Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Common App will provide a prompt that will allow students to expand on their experience within the pandemic, whether it be personal, academic, financial, or medical.

The question the applicants will see is:

“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.” (Common App)
This question will be limited to 250 words and optional in the Additional Information section.
Click here to learn more about the Common App prompt.

Should I answer the COVID-19 prompt on the Common App?

Keep in mind that admissions officers have also lived through the pandemic and are cognizant that the SAT and ACT tests were cancelled and schools and AP exams were conducted online. Unless you believe that your grades, AP scores, or SAT/ACT results were impacted negatively due to the pandemic, it is not essential to write about the school-related obstacles that were standard for most high schoolers across the nation. If the pandemic did affect you through financial instability or a family member’s illness, definitely use the 250 words to elaborate on your resilience during this time.

How should I answer the COVID-19 prompt?

To broach this topic, students can use the Cultivate approach to elaborate beyond the obvious. Covid-19 brought complex challenges that required everyone to adapt and address a multitude of new situations, facilitating the development of unique and resilient mindsets.

The core Cultiv8 mindsets are 8 values that we believe that every college applicant should be focusing on. Concentrating on open mindedness, confidence, intentionality, reflection, expression, engagement, resilience, and balance allows students to build on their strengths and create intentional results.

This time has allowed you to be receptive to obstacles you never could have predicted. How have you had to balance your academic obligations with your passions while staying at home? How has your dedication toward being creative and conducive shaped your experience during quarantine? As you are reflecting on the changes in your life due to COVID-19, focus on how this moment has sharpened your intentionality toward your goals and purpose.

Learn more about the Cultiv8 mindsets or about how Cultivate Academics can help you in our Student Support page.