11 minutes | Oct 13th 2020

How to Address COVID-19 and the Events of 2020 in Your Application

Wondering how to write about the tumultuous events of 2020 in your application essays? [Show summary] Accepted Founder Linda Abraham offers a framework for discussing COVID-19, the events of 2020, and their impact on your life in your undergraduate or graduate program applications. Your application should include information about your experience of and response to COVID-19 and the other events of 2020, whether or not you are explicitly asked for it. [Show Notes] I want to address something that I've been thinking a lot about. I think that my topic is not only of concern to me; I strongly suspect it's of concern to you, too, and something that's on everyone's mind: how to deal with COVID and the tumultuous year 2020. .It's a pretty big topic, isn't it? I'm going to narrow my topic a little bit. I have neither a cure nor a preventive vaccine for the disease. I also don't have cures for the other ills that have struck the world this year. I'm going to suggest how you should address these events in your application, regardless of whether you are applying to undergraduate or graduate programs, or if you're asked about COVID and year 2020 in an essay or in an interview (or in a video interview). How should you address COVID and the other events of 2020 in your application? There's two aspects to the question, to any COVID or 2020 kind of question, or any of the questions that we're dealing with right now. The first part of it is, how have you been affected? And the second one is, how have you responded? In other words, how have you acted to address or alleviate the pain, stress, and suffering of others? How to address COVID-19 in your application [2:37] Let's deal first with COVID, which I think is an overarching theme for this year. There are plenty of lemons with COVID. There're plenty of difficulties. There's plenty of pain. There's plenty of illness, and death. I hope it's not true, but it's quite possible that you or a loved one has had COVID, and maybe you didn't have a light case. Maybe you were sick for several weeks. Maybe you were unemployed or furloughed for all or part of the time since the first shutdown in March. Moving more specifically to admissions, many of you have experienced the inability to take tests when you planned to take them, especially if you were trying to take the MCAT in March, April, May, or most of June. Perhaps you've had planned volunteer activities canceled, or your internships postponed or moved online. Maybe you had classes that you wanted to take for grades to boost your GPA and suddenly, they're pass/fail because that's what happened to a lot of courses in the spring. Maybe you are taking classes online via Zoom when you really would do much better in an in-person, traditional classroom environment. That's certainly happening to tons and tons of people. So there are lemons there. Perhaps you're stagnating at work because of reduced opportunity for advancement and interesting projects. And I think everybody is dealing with loneliness and monotony and the sameness of not going out. I am above the age where I'm not supposed to go into stores and go into public places. But I know many young people, either out of an abundance of caution, concern for their relatives, or their own health conditions, are also limited in where they go. And everybody is more limited than they were a year ago. Is there any lemonade to be made from this? Yes, there actually is. It provides enormous opportunity for community involvement, even with social distancing. What are the opportunities? It can be contact tracing, suicide prevention, an outdoor activity with a youth group that you're very committed to, delivering food to the vulnerable, organizing organizations to reduce food insecurity in a time of high unemployment and homelessness. Any of these activities would show you taking initiative and assuming responsibility in your community or in society for cultural and societal problems...
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