Common App Additional Essay

Like the Personal Essay, there are 650 words available for the Additional Essay. There is a debate about whether students should submit this essay. With certainty, submit the Additional Essay if there is/was a circumstance that impedes/impeded your ability to achieve your academic potential or standardized test scores, and/or your ability to take part in activities in or outside of school. Infrequently, students will not have enough room in the Activities Section to include something extraordinary or there might be details about an academic program that should be explained. Even less commonplace, students may have participated in research or a project at an organization.

During 24 on-campus Information Sessions, I have queried admissions personnel one-to-one about their opinion regarding this essay. Here are some of their paraphrased responses:

  • We have a lot of essays to read and therefore do not appreciate an essay reviewing information that can be found in other parts of the application.  
  • I’m not necessarily upset if a student does not include an Additional Essay.
  • Though it isn’t required, if I read an application without an Additional Essay, I often wonder what other aspects of this student’s life and values I might have come to understand.
  • Since this college does not require a Supplemental Essay, the Additional Essay helps me get to know applicants better.
  • I understand the stress these kids are under which explains why they would choose to write the Additional Essay to improve their chances of admission.
  • Since it’s optional, I can also choose whether or not to read it based on my workload.
  • At times, I learned something about the student in the Additional Essay that sways my judgment about the applicant.

Every year, the majority of my student clients opt to write an essay for this section. Your intended message will guide the approach and tone of the information/essay.

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