–They ask if there are circumstances or qualifications they should know about—so, you’re asking yourself, why am I not taking advantage of that to make them know how special I am? Fair enough—and maybe you should. Here are some examples of times when you should consider filling out Additional Information section on the Common App:
• Medical circumstances. You didn’t want to be all gloom and doom in your main essay and make this a focus, but if your diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome kept you in an out of school and adversely affected your grades junior year, by all means include this. Be clear, concise, and explain how your condition affected your performance at school.
• Other adverse family or life circumstances—a sudden move or other life transition, a death in the family–if something traumatic has directly affected you in such a way as to impact your normal course, write about it. This is not to say you need to philosophically muse about something unpleasant. As stated above, be clear, concise, and explain how and why the turn of events has impacted you.
• You work. Maybe that activity section is thin. Maybe it’s because you work. I’m not talking about the two hours a week that my daughter used to work teaching kids at the tennis center. Maybe your family has a store or business or maybe you just have a steady part-time job—if out of financial necessity or simply because you have a compelling interest in a job (maybe you work in a music store in exchange for free lessons, and it’s led to a mentor relationship, and a position in a band, and now you teach music lessons yourself….) that is tied to a passion of yours. In either case, you did not choose to make this your main essay, but it is a big piece of your life and it didn’t fit into the activity section in a way that allowed you to elaborate sufficiently. That’s legit. Caring for siblings regularly counts for work also, by the way.
• A sideline in your life that is out of the box and doesn’t fit neatly into a one-liner—something with some longevity. Are you an accomplished seamstress? Learn to operate a tractor on your uncle’s farm over many summers? Teach archery at camp every summer? Maybe you’re an engineering applicant but you’ve been in a comedy club, even tried your hand at stand-up, for years. You started a dog-walking business. As long as it’s been something meaningful, you can show a thread of involvement (not just a two-week course), and you can write about it with passion, then consider including it. Remember, this is one case where you don’t need to use all 650 words.
My teen and I headed down to Sunnyside Beach here in Toronto. She had brought a cereal box viewer she had created this morning and we waited for this celestial event. The best part, thanks to Fido’s new data byte deal we also got to watch Bill Nye the Science Guy explain the facts from a location that was getting the total eclipse in the USA. As the sun and moon traveled across the US and Canada, today, people of all stripes, colors, creeds, and affiliations gathered together to share an event. After what has happened over the past few weeks, we needed a moment like this, a moment that would draw people together without thought of politics for a moment in time.