The Dos and Don’ts of Additional Information on College Applications

Most questions on college applications are self-explanatory. You are asked to provide your personal information, school information, and your extracurricular activities. However, there is one area of the application that is a mystery to many students: “Additional Information.” Some students choose to use this section, while others do not. But, what exactly is this section for? The additional information section of the college application can be a valuable space if it is used correctly. Here are some dos and don’ts for the additional information section of your college application.

DON’T repeat information that has already been included.

College admission professionals read a lot of applications and sometimes have to go through the applications quickly. Information does not need to be repeated if it was already included in the application. It can be redundant and some admission officers will not appreciate reading the same information multiple times on your application.

DO talk about red flags on your application.

Did your grades fluctuate sometimes during your high school career? Did you have to reduce your extracurricular activities senior year? Without explanation, the admission committee might make assumptions that will not go in your favor. If something might be a little off on your college application, explain the circumstances. Give the admission committee a little more information so they can see the full picture.

DON’T blame others.

If you received a poor grade, don’t disparage the teacher and blame them for your grade. If you stopped an extracurricular activity, don’t blame the advisor or others in the group. Admission committees do not want to read about how nothing is your fault. On the other hand, admission committees like to read about students who have taken responsibility for their actions.

DO answer any questions admission officers might have after reading through your application.

Maybe you changed schools during high school or you stopped participating in an extracurricular activity. These types of things might have an admission officer asking, “what happened?” If you believe an admission officer might have a question about you while reading through your application, address the possible question in the additional information section.

DON’T write another essay.

If you could not choose what essay prompt you liked best, you might want to send in both essays and use the additional information section for your second essay. However, if the college does not ask for an additional essay, they probably do not want to receive an additional essay. Instead, choose your best essay and include it in the essay portion of the application.

DO leave the section blank if you have nothing new to share.

If you covered everything in the application, it is okay to leave the additional information section blank. Just because the section is there does not mean you need to use it. The additional information section is optional, which means it is okay to leave it blank. Repeating information that was already included may not give the admission officer the best impression of you as an applicant.

DO include anything you think the admissions officer should know.

Students who have a learning disability or other extenuating circumstance may choose to disclose the information in the additional information section. If you believe sharing this information will be beneficial for your application, it may be a good idea to share.

DO talk to your counselor if you’re unsure.

If you are not sure if you should include information in the additional information section, talk with your school counselor. Your school counselor may know your situation and can provide recommendations. In addition to advising you to include something or not, they may be able to help you choose the right words to describe your situation.

Think before you decide to include something in the additional information section of your college applications. The section is not necessary for everyone, but if you do choose to use the section, make sure it adds something positive to your college application.

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