Covid-19 has been challenging and scary at best. It’s also limited your ability to complete the typical activities that you can list on your college applications like group sports, drama club, and anything that really involves going outside of your home. This can be especially troubling if you are in that key timeframe that colleges tend to examine closely – your junior year. What sorts of activities can you list or even find to do while you are at home or learning remotely? And what happens when you return to school this fall and those activities that you normally focus on are still not available?
While it may be easy to just say that you weren’t able to do anything because spring baseball was canceled, that won’t really be a good enough excuse for the admissions counselors at Duke or NYU. Unique conditions present unique opportunities to showcase what you have done during a challenging time. Start inside your home. Have you helped your family with new baby-sitting duties? Have you helped a loved one learn to use their computer, phone, or technology as they have also had to adapt to a new work situation? Now, increasing your XP in Fortnite isn’t necessarily something that you would list on a college application or talk about on your personal statement, but if you created an online chat group to discuss strategies or became fascinated in video game creation enough to consider majoring in it…now that’s interesting.
Not getting to do the activities that you did before the pandemic is tough, especially if it’s something you’re really passionate about. But having some additional time in your schedule can give you the chance to try something new. Explore a new hobby. There are tons of free courses and videos available to try your hand at coding, at-home filming for that YouTube channel you’ve wanted to start, or even something outside like gardening. Once again, as you are trying something new ask yourself how it’s impacting you and what you’re learning. Talk to other people about it, make a written plan, and really push yourself to try something you’ve never done before.
Volunteering, assisting your family, or even supporting others online are ways for you to devote time to your community and get valuable volunteer hours that are important to any college application. There are a lot of organizations that need people right now. Check out this list and make sure to look in your local community for opportunities. If you can’t leave your home, there are also lots of opportunities to support others online. Right now, and as you back to school, there may be ways to help your fellow classmates. Start an online study group or volunteer to help with peer review. If your school is completely or partially remote this fall, teachers are looking for ways to create an online community for their classroom. Offer your help and ideas – no one knows better than students like you as to how to utilize social media to bring everyone together.
College admissions officers will definitely be understanding of this time period for all students. Colleges have moved back application deadlines, relaxed testing policies, and will most certainly understand that students will have gone through a lot of challenges during this time both academically and in keeping up or participating in their normal activities. However, this time also presents a lot of opportunities for students to make the best of the situation, get involved however they can in their communities, home, or online, and use these experiences as a learning experience for their future.