The Guide to Supplementary Materials: 5 rules to follow so that your supplementary materials will enhance your college application

Post By: COYD Staff

college admissionOne thing I want to get into the minds of every student out there is everything counts in an application. So even though supplementary materials are optional, they do affect your application if you do decide to submit them. They can help your application but they can also do it a disservice. Below are 5 rules to abide by when submitting your supplementary materials:

1. Only submit what the university says they will accept.

Most colleges will accept the following supplementary materials: art, audio recordings, musical scores, writing samples, scientific research, links to personal web sites. However, make sure to read the university’s website to make sure your supplementary materials are accepted by that university’s admissions office.

Recently, some universities have been accepting video resumes that express why a student thinks they would make a good prospective freshman. Remember, that only a few actually accept these video resumes and some universities specifically ask that you do not send in a video resume. If the university doesn’t specify, it’s better to be safe than sorry so call the admissions office and ask them if it would be okay to submit a video resume as a supplement to the application.

If you do choose to make a video resume, go to the following posts to learn more about creating a video resume:

Basic Rules for Making a Good Video Resume
How to Make a Video Without Breaking the Bank

2. Only submit materials that show excellence.

If you submit mediocre material, then it will show the admissions officer that 1) you have bad judgment 2) you have a weak sense of self-awareness 3) you are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Yale and other colleges actually state the words “Please do not send submissions that do not demonstrated an UNUSUALLY high level of ability.”

You don’t want to wake the dead. If your materials are not excellent, it’s better that they don’t know about it so that they don’t have another set of criteria to judge you upon and they don’t think you possess bad judgment and/or a lack of self awareness.

3. Follow exact submission directions.

Each university has specific instructions on how to submit the supplementary materials. Make sure to follow these instructions to a tee. You might as well not submit anything if you are going to submit it wrong.

4. Presentation is important.

Presentation isn’t everything, but bad presentation can have a negative effect. Not all supplementary material can be reviewed so don’t give the admissions officer an excuse to not look at or listen to your supplementary materials.

5. Make sure it fits with the rest of your application.

Sometimes supplementary materials work excellently with a particular essay question. Try to prep the admissions officer on the supplementary materials within your application so that it can enhance the application not confuse the admissions officer.


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