What is the Additional Information Section of the Common App for?

The elusive Additional Information section on The Common Application isn’t something that is often talked about, so we’re going to break it down for you. This is the beginning of a series on the Additional Information section where we’ll go in-depth on why it’s there, how to use it to your advantage, and how not to use it. Let’s start with the basics:

What is it?

It’s the last section of the Writing section of The Common Application that lets you enter up to 650 additional words on “any additional information you wish to share.” It looks like this:

The Additional Information section is a chance for applicants to showcase information about themselves that isn’t present elsewhere in the application. There are a lot of questions on The Common Application, but there is also a lot that isn’t asked. For example: are you planning a fundraiser that hasn’t completely come together so you didn’t include it? Have you been pursuing an independent project outside of school just because you absolutely love the topic? Did you have spotty attendance because of a health problem? Do you have additional testing information? This is where you discuss and organize other interests, pursuits, and information that don’t fall under the categories of “Testing,” “Extracurricular Activities,” or “Internships.”

Who is it for?

Every applicant with a diverse set of interests inside and outside of the classroom. So, likely, you.

Why Use It?

While more information is not always better, this is a great space to illustrate your diversity of interests and ability to prioritize important information. There is no way that an application can properly convey who you are as a person, but this section gives you an opportunity to shed a little bit more light on the complexities of who you are and what makes you tick.

How does it factor into admissions?

It will only add to the appeal of your application if you use this section correctly. Here, it’s all about impact and prioritization. It won’t look great if you prattle on about how you had the flu and the teacher was super unfair in her grading of your U.S. History final, so that’s why you got a D. On the other hand, did you self-study, independently register for, and receive a 4 on the AP Latin exam because it wasn’t offered at your school and thus is not on your transcript? That’s information that an admissions officer would like to know that truly illustrates a unique brand of commitment, interest, and follow-through in a student.

We’ll help you figure out what’s good to include and what’s not good to include so that you feel confident and equipped to tackle the Additional Information section.