When a college asks for an essay about what gives you hope in the future, what are good/not good things to say?
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Unless you have a special story or unique anecdote, I wouldn't focus on COVID-19 (not because it's a bad topic, just because admissions officers will probably see many of these kinds of essays.) If you have something that relates to an extracurricular activity or a field of study you hope to go into, I would recommend focusing on that, as it will allow you connect personal experience to the essay. Colleges tend to value authenticity over anything fabricated to make you stand out - that said, if you have a unique idea, go for it! Picking something unusual to find hope in would be a great way to do this, but don't sacrifice the quality of your essay just to pick something you think the admission officers would find weird.
Best of luck!