I am sure this question has been asked in some capacity on this site. I am a first year graduate student. I was contracted for a summer program that would have looked very good on my CV about 6 weeks ago.

However, due to the spread of COVID-19 the program was cancelled. Is there any way I can express this on my CV (possibly have an asterisk next to this activity)? If not, how should I explain the situation when applying for positions next year (because, now it is unlikely I will have anything noteworthy to put on my CV for this summer).

Thank you

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    The answers to this question will probably help you.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 14:44
  • 6
    Not that it makes you feel any better, but many folks won't have anything 'noteworthy' to put on their resumes this summer. And everyone will understand 1, 3, 5, 50 years from now why that is the case. Stay healthy, stay safe.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


List it as an achievement.

Awards and Achievements

  • Selected for competitive summer program, Summer School on ABCDE. Scholarship awarded; attendance cancelled due to COVID-19.

I think this is completely appropriate, for the same reasons as argued on this related thread. Note: I added "scholarhip awarded", but obviously you should not put that if there was no scholarship :)

In general, the purpose of your CV is to brag as much as possible; include everything that sounds impressive, even if you personally don't think it's that impressive. For instance, if you got accepted to two programs and only could attend one, I would list both. It's the same thing here -- the fact that COVID-19 is the circumstance is just a detail, not relevant to whether the acceptance is appropriate to list.

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    I worry about your concept of a CV. Don't list things that others would consider trivial. "I won the neighborhood marbles competition when I was only 6 years old." I don't object to your specific suggestion in this case, but would if the reason for not attending were something personal. But it is marginal (IMO) even as you state it.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 15:27
  • @Buffy But winning the neighborhood marbles competition doesn't sound impressive :) So it doesn't satisfy "include everything that sounds impressive." In fact that detracts, even if (unbeknownst to the reader), winning this marble competition is a huge intellectual feat that immediately qualifies you as a genius and means that you should be accepted to all academic programs going forward. Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 15:30
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    @terdon It depends on whether the bragging is warranted. I think lots of students are afraid to put things on their CV that objectively look impressive. Often people are afraid of bragging and underconfident on including things. So this addresses that perspective. You are right as well that the opposite problem can occur. Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 17:44
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    @AzorAhai I see where you are coming from. It does depend on if it was a competitive/important application, and if a scholarship was awarded. I think it depends on the rest of the resume... if most things are pretty mediocre, maybe this stuff is better than average. But if OP has like 10 peer-reviewed publications and awards, then perhaps they shouldn't be listing summer programs at all. Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 19:02
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    And you have no idea about how adept the 9 year olds were at algorithmic marbles. I still have nightmares. One kid had a 18,688 node Cray Titan to do the computations.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 20:32

It is hard to predict anything in a period of chaos. But, depending on your field, you may be able to do some things to advance your education even if it doesn't show up as a "notch" on your CV. I'd suggest that you contact any professor in your field and ask for advice. Readings, research problems, whatever. It is pretty natural in mathematics and much harder if you require a well-equipped lab, but, still, there are papers to be read and problems to be searched for if nothing else.

But being invited into a program is not, in itself, an accomplishment worthy of a CV entry. It is something that might be mentioned elsewhere in an application, especially if you want to explain how you dealt with the current disruptions.

Mathematicians, for example, can and do work "together at a distance" since it doesn't require face to face interaction (helpful, though). A chemist who requires a lab, however, will be stuck, as labs are generally expensive to set up and normally require more than one person's presence to monitor experiments. Computer science is a lot like math. Biology is a lot like chemistry. Field matters here. But even chemists need to read papers and can share ideas and plan experiments even if they can't be realized in the short term.

But, given your current position, don't focus so much on your CV but on the work that might later lead to things worth putting there. It might be different if you were in your last year rather than the first, but then, the path would be more obvious then.

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    To the user who raised Low Quality Post flag, would you please explain why? Given the asker's questions and answers on Math SE, It's not too hard to guess that the OP's field belongs to Math related field. I see nothing wrong with this answer. Yea, the answer may need to be improved, e.g. I don't understand what It is pretty natural in mathematics and much harder if you require a well-equipped lab means. But, still, it's not a low quality post.
    – Nobody
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 4:15
  • @scaaahu, Mathematicians can easily work "together at a distance". Chemists might find it harder if they do lab work. Labs are expensive and normally require more than one person to attend experiments.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 10:36
  • Would you please consider putting the above comment into the answer to make it more clear? (I didn't quite get it in the first place)
    – Nobody
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 11:09

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