How should I write about COVID in my college essay?

Written by Mark Ionescu

One of the most common pieces of writing advice, which you may have heard in relation to college essay writing, is to write about what you know. And if there’s one thing that all of us have gotten to know over the past year, far better than we’d like, it’s COVID.

Undoubtedly COVID has had an outsized effect on all of our lives, disrupting natural rhythms and changing social, economic, and educational habits on every level. When we look back on the most recent chapters of our personal life stories and the events that shaped us, COVID looms large.

So it’s natural that for many students searching for college essay topics, stories about COVID will be among the first topics that come to mind. Maybe it will be a story about how a family member lost a job, important life events were delayed or canceled, or loved ones were lost – everyone has a COVID story to tell.

That last part is the important detail when it comes to deciding whether or not to write your college essay on COVID, so let’s reiterate: everyone has a COVID story.

Focus on the Unique

Remember that the most important goal of your college essay is to make yourself stand out from other applicants, to tell a story that makes you memorable and causes even a jaded essay reader to connect with you on a personal level.

But if we acknowledge that everyone has a story to tell about COVID, that means that writing about COVID will probably have the opposite effect: it will make you one of the crowd. Instead of establishing you as a unique, memorable applicant, you’ll be one more among a crowd of thousands or even tens of thousands.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for your COVID story. In fact, the common app has established a specific, optional writing section specifically for people to share their COVID experiences – which only further emphasizes the fact that you should use the main essay sections to share some other stories about yourself.

If you’re not sure that you’re crafting the best possible essay and making yourself stand out from the crowd of other applicants, contact us for a free consultation. i2i can help you improve existing essay drafts or help you generate ideas if you don’t know where to begin.

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