(USA) The common application: 2009-10 First-year application

Read older texts on the common application to learn about its parts, etc. You don’t need to read the specific instructions (like the one I’m posting below) for specific previous years.


Legal name: Your name as it is written on your ID card. Exactly!

Preferred name: If your name is Dimitar, but you’d prefer to be called “Mitko”

Former last name(s), if any – you have such a name if you have changed your last name because of marriage or divorce, for example.

Birth date: “mm/dd/yyyy” means “month, day, year” . 3rd November, 2008 in this format is written as ” 11/03/2008″

US Social Security Number, if any – if you are one of my current students, you probably don’t have any

E-mail address: it should include your real name to sound more formal. Avoid any “pussy”-like usernames.

IM address: IM=instant messenger – Skype, ICQ, etc. Would you like to be approached by college representatives? Well, if you have the guts, go ahead 🙂

Permanent home address: you know what it is – where your parents live, etc.

Current mailing adress: where you can be sure to receive mail. It could be a mail box at the post office or your grandparents’ address … whatever.

FUTURE PLANS – this section might be different for different colleges

Entry Term: Fall

Decision Plan: the most common one is Regular Decision. I usually advise against applying Early …

Do you intend to apply for need-based financial aid? Yes.

Do you intend to apply for merit-based scholarships? Yes.

Do you intend to be a full-time student? Yes.

Do you intend to enroll in a degree program your first year? Yes (for my students)

Do you intend to live in college housing? Yes or No – you might have different answers for different colleges. If you know that they offer financial aid only for the tuition, then you might wish to live off campus if it is much cheaper.

Career Interest: if you are undecided, just write “undecided”

Academic interests: well, you do have some, and there’s plenty of space to fit them in


Other citizenship (Visa type F1)

List any non-US countries of citizenship

Place of birth

First language that’s the language you started speaking first

Primary language spoken at home that could be different 🙂

White (including Middle Eastern) e.g. that’s not your nationality but your ethnic group, so if you are a Bulgarian citizen, but you are an ethnic Turk, you should write Turkish


You should include information about both parents, even if one or more is deceased (dead) or has no legally (or practically) responsible for you. If your parents are separated, divorced, etc. – if you are in any doubt, ask me!!!

Occupation: position at the moment

Name of Employer: the name of the company, not the boss’ name

College / Graduate school: if your parents have a University diploma, and they have studied at university for more than 4 years, then you should choose “Graduate school” and write its name. The degree is usually “Master” – of what? That’s their major.

Legal guardian: only if other than a parent!

Siblings: these are your brothers or sisters


Secondary schools: these are high schools (гимназии)

Entry date: the date you started high school

Graduation date: ask school officials

School type: all my students should enter “public”

CEEB/ACT Code: If you are one of my students, your school does not have such a code, so you’ll get 0000 after click on “not found”

Counselor’s name: one of the teachers writing your recommendations will be your counselor – the one who knows you best and is going to prepare the school report.

Counselor’s Title: if he is a subject teacher, you could write “Teacher of Physics”, for example

List all other secondary schools, including summer schools ….: if you have not changed high schools after 8th class or you have not taken part in any summer academic programs, you don’t write anything here.

If your secondary school education was or will be interrupted: no student of mine this year should fill in these!

Colleges & Universities: no student of mine this year should fill in these!


My students should include information only about TOEFL and SAT. Fill in information not only about the tests you have already taken but also about the ones you plan to take.

Honors: Arrange these carefully! It’s a bit tricky!


Extracurricular – write the most importants ones in order of interest, even if you plan to send a resume! It does not matter if any of these are institutional, family or independent ones!

Work experience – they ask you to include paid jobs, not volunteer ones! Thus, if you have worked for your family and did not receive any payment, you mention this under “Extracurricular”, not under “Work experience”


Short answer: I love this “briefly elaborate” 🙂 It’s about ONE of your extraxurricular or work experience. As it should be include no more than 150 words, make sure every word makes sense! You should explain why it was one of your most meaningful activities, what you gained from it.

Personal essay: No matter what topic you choose, the essay should tell something about you – how the person/book/experience, etc. has influenced you

I suggest you write down ideas on ALL topics instead of focusing only on the one that seem the easiest. I’ll help you choose which one is worth developing.

Disciplinary history: No, No, I hope 🙂

Additional information: if you have something really unusual in your circumstances … you’d better ask me before you write something pathetic!


Application fee payment: Will Mail Fee Waiver Request ( it’s a letter from your school, explaining that you don’t fave the money to pay. Most colleges accept it)


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nikki on September 9, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I was wondering when to begin bombarding you with questions of this kind… blogging saves so much time … 🙂

    Before I see this post, I tried to upload the full application packet in the Facebook group so that we can discuss it there, but there is not such an option, Instead I published a link to the entire application packet for 2009-2010, financial aid documents are not included.


  2. Posted by Nikki on September 9, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    By the way, has anybody seen the Facebook group recently …


  3. Posted by Unity on November 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I have a question for you. No one has legal responsibility for me, so who do I write down in the parent section of my application? My high school counselor advised me to submit a letter of explanation, so I did. Is this wrong?


  4. I think that’s a good idea. There is an option to apply as an independent student, but I don’t know much about that. I believe colleges will contact you to tell you whether they accept that. You’d better ask their financial aid offices for advice. Take a look at this: http://www.fafsaonline.com/fafsa-form/fafsa-form-step-3.php


  5. Posted by Dita on December 26, 2010 at 8:28 am

    What if my parents don’t have any masters degree? The common application simply won’t accept the fact that they don’t! I’m torn, please tell me how to overcome this 😦 thanks!


  6. Well, I don’t think you are required to fill in these fields.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: