College Unfold

Navigating the Impact: COVID-19’s Influence on College Applications

COVID-19’s Impact on College ApplicationsThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected various aspects of our lives, and the college application process is no exception. For the class of 2023, there are significant changes and challenges to be aware of.

From the Common Application to answering COVID-19 related questions, students and guidance counselors alike are grappling with new considerations. This article aims to provide information and guidance on navigating these changes.

COVID-19 prompts for the Class of 2023

COVID-19 prompts in college applications

As a result of the pandemic, many colleges and universities have introduced COVID-19 prompts on their applications. These prompts directly address the impacts of the pandemic on students’ lives.

Class of 2023 applicants are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to share their experiences and insights. – COVID-19 prompts allow students to showcase their resilience, adaptability, and problem-solving skills.

– They should focus on the specific impacts of the pandemic, such as disruptions in education, extracurricular activities, and personal growth. – By addressing these prompts, students can demonstrate their maturity and ability to handle challenging situations.

Guidance for students and guidance counselors

Common Application, one of the most widely used applications, has added COVID-19 questions to its form. These questions aim to provide insights into how the pandemic has affected students and their communities.

Both students and guidance counselors play crucial roles in tackling these questions effectively. – Guidance counselors should encourage students to thoughtfully consider their responses to the COVID-19 questions.

– Students should focus on highlighting the most significant impacts and be honest about any challenges they faced. – Counselors can help students navigate the emotional aspects of answering these questions and provide support during the application process.

Answering COVID-19 questions in college applications

Considering the Additional Information section

Colleges understand that the pandemic has affected students in various ways. To provide a comprehensive view of their circumstances, applicants are encouraged to make use of the Additional Information section in the college application.

– Students should use this space to discuss any specific impacts of the pandemic on their health, well-being, and safety. – They can also mention any changes in family circumstances and how they have overcome adversities.

– Discussing future plans in light of the pandemic, such as modifications to education, technology, or study spaces, can demonstrate adaptability and forward-thinking.

Addressing school-related challenges

Due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic, many students have experienced challenges with school, grades, and standardized tests. Colleges understand the difficulties faced by students and have taken these circumstances into consideration.

– Students should directly address any school-related challenges they faced during the pandemic, such as remote learning struggles or limitations in accessing resources. – They can explain how they adapted their study habits, sought additional help, or made the most of the situation.

– Providing context for any changes in grades, AP scores, or standardized test results can help admissions officers gain a comprehensive understanding of students’ academic accomplishments. Conclusion:

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in the college application process for the Class of 2023.

From COVID-19 prompts to answering additional information sections and addressing school-related challenges, students and guidance counselors have new considerations to navigate. By approaching these changes with thoughtfulness and honesty, students can paint a comprehensive picture of their resilience and adaptability amid difficult circumstances.

Remember, the purpose of these changes is not to penalize students, but rather to give them an opportunity to showcase their strengths and growth.

Approaching the COVID-19 Question Effectively

How to approach the COVID-19 question

When answering the COVID-19 question in college applications, it is essential to approach it in an effective and meaningful manner. Here are some tips to consider:


Stick to the facts: Focus on providing specific details and avoid exaggeration or speculation. Admissions officers are looking for honesty and authenticity in your response.

2. Reflect on personal impact: Discuss how the pandemic has directly affected you and your immediate community.

This may include changes in daily routines, family dynamics, or personal goals. 3.

Show causation: Connect the dots between the pandemic and its effects. Explain how specific circumstances related to COVID-19 have influenced your life and decision-making.

4. Consider family and friends: Highlight the impact of the pandemic on your loved ones, especially if it has affected your ability to support or engage with them.

This demonstrates empathy and resilience. 5.

Reflect on community impact: Discuss how the pandemic has affected your wider community. This can include measures taken by schools, local businesses, or community organizations to address the challenges brought by the pandemic.

