College Essays

UT Austin Short Answer

Prompt: Please share background on events or special circumstances that you feel may have impacted your high school academic performance, including the possible effects of COVID-19. (250-300)


Although I never imagined living through a worldwide pandemic, I was able to develop a strong understanding of work ethic and grit during this time. Like so many, I initially struggled to learn online, being a sociable person who now found herself sitting behind a screen every day watching the teacher like a recorded video that you can’t fast forward or rewind. But during this time I was able to understand the meaning of hard work, find new ways to teach myself, and order nearly every study book I could find online. I also never failed to scour Youtube for additional resources, discovering the truly dedicated individuals who took the time to post in-depth explanations on a range of topics. As I was forced to be more proactive with my academics, I was struck by the numerous online resources available and I was surrounded by fellow motivated friends who uplifted me to continue. Surprisingly, I found online schooling and the widespread use of Zoom opened a multitude of possibilities to connect with others. I hold great gratitude for the increased interconnectedness these new digital tools have given us. Through these mechanisms, I have been able to connect with and tutor a child from Brazil, play online games with the local special needs school Matheny, and schedule video calls with my an all-girls school in Uganda for my club. Overall, although I hope a pandemic such as this one will never happen again, I am grateful for the experiences it provided me with–improving my independent learning tactics and tenacity while allowing me to connect with others far away through new technologies.

Tips for Writing: 

The main thing I wish I knew before starting this my writing for this supplemental was understanding the importance of attempting to differentiate myself and my writing from other applicants. This includes knowing that of the 10s of 1000s of other applicants who answer this question, I have to find ways to be somewhat unique in my approach. For this specific prompt, I initially focused on the negative impacts it had on my mental health, wellbeing and other factors but shifted the narrative to see what positives I got out of the Covid-19 pandemic. I did this after realizing how many other stereotypical responses to this question will develop along those same lines about the negative effects of Covid-19, and specifically sought out ways that are unique to me and what I have done throughout my highschool career. Ultimately, the biggest piece of advice I can give for future students who are going through the admissions process is to genuinely think through your responses to the supplemental and find ways to connect them on a deeper level to yourself—discovering events and activities you can include that other applicants across the nation won’t be able to have in their responses.

Write A Comment