The Optional Additional Information Section
What is that Additional Information section all about on the Common Application? Should I put my resume there? Should I add a list of accomplishments? Do I need to fill it in? Why don’t other applications have this additional information section?
Well these are all valid questions about that section. I will tell you that as a consultant, I suggest that section to be used for special or extraordinary circumstances revealed in other parts of the application process that need some elaboration.
I suggest most students with 504 Plans in High School to include a short— fewer than 550 words—essay about what their particular disability is that is accommodated. The students should simply describe what their disability or disabilities are as they understand them, and also they should include how they have adapted during their learning with their own personal challenges.
For other students, who have an irregular attendance or more than two high schools on their transcripts, I also suggest a short—two paragraphs basically—identifying why their transcripts are outside the norm.
If something very dramatic and unusual happens to a student that might not be explained anywhere, such as a prolonged illness, recent death in the family—especially of a member in immediate family—or if something unexpectedly wonderful happens, such as winning an award or competition, all would warrant a few paragraphs of inclusion.
DO NOT PUT A RESUME IN THAT SPACE! Today, many of the supplements offer the upload of a resume, which is how you can add a detailed resume of activities. The Resume of Activities will be added as a standard next year as many schools are finding this very useful during the admission review process. Word of warning: please make sure you have your resume reviewed several times! It should not be a simple list of activities, as that is what is already on the application. If you need some help, contact us. If you do not know how to make the resume, we have a free template, just contact us!
Do not simply add an additional essay or some artistic or creative piece in the Additional Information section. It is not for that purpose. If you have some selective artistic or creative contribution, you can submit to the college in a paper format. You can also add a resume in the mail, if there is no way to upload one. The Additional Information section is a not a dumping ground for any information you are your parents think is nice to know. The section is used to provide information that has some bearing on all the other documentation submitted to the school.
Also, please DO NOT write an essay explaining a poor grade or something of that nature. This is not something you should write about at all, actually. The only time students are required to write about a grade is if there is a D or lower. Any grade that has completely compromised GPA is usually inquired about by a school and a form is asked for some. Similarly, most students with ADA Act accommodations are usually asked to complete an additional form, application, or submission to a college for its Student Accessibility program, after the application has been submitted.
All students with accommodated disabilities will have to be admitted into a program in their colleges for receiving the appropriate accommodations. Many have an intake form, interview, and process for the students to be admitted into the program. All of these programs require current full psychological evaluations with appropriate testing. If the disability is not a learning disability but a medical one, then the appropriate medical evaluations will be required. Under the law, these types of tests have to be updated every three years. I strongly urge all parents to have the tests updated in Senior spring for the college admission process during the late spring and summer. Many insurance companies pay for the testing, if you are unsure, you should call your health insurance company. Many have preferred providers to do the testing. If not, many will offer reimbursement for most if not all of the costs for the testing. Public Schools offer some testing, but usually not the comprehensive testing required for Accessibility programs.
So anything of this nature is not to be put in the Additional Information section. If you are unsure of if your application should add something, you can always contact us for help with that decision.
For the most students, this section will be left blank! And that is not bad!