The Additional Information section is an optional part of the Common Application usually used to explain something significant that isn’t addressed in other parts of your application. Students often wonder whether they should fill out this section. Use this guide to figure out whether it makes sense for you to add anything beyond what you’ve already mentioned in the rest of your Common App profile.
Think of the Additional Information section as a place for information that the Common App doesn’t have a designated section for. If you’ve been involved in significant activities beyond the ten that fit in your Activities List, this section is the place to mention those. The same is true if you’ve taken part in things like research projects or competitions that don’t fit into the Activities Section formatting. Other information for this section might include non-traditional grading systems, explanation of a sudden drop in grades, or any responsibilities or health issues that may have impacted you. Remember that the Common App already has a separate Covid-19 field which allows for an optional short essay where students who were significantly impacted by the pandemic can share extraordinary challenges they faced.
You should treat the descriptions in your Additional Information section the same way you would parts of your resumé or Activities list. The descriptors should be brief and to-the-point. Note that admissions officers typically read the Additional Information section last, so they’ll already know about any topic you’ve covered in your personal statement, supplemental essays, activities list, and honors section. Make sure you aren’t including the same information twice.
The Additional Information section is a good place to include further honors or highlights, such as publications. For instance, If your work has been published in a journal or your research efforts have otherwise been recognized, this is the place to share those accomplishments. If you’re a STEM student, a published research paper can help showcase your prowess in your field. In such cases, write a short description explaining what kind of research you did, describe your contribution, and include a publication link if it’s available. Be as concise as possible in your description. Similarly, if you’re a creative writer, you may mention any publications or awards and include links so that the admissions officer can view them if they choose.
If you experienced a critical life event or crisis that significantly impacted your academic performance unrelated to Covid-19, let the admissions officers know in the Additional Information section. This is the place to provide important context about something like an unusually low SAT score or exam grade, or address any other outliers in your application which may stand out to the admissions reader.
If your school has a non-traditional curriculum or doesn’t provide certain kinds of classes, guidance counselors typically include this in their Secondary School Report. However, if the curriculum particularly impacted your performance in a certain way, or made a difference in the kinds of classes you were able to take in your field, elaborate on this–briefly–in the Additional Information section.
Remember that the additional information section is not the place to add more words to your personal statement or supplemental essays. When filling out the Common App, ask yourself what you absolutely need in order for your application to be complete. If the information supports, enhances, or further explains the materials you have provided, concisely include relevant additions in the Additional Information section.