Providing specific details

To make your response to the COVID-19 question more compelling, it’s important to provide specific details that illustrate the effects of the pandemic on your life. Here are some areas where you can provide concrete examples:


Family dynamics: Explain any changes in your family’s financial situation, health, or available resources. For instance, you may have taken on additional responsibilities to support your family or experienced a loss of income.

2. Online learning challenges: Discuss how the transition to remote learning has impacted your education.

Highlight any difficulties you faced in accessing technology, maintaining focus, or adapting to new instructional methods. 3.

Extracurricular activities: Mention how restrictions imposed by the pandemic have affected your participation in extracurricular activities. For example, you may have had to cancel or modify community service projects, sports teams, or artistic performances.

4. Standardized test cancellations: If you were unable to take standardized tests like the SAT or ACT due to cancellations, explain how this impacted your college application process and your efforts to demonstrate your academic abilities.

5. AP exam modifications: Discuss any changes made to your AP exams due to the pandemic.

For example, you may have taken the exams in a modified format or faced challenges in preparing for them without access to the usual resources.

School Counselor Response to the COVID-19 Question

Adjustments and Disruptions

School counselors play a significant role in guiding students through the college application process. In light of the pandemic, counselors have had to make several adjustments to support students effectively.

Here are some key areas where counselors have addressed the disruptions caused by COVID-19:

1. Grading scales: Counselors may provide insights into any adjustments made to grading scales due to the transition to remote learning.

This can include implementing pass/fail options or modifying grading criteria to accommodate the challenges students faced. 2.

Graduation requirements: Counselors can explain any changes or accommodations made to graduation requirements as a result of the pandemic. This ensures that students are not penalized for factors beyond their control.

3. Instructional methods: Discuss the ways in which schools have adapted their instructional methods to suit remote or hybrid learning environments.

This may include providing resources, online platforms, or alternative teaching techniques. 4.

Schedules and course offerings: Counselors can outline any modifications made to class schedules and course offerings to accommodate the challenges posed by the pandemic. This ensures that students can continue their education effectively.

5. Testing requirements: If there have been adjustments to testing requirements for college admissions, counselors can provide relevant information.

This can include updates on test-optional policies or changes to test submission deadlines.

Counselor Communication with Prospective Colleges

Counselors have played a crucial role in communicating the impacts of the pandemic to colleges on behalf of their students. Here’s what counselors may have shared with colleges:


Summary from the counselor: Counselors may provide a summary detailing the specific impacts of the pandemic on the student’s education and personal circumstances. This summary helps colleges gain a comprehensive understanding of the student’s application.

2. COVID-19 response: Counselors may outline the steps taken by schools to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and support students during this challenging time.

This helps colleges understand the proactive approach taken by the student’s educational institution. 3.

Community disruptions: Counselors can provide insight into any community-wide disruptions caused by the pandemic, such as economic challenges, healthcare accessibility, or job losses. This helps colleges contextualize the student’s background and experiences.

In conclusion, navigating the COVID-19-related sections of college applications requires careful consideration and reflection. By approaching the COVID-19 question with honesty, providing specific details, and considering the impacts on both personal and community levels, students can effectively showcase their resilience and adaptability.

Additionally, school counselors play a pivotal role in communicating the pandemic’s impacts on students to prospective colleges. By providing accurate and comprehensive information, counselors ensure that colleges have a comprehensive understanding of each student’s unique circumstances.

College Admissions Officers’ Understanding of COVID-19 Impacts

College Admissions Officers and COVID-19 Knowledge

College admissions officers are well aware of the profound impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on students and their educational journeys. These officers have been trained to understand and empathize with the challenges that students and their guidance counselors have faced during this unprecedented time.

Here is what you should know about college admissions officers’ knowledge of the pandemic’s impact:

1. Familiarity with challenges: Admissions officers are knowledgeable about the various challenges students have encountered due to the pandemic, such as disruptions in education, extracurricular activities, and personal life.

