In addition to the standard requirements, some schools require supplemental information that you will send in after completing the basic application.
Examples include a portfolio of work for art schools, interviews, performance tapes, auditions for conservatories, and other specialized demonstrations of your strength as an applicant. Many times, these supplemental pieces of information vary depending on your intended (or selected) major.
Because these parts of the application are often specialized, you should make sure you understand their role in how admissions officers evaluate your application. For instance, an audition for a conservatory is likely the primary factor for admission, and should thus be your focus as your prepare your application. In that case, you should also take care to understand what the school is looking when they ask for that supplemental material. This will require researching the school, the field you are applying for, and seeking advice from your teachers in that field.
Alternatively, many schools allow, but do not require, students to send supplementary materials to demonstrate an aspect of their abilities that may not be clear from the standard application materials. However, the supplementary materials are secondary to the required application components. That means you should spend more of your energy on the rest of the application, and should only consider sending supplementary materials if you have a truly compelling ability that might tip the scales—for instance, if you are applying to a liberal arts college and published a research paper or have samples of your artwork displayed in a gallery.
TIP may have been the greatest time of your life, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Open up and be willing to take some risks and enjoy new opportunities. You are the future. -Tad M., Duke TIP alum