Archive for the ‘comm app’ Category

On common application

Dear readers,

I am planning to write some new tips on using The Common Application website to help applicants to US colleges 🙂



US application – the platforms

The Common Application gives you the opportunity to apply to many schools and saves you a lot of time.

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE gives you the opportunity to give information about your finances in order to apply for financial aid.

These might be the only platforms you need if you have been taking classes with me, but the best strategy is to visit the website of each college from your list, look for admission / application information for UNDERGRADUATES and INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, as well as financial aid sections. Thus you will be 100% sure what THESE colleges want.

You could create accounts and take a look, so that you can ask relevant questions. I’ll be posting more info soon.

Do you intend to enroll in a degree program your first year?

I have noticed that many people have come upon my blog by asking this question. However, I do not offer any explanation – just the answer my students should provide.

Well, let me explain for all who really wish to know:

You might enroll as a degree or a non-degree student.

If you plan to get a degree ( e.g. a Bachelor of Science in Physics), you need to take some mandatory classes, to collect a certain number of credit hours, etc. Then you enroll in a degree program.

However, your goal may not be to get a degree but just to take a number of classes because you are interested in them. Then you don’t enroll in a degree program. In this case you may not be a full-time student and take the required work-load, but just stray classes.

Of course, you might spend your first year as a non-degree student and then decide to start a degree program. In this case, you write “No” because they ask about the first year only.

This question does not ask you whether you are going to declare a major in the first year. You might enroll in a degree program your first year and not be in a hurry to declare your major during the first year 🙂

This is not just my own interpretation but what a friend of mine who works in a US college told me after discussing the question with other faculty and admissions officers.

(USA) The Common Application: 2010-2011 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 (if you want to start college in the fall of 2011)

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

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.

What is the highest degree you intend to earn? I have already explained the degrees: bachelor, master, doctor.

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


Citizenship status

Non-US citizenship Bulgarian

Primary language spoken at home Bulgarian / Turkish …

White (including Middle Eastern)


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

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 at high schools, you don’t write anything here.

Please list any community program/organization that has provided free assistance with your application process N/A

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!



Class Rank N/A

Class Size the number of students graduating in 2011 (брой ученици във випуска)

Weighted? If it is impossible to skip, choose “No”

GPA = grade point average (среден успех) – include year grades for 9, 10 and 11 class

Scale: 2-6 ( 3 is the lowest passing mark)

Weighted? If you include ALL subjects, choose YES; if you don’t include all subjects, choose NO.

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

Current courses: the subjects you take in 12 class

Honors: This is only about academic honors – related to academic subjects, so don’t include achievements in sports J Arrange these carefully! It’s a bit tricky!


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!


Short answer: 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.

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

Disciplinary history: No, No, I hope


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)

Tick all boxes!


You might have had more than one teacher per subject, but there is not enough space to write down all names, so make sure you write all subjects, and then write the name of the teacher who taught you longer or more recently. The teachers who are going to write reference letters should be on the list. If in doubt, ask me.

Applying to US colleges

Some people still don’t know what documents should be sent to American colleges. Instead of asking me, please, go through the relevan information in this blog. Check the category “Comm app”, and you will find more than 20 posts. Some of them give specific instructions on filling out applications for specific years, but most of them do provide information that is still valid.

My next publication will appear in a minute, and it will be the latest instruction on the Common Application, which you are going to fill out online.

If you have carefully read the blog so far, you’ll know that it is not the only document you have to prepare.

Applying to US colleges – 2

A student ask me whether I will tell you to start working on the common application when the time comes or you should decide on your own.

I believe that now it is more important to focus on application essays.

Meanwhile your parents will provide you with financial statements from their employers, and your schools will provide you with school documents, and your teachers will write your recommendations.

Before I publish instructions on how to fill out some common application and financial aid forms, you might register an account with the Common App. You could watch demo videos, go through all Power Point presentations – for students AND for teachers and counselors, so that you get an idea of what the process is like and if necessary help your teachers.

We could discuss all questions about your application in the forum. There I have started a special common app topic. You could find it in Appliation > Application forms > Common application 2010 – overviews

Writе to you soon … about financial aid applications 😉

Applying to US colleges

You could find a lot of information in this blog. It is distributed in different categories, so it is easy to find it.

Every year I write updates about application forms. Before I write the ones for the current application season, please, take a look at all the “old” information I have posted so far. Meanwhile, open Common Application and college websites and try to find out how stuff works 🙂 This will help you get a thorough picture of the process. Write down all questions that come to your minds and send them to me, so that I could prepare more efficient materials. Your questions should be specific; please don”t ask me to explain “everything” to you!

Don’t forget to try to understand the information on your own first rather than completely rely on me. I will be there for you, but not to do everything for you, but just to help you with some parts that you find tough after trying hard on your own.

Some college admissions officers say that handling the application forms is a kind of test 🙂 If you are unable to figure out most of the forms, then you will definitely be unable to handle academic work.