With the Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) deadlines right around the corner, I can feel the tension building up in every family with a college-bound senior. The college application season has never been one that comes easily to anyone involved; however, especially this year it is going to look a lot more different and rather difficult to navigate after COVID-19. Seeing so many of you distressed and looking for answers, I want to share a few last-minute tips that will help you submit those applications more confidently.
Here are my responses to some of the questions that I frequently receive from my students:
- Should I write the COVID-19 essay on Common App?
It depends! You should write this optional 250-word essay only if you have experienced very negative or very positive, life-changing circumstances. In other words, if COVID-19 has rocked your world in some significant way, then by all means go for it. Otherwise, spend your valuable time working on your supplemental essays. You can read about this in depth on Ethan Sawyer’s (AKA College Essay Guy) College Application Hub here.
- Should I fill out the Additional Information Section on Common App?
It depends! If you feel that there are extenuating circumstances that you must inform the colleges about, then yes! Some examples would be explaining academic slips on your transcript, financial hardships, injuries, withdrawing from a class or activity abruptly, listing more activities that you couldn’t fit in your Activities List on Common App, etc… Anything that you feel your application would be incomplete without deserves to be discussed in the Additional Information Section. You can further read about Ethan’s take on this here.
- Should I write the optional supplemental essays?
Yes! Especially this application season which has been marked by the lack of test scores and many extracurricular activities, those so-called “optional” essays will not be optional anymore. You should write each of them if you would like to submit a well-crafted and competitive application.
- Should I worry about my admission chances if I can’t submit test scores?
No! Not this year! 1,600+ 4-year colleges and universities have announced that they will adopt test-optional policies for the 2021 admissions. You can see the complete list of test-optional colleges and universities here.
- How can I demonstrate interest when I can’t visit colleges in person?
Easily! Take advantage of virtual information sessions and virtual tours offered by the colleges on your list. Follow them on social media. Engage with the Admissions Representative assigned to your region via email. Open and read every email sent to you by the Admissions Office.
At EdMission Possible, we take pride in our college application services that are customized according to every student’s unique needs. If you need last-minute assistance with your applications and/or essays, call or email us today to inquire about our hourly rates and essay packages. This will surely be an application season like no other, but we will get through this together…
Good luck in your applications!
Burcak Deniz Cakir
Independent Educational Consultant, Founder, and President | EdMission Possible
Burcak Deniz Cakir has a B.A. in Foreign Language Education, an M.A. in English Language Teaching, and an M.B.A., all of which have laid the solid foundation for her professional experiences as an educator. She has completed the College Counseling Program at UCLA, which is known to be the most prestigious certificate program in the profession. She has previously taught English as a Foreign/Second Language (EFL/ESL) in Turkey and in the U.S. at Virginia Tech, Harcum College, Rutgers University (Newark and New Brunswick Campuses), and Pace University. Having taught EFL/ESL at the college level for over 20 years, Burcak can communicate effectively with college-age students from different countries. She is bilingual in Turkish and English. Her extensive experience with international students from many countries including but not limited to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and China has given her the opportunity to understand their unique problems that domestic students may not be facing throughout the college admissions process, such as but not limited to extra testing requirements (TOEFL, IELTS), the translation of high school transcripts and recommendation letters, different financial forms and statements required, visa issues, being homesick, culture shock, etc.
Burcak is an Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and a Voting Member of the International Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC). She currently lives in Edison, New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and her four-legged son. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family, reading (lots!) about college admissions and college essays, watching her favorite movies, getting lost in design magazines, and decorating her house.