Would universities be lenient towards students (in terms of grades and extracurriculars) for the sch

I’m an international student from South Asia. I’m a sophomore in high school and I will be giving my O levels in May. So, in the last few months my whole family including me started getting COVID-19 affected. It spanned almost 3 months because everyone didn’t get sick at the same time (my sister got sick first, then I had to be isolated and I was out of isolation within a week, then my parents got sick, I started showing symptoms and had to be isolated again, then my aunt got sick)I had to be isolated twice which led to me missing classes, tests, club meetings etc. This took a huge mental toll on me and later I had to grind a lot to take the missing tests while giving my regular class tests to keep my grades up. However, AGAIN for some reason I got sick after that and it was suspected to be COVID-19 again.

At this point my half yearly exams were coming and because I had been sick on and off from August to late October, I couldn’t revise properly and I’m thinking my exams won’t go really well. Like I won’t fail for sure but it’s definitely not going to be all A’s and A*’s. My school follows the Cambridge International examinations so this is not the final o level exam but a school exam.

But I was wondering how this would affect me when applying to universities in the US. I’m aiming for undergraduate business schools in UPenn, Cornell, nyu, uva, umich, ucb etc. Would this affect my gpa negatively? Would they be lenient towards students that had to do classes and give exams during the pandemic? And lastly, should I mention this in the additional information section when I’m applying?

Any kind of advice would be very beneficial for me and is greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

Thank you.

Let me begin by saying I am sorry to hear you and your family were ill.

There is now a place on the app to explain how you were affected by covid. If you were deeply and significantly affected (death of an immediate relative, unusually long hospitalization), there might be some leeway. However, ordinary quarantine and a non-hospital recovery probably isn’t going to be enough for them to overlook poor grades or test scores. Everyone on the planet has been negatively affected to some extent or another. Top colleges value resiliency. Showing them you’ve got that will go a lot further than trying to explain under performance.

There are two schools of thought on this. One is the, “Whatever may have happened to me, there are others (maybe even on the admissions committee) who have had it much worse, so I really shouldn’t make any excuses.” The other is the attitude that you should inform a college of what transpired, for context, rather than as an excuse.

It seems to me that your schooling has been seriously interrupted by illness for the past three months. I’m wondering whether you could somehow delay or reschedule the exams you have coming up. Perhaps there is a vacation period after these exams, and you could study hard over that vacation period, and then take the exams?

I think that your primary focus should be your health. After that, focus on salvaging your grades by requesting delayed exams, so you could have time to prepare. Your last worry should be how this setback is going to look on college applications two years from now.