others, but chances are your experience isn’t as radical as it feels. That’s just the nature of this nightmare–everyone feels as though their life has been turned upside down on some level.
Tragically, those students hardest hit by this pandemic, with parents and loved ones losing jobs, losing homes or getting evicted, or even worse, falling ill, simply aren’t that unusual. These, however, are the exact students who MUST share their COVID hardships in the dedicated section of the Common Application. I also want to flag the idea that finding the positive in your COVID-19 experience, or that you are actually enjoying this time, would not be enough of a “spin” to justify COVID as a topic.