Are you applying to college and wondering if you should fill out the additional essay portion on the common app? And if you do fill it out, what are you supposed to put in it?
This blog goes into five tips for writing the additional essay, and whether you should write something or leave the section blank.
When deciding whether to write the additional essay, consider your strengths and weaknesses. If you are a talented writer and essays are where you shine, do it. If you’re not a strong essay writer don’t write an additional essay.
Tip 1: When Should You Write the Essay?
If you are applying to a competitive school with a less than 30% acceptance rate, you may want to use the additional essay to stand out. If you are applying to a less competitive school where your grades and stats are already above the school’s average, then you probably don’t need the additional essay to be accepted.
Tip 2: Know Your Weak Points and Talk Your Way Out of Them
The additional essay is a great opportunity to face your weak spots in your application head on. If there are parts of your application that admissions officers may use to deny you acceptance (low freshman year grades, missing test scores), the additional essay is your time to address those concerns. Likewise, if you have no extra curricular activities, but it’s because you have many family obligations, this is the essay to talk about it and give you application more depth and clarification.
Tip 3: Use This Essay for Overflow
You can use the additional essay to talk about anything that didn’t make it on the common app yet. For example: the activity section only allows you to have 10 activities listed. But if you have an 11th activity that you feel will boost your application, you can add it in the additional essay section.
Tip 4: Use This Essay to Clarify Information
The additional essay is a great opportunity to clarify anything in your application an admissions officer may be confused about. For example: if your school uses an non-traditional grading scheme or gpa, you may want to explain how that works.
Tip 5: Plug in That Awesome Essay You Couldn’t Fit Anywhere Else
If you have an opportunity to shine, use it! Some officers say don’t use the additional essay section if you don’t need it. But if you have an eye opening, brilliant essay that made your english teacher cry, then you should share it.
Additional Tips and Tricks
- Try to keep your additional essay under 650 words (500 if you can)
- This essay can be informal and more informative
- This essay can have multiple sections if you need to address more than one issue
- There are no hard core rules for this essay
- The 2020-2021 common app will have a 250 COVID-19 essay to fill out, so keep that in mind when choosing whether you need to write an additional essay.