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WHAT Is the Additional Information Section?


According to the Common App,

[s]tudents have the option of providing additional information under the Additional Information Section of the Common App. This section is optional and allows students to provide us with any additional information they feel is relevant to their application during the review process.

In other words, this is a free space. You have the option to share new information or context with the admissions committee members here.

“Context was important on that one.”

The Additional Information section is in the Writing section of the Common Application. This section follows the Personal Essay and is separate from the COVID-19 question.

Thinking about whether you have circumstances or qualifications not reflected in the application will help you determine to use the Additional Information section or not!

The Additional Information section of the Common App.
Additional Information Section Context Examples

Personal circumstances

  • Health—this could be physical, mental, emotional or other ways in which your health has impacted your college journey.
  • Family—are there circumstances in your family life that are relevant to your college process? This could include responsibilities you have at home, disruptions including death, divorce, or separation as well as unemployment, disability, immigration, and more.
  • Disability – this may be a physical, learning, or other disability that you do not need to report but may wish to disclose and contextualize.
  • Other—there may be other circumstances in your life that are important to share, such as a long commute to and from school.


Academic disruptions

  • This context applies if you feel there are areas of question or concern on your application that you’d like to address.
  • If you think someone reviewing your application might have a question about something, answer it! No excuses, just explanations.
    • For example, you can include a brief explanation as to why you may have switched classes during a semester or why a particular activity you were heavily involved in was discontinued.


Academic attributes

  • This could include unique classes, programs, courses, or grading systems. Much of this may be covered in your transcript or school profile, but if it is not, you might wish to include it here.
  • If not included in your application elsewhere, this may be a good place for academic addendums.
    • Examples include quick summaries of research-based extended learning opportunities (e.g., publications, research). You may also share things such as the EPQ, IB (EE and CAS), and AP Capstone if it applies to you.
  • Additional awards/activities not already included or left out due to section limits.
    • The Common App has both the Honors section and Activities section, so prioritize those sections for this information. But, if you really feel there is more you need to include, adding a few short sentences in the Additional Information section is fine.



  • Other exams, qualifications, certificates, and the like that you’ve completed.
  • Complete list of siblings—because you may have more than allowed in the section.
Therefore, “Will sharing this information add a new, relevant dimension or critical context to my application that doesn’t already otherwise exist?” is the main question to ask yourself.
If Yes…

Be clear and concise. Focus on the facts of the information, and don’t worry about how you narrated the details. This section is not another personal essay or story. This is a place to add the “additional information” that isn’t found elsewhere.

A list is perfectly acceptable here. Again, this is not another essay! You should neatly and effectively provide the admissions committee with the details they need. This is to add context to their review of your application. Do not include multiple, long paragraphs to get across your points.

Focus on what is important first. This is similar to how you should build out your activities list. You want the admissions committee’s attention on the priority information early.


If No…

Remember this is an optional section. If you’re finding it difficult to decide if you have anything that doesn’t already exist in your application, exercise that choice!

Natalie Fischer is an Associate Director of Admissions for NYU Abu Dhabi. Prior to joining NYU, she worked in Undergraduate Admissions at Johns Hopkins University in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, and Colby College, her alma mater, in Waterville, Maine, where she earned degrees in Chemistry and Mathematical Sciences. When not traveling the world, speaking with curious and bold prospective students about NYU Abu Dhabi, she enjoys rock climbing, mixed-media journaling, and experimenting with new food – both in her own kitchen and during her travels.