The Current Landscape of College Applicants: What Students Will Share on Their College Applications This Year

With the college application process becoming more competitive than ever, students are continually seeking ways to stand out to colleges and universities. This year, however, the landscape of college applicants has shifted due to the ongoing effects of the global pandemic, social and political movements, and technological advancements. As a result, students are preparing to share a unique set of experiences, challenges, and aspirations on their college applications. From addressing the impact of COVID-19 to highlighting their involvement in social justice initiatives, the content of students' applications has evolved to reflect the current socio-political and technological climate. In this article, we will explore what students will be telling colleges on their applications this year and how these factors are shaping the admissions process.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly left a significant impact on students' lives, education, and extracurricular activities. As a result, students are expected to address the challenges and triumphs they have faced during this unprecedented time. From the sudden shift to remote learning to coping with the mental and emotional toll of the pandemic, colleges are eager to understand how students have adapted and persevered. Furthermore, the pandemic has also influenced students' volunteer work, internships, and employment opportunities, all of which may have been altered or put on hold. As a result, students will share how they navigated these changes and continued to pursue their passions and interests despite the obstacles presented by the pandemic.

Engagement in Social Justice Movements

The past year has seen a surge in social justice movements, sparked by events such as the Black Lives Matter protests and increased awareness of systemic racism and inequality. Many students have actively participated in these movements, whether through advocacy, volunteering, or organizing events. Colleges are interested in learning how students have engaged with these societal issues and how it has influenced their perspectives and ambitions. Students may share their involvement in diversity and inclusion initiatives, activism for marginalized communities, or their efforts to promote equity and justice within their schools and local communities. This emphasis on social justice engagement reflects a growing interest among college applicants in contributing to a more equitable and inclusive society.

Technological Advancements and Innovations

The rapid advancement of technology has also played a role in shaping students' experiences and accomplishments, especially in the context of remote learning and virtual collaboration. Students are likely to highlight their proficiency in online learning platforms, their participation in virtual internships or research projects, and their use of technology to connect with peers and mentors. Additionally, students may showcase their involvement in coding, app development, or other tech-related initiatives as a testament to their adaptability and innovation. This emphasis on technological advancements demonstrates how students are leveraging digital tools and platforms to further their education and pursue their interests, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Mental Health and Wellness

The pandemic has underscored the importance of mental health and wellness, prompting students to prioritize self-care and support systems. In their college applications, students may share their personal experiences with mental health challenges, their involvement in mental health advocacy or support groups, and their efforts to promote wellness within their communities. Colleges are interested in understanding how students have taken care of their mental and emotional well-being, as well as how they have supported their peers during a time of increased stress and uncertainty. This focus on mental health and wellness reflects a growing awareness of the significance of emotional resilience and self-care, particularly in the context of academic and personal development.

Environmental Awareness and Sustainability

The global conversation around climate change and environmental sustainability has also influenced students' priorities and initiatives. Colleges are likely to see applicants who have been involved in environmental advocacy, sustainable practices, and initiatives to address climate change. Students may share their participation in environmental clean-up efforts, their involvement in Greta Thunberg-inspired movements, or their contributions to sustainability projects within their schools or local communities. This emphasis on environmental awareness and sustainability highlights students' dedication to addressing pressing global challenges and their commitment to creating a more environmentally conscious future.


The content of college applications this year reflects the evolving landscape of students' experiences, aspirations, and contributions. From addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to highlighting their involvement in social justice movements, technological advancements, mental health and wellness, and environmental awareness, students are sharing a diverse array of experiences and accomplishments with colleges and universities. As the admissions process continues to evolve in response to global events and societal shifts, colleges are gaining insight into the multifaceted identities and aspirations of the next generation of leaders, innovators, and change-makers. Ultimately, the content of students' college applications reflects their resilience, adaptability, and commitment to creating positive change in the world around them.

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