2. Understanding guidance counselors’ role: Admissions officers recognize the critical role played by guidance counselors in providing information about how the pandemic has affected individual students and their high schools.

By working closely with guidance counselors, admissions officers have access to valuable insights. 3.

Holistic application review: Admissions officers review applications holistically, taking into account the context of each student’s situation. They understand that the pandemic has created unique obstacles, and they consider the impacts when evaluating applicants’ achievements and resilience.

Sharing a Personal Story in Response to COVID-19

When addressing the COVID-19 section in college applications, students have the opportunity to share personal stories that highlight their experiences and responses to the pandemic. Here are some considerations when sharing your personal story:


Genuine self-expression: Use the COVID-19 section to authentically share your personal story and how you navigated the challenges. Admissions officers appreciate genuine self-expression and want to understand the real impact the pandemic has had on your life.

2. Skipping the section: If your experiences during the pandemic have not been significantly impacted, you can choose to skip this section.

However, keep in mind that addressing this question can provide admissions officers with valuable insights into your character and resilience. 3.

Advice from the Common App: The Common Application advises students to answer the COVID-19 question if they can provide meaningful insights into their experiences. Consider the range of impacts, both big and small, and determine if they have influenced your personal growth, outlook, or achievements.

Common Application and COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Information in the Common App FAQ

The Common Application has implemented specific measures to address the impact of COVID-19 on college applications. Here is some information available in the Common App FAQ:


COVID-19 section: The Common App includes a dedicated section where students can share their experiences related to the pandemic. It encourages students to discuss the challenges they faced and how they adapted in response.

2. Optional response: Answering the COVID-19 section is optional, and it will not negatively impact your application if you choose not to respond.

However, if the pandemic has had a significant impact on your life, it can be beneficial to share your experiences. 3.

Length of response: The Common App advises students to keep their response to the COVID-19 section concise. There is a limit of 250 words for this section, so it is important to be clear and concise in conveying your experiences and their impact.

Main Common App Essays and COVID-19 Impact

While the COVID-19 section provides an opportunity to specifically address the pandemic’s impact, students may also choose to incorporate their COVID-19 experiences into their main Common App essays. Here’s how you can approach this:


Reflect on impact: Consider how the pandemic has influenced your perspective, values, and personal growth. Use these reflections to shape your main essay, highlighting how you have grown and adapted in the face of adversity.

2. Focus on resilience: Showcasing your resilience in the face of challenges brought by the pandemic can make for a powerful and authentic essay.

Discuss specific instances where you demonstrated resilience and adapted to the changing circumstances. 3.

Highlight lessons learned: Demonstrate your ability to reflect on the lessons learned during the pandemic. Discuss how these experiences have shaped your worldview and influenced your future aspirations.

In conclusion, college admissions officers are well-informed about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ lives and educational journeys. When sharing your experiences, whether in response to the COVID-19 section or through your main essay, aim for authenticity and genuine self-expression.

Understand that answering the COVID-19 question is optional, but if your experiences have been significantly impacted, sharing your story can provide valuable insights to admissions officers. The Common App also provides guidance and space to address the COVID-19 impact, both in the dedicated section and the main essays.

By thoughtfully incorporating your experiences, reflections, and resilience into your application, you can provide a comprehensive overview of your journey during this extraordinary time. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the college application process for the Class of 2023.

With COVID-19 prompts on applications and additional information sections, students have the opportunity to share their experiences and demonstrate resilience. Guidance counselors play a crucial role in assisting students and communicating the pandemic’s effects to colleges.

Admissions officers understand the challenges students have faced and review applications holistically. Sharing personal stories and incorporating COVID-19 experiences in main essays can provide valuable insights.

Takeaways include the importance of authenticity, concise responses, and showcasing resilience. Overall, understanding the changes in the application process and effectively addressing COVID-19-related sections can help students stand out and make a lasting impression on admissions officers.

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