3 Reasons to Write the Optional Covid19 Supplemental Essay on the Common Application

UPDATE: The Covid19 prompt has just been added to this post.

The Common Application announced recently that there will be a 250-word OPTIONAL supplement that all students may write if they wish to.

Since the pandemic began, high school students have wondered if they should write their personal statement about the effect it has had on their lives. Rather than have students wonder whether to do this, the Common Application folks have given anyone who wants the option.

I applaud this move.

I also suggest that students write the optional essay even if their lives have not been tragically or dramatically affected by Covid19.

Here is the text of the prompt from the Common App:

“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.

Why write an optional essay?

  1. Everyone’s life, learning, and plans have been touched by the virus. The short, optional essay is the place to explain anything dramatic that has happened that may affect your grades, your ability to do schoolwork, and your life plans. And if you have done any service work of any kind to help those in need, this is the place to mention it!
  2. If your life has remained relatively stable during the quarantine and pandemic and your community has not suffered greatly, the optional essay is a place for you to reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself, your ability to work independently, to manage your time, and to function with less structure. If you began the quarantine unsure of how you would handle these changes and ended up doing better than you imagined you would, that’s something to describe in your essay.
  3. If the pandemic has inspired you to think about studying science or public health or anything related to Covid19 itself, the optional essay is a good place to explain that. You need not be sure of these plans, but why not use the space to explain a new interest?

Your language should be simple, straightforward, and combine the facts you’re presenting about your life with your reflections on them.

For the month of July, those who sign up to do the Common App essay with me can do the Covid19 supplement for the same fee.

Please contact me for information about these services and others. Liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com or 1-855-99-ESSAY.

And most important, stay safe and sane!