Should I write about the Coronavirus in my College Admission Essay?
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Should I write about the Coronavirus in my College Admission Essay?

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Admission Application
  • Published on 09 Apr 2020

Should I write about the Coronavirus in my College Admission Essay?

The short answer is, probably not. 

 

What is a good essay?

Let us recap what makes a college essay memorable and impactful. College essays are intensely personal. They aim to throw contextual light on something unique to you in order to make you stand out from the motley crowd, thus giving your entire application personality and character. Students choose to write about multiple things: interests, incidents in life, special achievements, trying circumstances that they have faced in life, stories of fortitude, success and grit and literally anything that tends to be unique and character-revealing. The underlying hypothesis is that a school needs to see your long term commitment and see something special in your narrative that sets it apart from others and provides a more meaningful context of your leadership abilities and motivation over and beyond the objective narration of your academic and extra-curricular achievement.

 

Everyone was in it together

The Coronavirus is certainly not unique to you. It has impacted the whole of humanity and has debilitated our lifestyles in multiple ways. Life would probably never be the same again! Every story of a family fighting the Covid19 induced pandemic would have elements of perseverance, bravery, and resolve against tremendous odds. While these stories are certainly character revealing, they may still be branded as one of the many stories which are similar to each other - each talking of how a certain family or an individual got impacted by the pandemic and how they overcome that challenge. I have a hunch that in the post-COVID 19 era, many students would write such stories in their college essays. The moment this happens, your story, howsoever powerful and character-revealing, would lose its value and relative uniqueness. In fact, I would actively discourage you from writing such stories because admission officers would certainly be tired of Covid stories. Instead of helping your candidature, such a narrative may end up discouraging them from even giving a thorough read to your narrative.

 

Did it inspire you?

There is one notable exception though. You may use the Coronavirus stories in your narrative if you have no other good context to talk about what you have done. Also, if you have to write such a narrative, try to give it non-Corona colors. For instance: helping out people who suffered from loneliness on account of COVID-19 induced quarantine can either lend a perspective of community involvement to your narrative, or can be an example of how you used your learning from Psychology in a real-life context. Making ventilator or respirator designs could be the centre of your story about working in the maker-spaces, and tinkering within the context of a topical problem solving scenario. Losing a friend or a relative would be a story of personal loss and how that gave you the energy to find the anchor in your life again. It is important to remember that while each of these narratives have come about on account of Corona induced impact, they have been contextualized in your learnings through other anchors.

 

I wish to reiterate that your narrative needs to be original and unique and should be positioned to highlight your strengths and differentiate yourself from others. If your Coronavirus story checks these criteria then certainly use, else stick to other pieces which are able to highlight your unique strengths better.

 

Further Reading:

How to answer the Short Questions

The Power of Micro-Narratives

What not to write in your College Essays

Why you need a Story to write your SOP