How to Utilize the Common App Additional Information Section
The Additional Information Section has, for years, been the secret space for students to add depth to their extracurricular and academic experience. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking this section on the Common App.
By ALEX LOVELESS
The Common Application gives students a number of opportunities to highlight their extracurricular activities and achievements. They have space for 10 activities and 5 academic honors, which most students will endeavor to fill out completely. But there’s a tab in the “Writing” section of the Common App profile called “Additional Information” that often gets overlooked.
It starts with the question “Do you wish to provide details of circumstances or qualifications not reflected in the application?
Adding Info on Activities
For example, if a student has been involved an any kind of academic research, the additional information section can be a great place to add the title of any research papers or upload the Abstract of the paper (if there’s space). If a student has any significant online presence – blogs, news articles, online literary publications, Github profile, Youtube videos, etc – they can upload links to these pages. Whether or not the admissions officers will ever visit the links is not clear, but at the very least, it shows confidence in your involvement and helps corroborate your depth of experience. If a student is a creative writer, they can upload one of their poems or really short stories here. It’s really up to the student to decide what to upload, and it’s mostly dependent on the Admissions Angle that they have chosen.
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The Additional Info section can also be used to list any academic achievements that were not listed in the “Honors” section of the Common App. Some students have a number of achievements beyond the 5 spots available, so the Additional Info section can be the ideal place to add them in. This can also be the space to add in any type of non-academic honors or awards, like those related to sports, community service, or any other field. While many students will try to list these types of awards within the description portion of the associated activity, you can decide to just itemize all your other honors in the additional info section and leave more space in the activity description for details on roles/responsibilities.
For example, if a student has played varsity baseball for their school for four years, they may have received MVP, most improved player, student athlete GPA, specific tournament awards, division titles, state championships, or a number of other individual or team related achievements. These all can’t fit in the students “Varsity Baseball” activity description, so the Additional Info section is a great place to put these. Again, awards should not be repeated here, but supplemented.
If you’re unsure as to whether you should add any information, think about these questions:
1) Is this new information repetitive with any other part of my application?
2) Am I adding depth to the explanation of my activities/achievements or just tacking onto a long list?
3) Does the information I’m adding support my Admissions Angle? Or am I just adding information to appear more well-rounded?