10 months ago
Admissions Advice

Additional Info.—Can it be used to your advantage rather than a clarification statement?

I’m curious as to how exactly the “Additional Info. Section” of the common app essays can be used to “your advantage” as several websites and forums I’ve encountered have suggested that it can. Rather than leave it blank, would it be helpful for the adcoms to understand me personally if I inputted social media pages (i.e. Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, websites etc.) on the additional information? What (if any) additional writings can I include here that will “stand-out” or will express a desire for college?—Additionally, can I direct this message to a specific college to outline a greater desire? Also, are there any suggestions or deterrents you have that will clarify the right and best way to use this section as an advantageous section that many applicants may not think of?


And I do understand that this section is intended to be used for “clarification” of something or to list/name something extraordinary that has happened in life, but with a 650w extra space, I feel compelled to add something here. But “what” else can be additionally applied?


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3 answers

Accepted Answer
10 months ago

You risk being someone who behaves obsequiously, especially for one's own advantage, if you use the additional information to promote your desires or further advertise talents.

When the websites you mention use the term "your advantage" I do not think that means using the space to promote your desires but rather to give the application reader any vital or crucial information about one's personal life that has not been addressed or covered in the rest of the Common Application (or Coalition App if you are using that.) so that given that add'l information informs the AO to make a better-educated decision.

Topics that can be covered are things like this but exclusively.

-Personal struggles with physical or mental health including illnesses, disease, accidents, or conditions that affect your perceived academic or EC performance.

-Family issues like death, divorce, being homeless, or having any kind of food, clothing, shelter insecurity that affects your ability to be the best student.

-Financial problems in your family that prevent personal access to use technology like not having money to have WIFI or Cell Phones. For instance, if you have to work 25 hours a week at Mcdonald's to help support your family. That's what this space is for.

-Detailed explanations of anomalies or blips in your transcript or ECs due to any of the above or how you powered through some personal issues to improve your early record versus the one you are submitting.

-Any extraordinary circumstances like losing your family home in a fire, flood, or on-going circumstances like substance abuse with your parents that prevent you from being your best version of yourself.

Think about it, the Common app is trying to provide a level playing field for the millions of HS seniors that use it. That is why there is (1) main essay with 650 words versus being open-ended because otherwise, there will always be people who will submit 2500 words. That is why they only give 10 slots for ECs as well because otherwise, some people will submit 15. If you know that AOs only spend 7 to 12 min. tops reading an application file, that means they have to digest all that information about you and compare you to 20 other people that want the same spot.

So how can you stand out? It's certainly by not writing more correct?

The only way you stand out is to make sure you use the available space better than someone else. Make sure your written words are impeccable, precise, genuine, and thoughtful.

Good luck with your application process.

10 months ago

Great answers here, but just wanted to add that anything additional should really be "justified." Admissions officers generally don't want to see anything extra if you don't have anything special to add. (This is the reason extra rec letters aren't recommended, unless there's someone who has a new perspective to offer). Hope this helps!

10 months ago

So I 100% agree with Cameron but I wish to add on a few things. Including a link to SM seams very self-obsessed for lack of a better term and it definitely doesn’t give the right impression. Also there is no way to specify the additional info for a specific school. The best way to do that would be direct communication such as email.

Also if you want to add something that doesn’t fall into Cameron’s catergories the you probably shouldn’t include it.

Hope this helps and feel free to comment if you’s like clarification as I’d be more than happy to help!


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