Some apps, including the Common App — a standardized college app accepted at around 900 schools — may provide space to write about your experience during the pandemic, such as struggles you’ve faced or a new skill you’ve learned.
“The other thing I’ve heard from admissions officers is that they’ve been pleasantly surprised and, in some cases, amazed at what students have continued to do even during lockdown,” Hawkins says.
Your best app plays to your strengths
With the option to complete some essays or submit test scores, a strong application is the one that best shows what you’ve accomplished.
If you took the ACT or SAT and got a score that will help support your application, send it to the college you are applying to. But if you didn’t get a score you want to include in your application, don’t include it, says Christine Harper, associate vice president for student success and director of enrollment at the University of Kentucky.
“We will use what benefits the student the most,” says Harper. With part of the application now optional, students should look back on everything they have done and present the best version of themselves to a college, adds Harper.