how to fill in some “tough” parts of the common application

IM address: instant messenger (like Yahoo messenger, ICQ, Skype) – you don’t need to fill it if you’re afraid of being approached by a curious admissions officer or if you nickname is rather offensive

Visa Type: F-1

Possible area(s) it academic concentration/major(s): it’s ok to write “undecided” if you are undecided.

Possible career or professional plans: it’s ok to write “undecided” if you are undecided

Do you intend to apply for financial aid? Yes

Social Security Number ( if any) – do not write anything here

Ethnic group: “White or Caucasian” or don’t fill it in if you consider it racist

Date of secondary graduation: the approximate date is 20 May

Counselor’s email: if your counselor doesn’t use e-mail on a regular basis, you’d better not give his e-mail address. A counselor is one of your teachers who knows more about you and will write one of the recommendations, etc. Don’t worry if your school does not have someone special appointed as the all-school counselor or if the counselor is new and doesn’t know you – you’ll have one of your teachers as a counselor.

Summer schools and summer and other programs – these are not usually / necessarily formal schools, but things like Camp GLOW, English classes in London, Youth Center projects, etc.

List all colleges / universities at which you have taken courses for credit: I don’t think you have anything to write here

GED: you don’t have that

ACT: you have not and will not take this test

If your parents are divorced … and if one or both do not take care of you and you don’t keep in touch, don’t give their addresses but some other address, at which you could receive the mail for them. Otherwise there might be something important (sent by colleges) that you might miss. Sorry, but there are things from Bulgarian reality which are impossible to explain to people from other countries.

We’ll discuss in person any other problems you might have because of your parents.

Extracurricular, personal and volunteer activities (including summer) – here you have just 7 lines. Write down the most important ones in order of their interest to you; You might write all of them in your resume…so I’ll have to write more about the resume

Short answer: Please briefly elaborate on one of your activities (extracurricular; personal activities, or work experience) – you should write only RELEVANT things here and cut out all unnecessary words. That’s hard, so start by writing about several activities – write as much as you feel like, and then cut. You need to explain what you have learned through the activity, how you have grown up a bit, how you felt about it – all things that make it meaningful.

Personal essay (250 words minimum) – I say … no more than a page, please, but … that’s the final product after all. You’d better jot down ideas about every topic; you might come up with more than one idea per topic … you need raw material, and … this is not your only essay … remember the supplements!

Here are the topics:

  1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
  2. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
  3. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
  4. Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
  5. A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.
  6. Topic of your choice.
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