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How will the Coronavirus Affect my US/UK University Applications?

MAR 26, 2020 • 4 min read

A Q&A with Crimson Education CEO, Jamie Beaton

As the Coronavirus continues to spread around the world, there is a lot of uncertainty around how it will impact students’ academic performance, ability to participate in extracurricular activities and eventually their college applications.

As a company focused on the benefits of online learning, we are also more than aware of how unsettling these times of uncertainty can be, as parents and students try to figure out the best way to move forward.

This is the final blog of our three part series with Crimson Education CEO Jamie Beaton focusing on how Coronavirus may affect student's applications to the US and UK.

Q: Is it likely summer programs will be cancelled?

It is hard to tell right now what will happen to summer programs but, it is likely that summer programs will still accept students. In some cases, they may ban all people from certain areas, but this will be more of a government restriction as opposed to a summer program rule.

Q: If I maintain my grades and continue my extracurriculars when I go back to school, am I in a safe spot?

Yes, you are in a safe spot, but not necessarily the best spot. If you do nothing in response to the virus, and others are doing extra projects and online learning, this puts you on the “back foot”. You should make the most of your time now to improve your holistic profile and show universities that you are innovative, motivated and adaptive to changes in your environment.

When everyone has the same 8 hours in the classroom, it limits candidacy variance amongst top students. However, now you have the opportunity to stand out further by using the extra time that you would usually spend commuting to school or walking to and from class to push your extracurricular activities and academics. In summary, if you take your foot off the gas pedal and other kids are accelerating, you will put yourself in a risky position.

Q: Should the Coronavirus be mentioned in our US or US personal statements and essays, or in the application at all? What about if I am applying to medicine?

The Coronavirus will be a popular talking point in a lot of student’s essays and personal statements, so it will be difficult to stand out.

However, If you have done something unique in response to the Coronavirus, then this could be an interesting talking point in your essay or personal statement. However, if you have not done something unique, then I would steer clear of the subject.

With regards to medicine; if you are applying for pre-med and you have coordinated a public health response (for example; imported masks and distributed them, or held public seminars online about how to stay healthy, or something else innovative), then this shows impact, initiative, entrepreneurship and public health linkages – all of which are important for your admissions profile. However, just writing about the virus without any other context will not make for a strong essay.

In addition, be careful with your wording. If you are planning to talk about how the virus sparked your curiosity in medicine, make sure you realise that doctors are generally not the ones who are the front line support for the coronavirus. Nurses, who can be trained faster and can provide help quickly are more useful. So this is not the best argument.

A Final Word from Jamie:

I know how hard it is to understand how the virus will affect your long-term education goals and that the more questions that pop up, the fewer answers there seem to be. However, it is extremely important to understand that universities around the world are monitoring the virus and while we cannot predict exactly how it will affect your applications, we can say with certainty that there are ways to utilize your time that will help make your overall candidacy stronger. Focus on putting your best foot forward and view this time as an opportunity to increase your academic rigour, create impactful projects and work on your candidacy as a whole.

Most importantly, we at Crimson Education are here to help. If you have any questions or would like to talk more to one of our Academic Advisors about your own personal aspirations you can book a free consultation below.

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