The quick answer is, no, you don’t have to…but of course you may.   Before hitting submit, take a step back and look at the total picture that you have painted.  What does the Common App say about you?  Does it provide a rounded view of who you are, what you have achieved and where you hope to go in the future?  If you believe that your Common App accomplishes all of that, there’s no need to write another essay.   However if there is something missing that you want admissions officers to consider, then write an essay that is just long enough to provide that additional information.

The prompt states:

Please provide an answer below if you wish to provide details of circumstances or qualifications not reflected in the application. You may enter up to 650 words.

Examples of the type of information that is responsive to that prompt are:

*a dip in grades due to health or family circumstances

*challenges you faced because you skipped a grade

*challenges you faced because English was not the first language spoken in your household; alternatively, advantages you have because you are bilingual

*learning disabilities that have affected your schooling or upbringing

*information about a relative whom you’ve cared for or with whom you share a special bond

If you need any guidance on writing the Common App’s Additional Information essay or simply want to know whether to skip it entirely, please contact