The 2020-2021 Common App Will Have a Question About COVID-19

Students have faced challenges of every kind during the pandemic shutdown this Spring. For the academic year 2020-2021, the Common App is acknowledging that major disruption to their lives and adding a question that will allow them to explain the ways they were impacted. In this dedicated space on the application students will be able to explain financial, academic, family and other challenges they faced.

The Common App announced a new question that allows applicants to tell their story about the pandemic. (Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels)

The Common App announced that the question will be optional and that applicants will have 250 words available to them to tell their story. The 2020-2021 application, with the new question in place will launch in August.

The new question students 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. 

Students will be urged to share the how the pandemic impacted them and will be given guidance around the question which suggests they may want to discuss, “illness and loss, housing and employment disruptions, and shifting family obligations.”

The existing Common App question which allows students to add anything the application does not already cover, will remain in place. This new question is additional and does not replace that. Jenny Rickard, President and CEO of the Common App, explains that the COVID-19 question will allow colleges to understand, “each student’s unique context.”

School counselors will also have a space to discuss the changes that might have happened in their community during this period. According to the Common App these changes might include grading scales and policies, graduation requirements, instructional methods, testing requirements and others.

More to Read:

Top College Admissions and How to Pay for College Books

About Lisa Endlich Heffernan

Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan is the co-founder of Grown and Flown, the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author.
She started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and is co-author of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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