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Application Addendum (optional)

A possible supplement to the application for pre-OT, PT, and PA students


What is an addendum?

An addendum is a brief paragraph explaining substantive extenuating circumstances that you feel could negatively impact your application, and / or positive aspects of your experience that may not be obvious from looking at the rest of your application. The most common issue addressed in an addendum is lower than expected academic performance, as reflected in erratic or lower grades (again, due to extenuating circumstances).

Programs are not obligated to take your explanation into account. While there is no predicting how an addendum will or won't impact your application, a pertinent, succinct, reasonable-sounding, well-written one can do no harm. You might discuss your circumstances with the admissions representative from each school to which you plan to apply, but remember that they are not academic advisors; they are admissions staff. Each one represents their specific program: the approach, suggestions, or procedures conveyed by one rep may not reflect those of other programs, or what is best for you in your circumstances.


Examples of reasons why applicants to professional programs sometimes include an addendum:

  • If, for instance, someone has difficulties with the transition from high school to college, or the transition from another school to IUB, and does not perform well academically for a semester or two.
  • If a first-generation college student lacks a support system or a knowledge / experience base back home, and this situation has detrimentally impacted the student's college academics.
  • If personal difficulties, a serious health problem, or a disability contributes to low grades or an over-abundance of W's at some point during the applicant's undergraduate years.
  • Or perhaps an applicant's GPA is lower than they feel it would have been because they worked a substantial part time or full time job as an undergraduate; or devoted substantial time toward fulfilling responsibilities to an IU Athletics commitment; or were deployed through the military.


  • An addendum is brief - several sentences is usually adequate.
  • An addendum explains - it does not make excuses, nor place blame on others; an addendum should not be an emotional or impassioned plea - it should be to-the-point and explanatory
  • An addendum pertains to substantive issues - a couple of W's, or low grades resulting from poor time management or lack of effort, does not warrant an addendum!


In addition to the above sort of content, an addendum can also briefly point out additional positive aspects of your experience that may not be obvious from looking at the rest of your application. For example:

  • If your CGPA is on the low end, but your major GPA is higher, you could point this out.
  • If you worked 20 or 30 hours each week at a job, you could point this out.


How do I include an addendum with my application?

Some Central Application Service (CAS) applications have a section asking whether you feel your grades and transcript accurately reflect your academic ability, including a text box where you can include an explanation if your answer is "No." This explanation would serve as the addendum.

Alternatively, CAS applications usually have a text box where you copy/paste your personal essay. If you have room at the end of your personal essay, you could simply put the heading "ADDUNDUM" after the essay and post your addendum there.

If no such space remains, the CAS application should have a section where you can put additional notes of importance, which could include an addendum.

For non-CAS programs, you could do either of the above within the given program's online application if they have one with comparable sections. If it's a hardcopy application, you can create an additional document called "Addendum," sign it, and include it when you mail in the application. You might ask non-CAS programs if there is a way they prefer you to submit the addendum.



This information was prepared for Indiana University Bloomington students by the Health Professions and Prelaw Center. Please note that specific requirements and policies can change at any time without notice. Students are responsible for obtaining the most current information directly from application and testing services, and the schools and programs in which they have an interest. Refer to each program's web pages, bulletins, and other publications for the most current information. Students are responsible for understanding degree course requirements, as well as other requirements, policies, and procedures related to the degree(s) they are pursuing; for enrolling in appropriate courses; for understanding IU policies/procedures; and for following through properly with regard to all of the preceding.