April Maguire 4 min read Coronavirus

Should You Write Your College Essay About Coronavirus?

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Wondering what topic to choose for your college essay? With the current coronavirus pandemic impacting lives and livelihoods worldwide, it’s no surprise that high school students are considering this subject for their essays. But is it a good idea to write about COVID-19?

 

Keep reading to learn the purpose of the college essay, whether you should write about the coronavirus, and tips on selecting a topic that will give you the best shot at success.

 

What is the Purpose of College Essays?

 

It’s not enough to boast strong grades and SAT scores in selective college admissions. If you want to make the best impression on admissions committees, writing a stellar college essay is essential. Along with demonstrating your writing skills, a standout college essay showcases your personality and strength of character. The goal is to persuade colleges that you would make an invaluable addition to their communities. In some cases, colleges may even offer admission to students who fall somewhat short of their quantitative standards, provided that an essay is compelling enough.

 

Along with revealing your talents as a writer, college essays provide valuable insight into who you are and how you’ll contribute to the campus. The best essays reveal not only your history, including past experiences and passions, but also your goals for the future. The idea is to show admissions committees who you’ve been, who you are, and who you plan to become. 

 

Should You Write Your College Essays About Coronavirus?

 

When seeking out topics for your college essay, you may wonder if writing about the coronavirus pandemic is a wise choice. While it’s natural to be focused on COVID-19 and the way it’s affecting your life right now, the truth is that many of your fellow applicants are likely to have similar experiences around this topic. The best college essays are unique, and students who write about the virus are unlikely to stand out from the crowd. 

 

There are some circumstances in which COVID-19 topics can make for compelling essays. If you spent the quarantine doing something unique, intriguing, or ambitious, feel free to write about it in your application essay. For example, students who opted to build a computer while stuck at home might want to use their essays to describe the experience and what they learned from it. Similarly, you could write an essay about fundraising for a charity, like a local animal rescue or homeless shelter, during the quarantine. The goal is to reveal who you are as a person while differentiating yourself from the pack.

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Elements of a Strong College Essay

 

There are various aspects to consider when choosing a topic for your college essays. Whether or not you opt to write about something you did during the quarantine, keep these elements in mind when deciding on a subject:

 

Revealing

 

The best essay topics aren’t just compelling. They also reveal something personal and specific about the applicant. Remember, colleges are trying to get a feel for who you are and what you’ll achieve in the years to come. When selecting between you and another applicant, adcoms are likely to choose the person with whom they feel an emotional connection, so don’t be afraid to share something real and distinct. 

 

Original

 

Of course, even the most intimate topics become less compelling if they feel overdone. Some experiences, such as recovering from a sports injury or volunteering in another country, are revealing but not necessarily unique. Avoid these cliche college essay subjects in favor of something that will make bored admissions officers sit up and pay attention. 

 

Focused

 

In an effort to catch the eye of admissions committees, you may be tempted to use your essay to share every important event in your life. Unfortunately, essays that include too many topics tend to come across as bloated and unfocused. Once you land on a subject for your college essay, avoid the temptation to go off on tangents or explore related topics. The best essays share a highly-specific story that offers a window into who you are and how you respond in certain situations. 

 

Grammatically Spotless

 

Even the best essays are unlikely to make an impression if they’re riddled with grammar errors. Along with running spell check on your essay, print it out and read it aloud to identify mistakes. It’s also a good idea to ask a trusted friend or family member to look over your work and make suggestions. You want to ensure that the final product is truly representative of your abilities. 

 

College Essay Resources

 

When it comes to creating an impressive essay, it’s important to remember you aren’t alone. From tips on choosing a topic to advice on proofreading, below are some of CollegeVine’s best posts on writing the college essay:

 

How to Write the Common App Essays (With Examples!) 

How to Write the Coalition Application Essays

What If I Don’t Have Anything Interesting to Write About In My College Essay?

 

Want to ensure your college essay is a success? At CollegeVine, we offer a free peer review service to help students create standout essays. Simply submit your essay for free on our site and receive valuable feedback from your peers. Additionally, you can review other students’ submissions to gain insight into the process and identify strengths and weaknesses in your own writing. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today and take the first step toward your college goals.

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April Maguire
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.