How do you decide whether or not to answer the COVID-19 impact secondary?

XyZ1000

2+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2016
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I assume this follows the same pattern of "Explain any academic difficulties," where if you don't have something major you shouldn't attract attention to it? Is that correct?

For example, if the essay is optional, should we skip it unless it caused a huge disruption to our life? Would mentioning impacts that weren't "life-changing" or majorly affecting an aspect of the application be seen as whining, as the committee will naturally assume we were affected by it in obvious ways (e.g. extracurriculars ending early, having to learn online)? As another example, I lost a job, which was stressful, but I pretty much immediately found another job, so I didn't really suffer from it and don't know whether or not it merits a mention. Thanks for the help, everyone.
 
Last edited:
Jul 28, 2020
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I would say you're fine to skip it then. Everyone will have their ECs ending and things going online and adcoms likely expect that at this point.
 

GreenDuck12

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Mar 30, 2014
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Generally speaking, when it comes to optional essay prompts - less is more. Use the space if you were significantly impacted: transitioned to online learning but didn’t have access to technology due to living in a rural area, had to take time off from school to care for a family member, had to get a job to support family financially due to hardship, became homeless, etc which impeded your ability to perform well academically. Don’t use the space to discuss minor things that an adcom would not be aware of (small drop in performance, for example) or can usually anticipate (canceled shadowing / clinical experiences).
 
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XyZ1000

2+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2016
64
12
Generally speaking, when it comes to optional essay prompts - less is more. Use the space if you were significantly impacted: transitioned to online learning but didn’t have access to technology due to living in a rural area, had to take time off from school to care for a family member, had to get a job to support family financially due to hardship, became homeless, etc which impeded your ability to perform well academically. Don’t use the space to discuss minor things that an adcom would not be aware of (small drop in performance, for example) or can usually anticipate (canceled shadowing / clinical experiences).

Thank you for your advice.
 
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