There are two new questions on the Common App this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both are designed to help admissions officers better understand pandemic impacts on schools and individual students. By adding two questions specifically about COVID, students can complete the rest of the application normally to show who they are outside of the current circumstances.
The first new question is answered by students to explain the impact of the pandemic both personally and academically. This question is optional and responses are limited to 250 words. A detailed FAQ will appear with this question on the application but the suggested kinds of impacts per the Common App website are illness and loss, housing and employment disruptions, and changing family obligations.
The student question 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.
SCHOOL COUNSELOR QUESTION
Counselors are also provided with a space to outline the impact COVID-19 had on their school overall. This question is also optional and schools can decide whether to provide additional information for their students or not; this information is added to the school profile and is not at the individual student level.
The counselor question is:
Your school may have made adjustments due to community disruptions such as COVID–19 or natural disasters. If you have not already addressed those changes in your uploaded school profile or elsewhere, you can elaborate here. Colleges are especially interested in understanding changes to:
- Grading scales and policies
- Graduation requirements
- Instructional methods
- Schedules and course offerings
- Testing requirements
- Your academic calendar
- Other extenuating circumstances
Your students will have a similar space in their application to share how these events have affected them personally.
More information about answering these questions can be found on the Common App website.