I was offering some fatherly advice to my high school-aged daughter this week. I told her, "If I worked at a college admissions office, and I was interviewing prospective students, you had better believe one of my questions would be a simple one: how did you spend your extra time during the coronavirus shutdown?"

Every student interviewing for a spot at a college or university needs to have an answer to that question, particularly if you are currently in high school.

Students of all ages have a unique opportunity that may (hopefully) only come once in a lifetime. Usually, people need to wait until they retire to have the amount of free time that we are seeing right now. Even if you are a parent that is still working full time throughout the pandemic, usually our lives are packed with after-work activities like driving to dancing school, watching youth sports, and feverishly preparing for the next school day. It's the proverbial rat race.

With almost everything on pause, this is a rare opportunity to delve into activities and topics that truly interest you. I touched on this in my open letter to the class of 2020. Find something that you truly enjoy doing, and spend your "extra" time doing it. If you are a student, you are not involved in sports right now. There is no student council, there are no parties to attend or social activities. While that stinks, it leaves you with an incredible amount of free time.

How are you going to spend that free time? Playing video games? Mindlessly scrolling through TikTok videos? Those are both fine to do for a part of the day, but they won't be the best answers to that college interview question.

If psychology interests you, why not read up on child psych? Maybe you try your hand at painting. How about learning American Sign Language? That would be a pretty great answer to, "How did you spend your extra time while social distancing during COVID-19?"

"Oh, I spent my time learning sign language."

Mic dropped.

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