Comprehensive Documentation Guide
Getting all your documents in properly and in a timely manner is one of the most essential parts of your college application. Most top tier schools do not evaluate incomplete applications. The following is a guide to all the documentation you may need for applying to top US institutions:
The School Report
This single document is by far the part that messes up most
people’s applications. Although it is an essential part of
applicants’ evaluation, many Arab students fail to understand
its importance. This document is the main source of information
regarding your school that the admissions officer will look at.
It tells the admissions committee what kind of opportunities
you had and gives them an overall description of your school.
It asks questions like “does the school offer IB or Aps” “highest
GPA and average SAT score”. We cannot stress this enough,
this form MUST be filled out correctly and on time. If not, it will
do considerable damage to your chances of admission.
While filling the CommonApp, you basically list your Mrshad Altulaby
as your counselor and add his/her email and then tell him/her to fill
the document. From previous years, students who had trouble with
counselors have filled this document out themselves seeing as it is
only general information on the school. Like in any part of the
application, inputting any false information will put you in danger
of serious consequences if caught.
One way of filling this out would be to add your counselor’s email
and then go to him and instruct him on how to complete the
document if that counselor is not fluent in English. Regardless of
the way you do it, the most important thing is to get it done; most
schools will not accept applications that do not come with the
Letters of Recommendation
After getting your recommendations from your teachers or mentors,
you have two options with regards to submitting them. The long and
tedious way would be to put all the signed recommendations in a sealed envelope and send them to all the schools your applying to (which will most likely be more than 12). It is extremely important that a recommendation is written thoroughly, for more information, the MIT Guide for Recommenders is the best guide to use for this important part of the application. You can find this thorough guide here.
The other more efficient way would be to add the teacher/mentor as an online recommender in the CommonApp. What you do is go the recommendation section of the Application and input your teacher’s email. After that, the teacher will receive an email with a username and password for a CommonApp Recommender account. It will contain a couple of questions that are answered by (top x percent) e.g. “this student has a high level of intelligence” and the answers would be “top 10% or top 5% or top 1%” something along those lines. Then there will be a text box; that is the teacher recommendation. All the teacher needs to do is input their recommendation there and submit. After that, your recommendation will be sent to all your schools electronically; saving you a large amount of cash and time. Doing it electronically allows you to choose which recommendation goes to which school (for instance, sending a History teachers recommendation would be a good choice for an Ivy but not for Caltech).
Transcripts and MidYear Report
This is the most simple of the document submissions. Simply have all your transcripts from 9-12 in a sealed official envelope (make sure the seal shows that is has not been open). Then send it out to the Admission Office of all the schools you’re applying to. I’d recommend having between 7-10 envelopes. You never know what school you’ll end up wanting to apply to at the end.
As for the midyear report, just have your counselor upload your regular transcript. Most schools will notice that you’ve already graduated so it won’t matter. Some universities will ask that your school emails them your MidYear Report. On the other hand, others might let you email your report yourself.
Extra and Supplementary Material
For most top schools, scores, essays and achievements are going to distinguish you that much. For that reason, most top schools allow for material other the aforementioned to allow you to show your complete potential. Examples of that are research papers, creative writing samples, calligraphy excerpts and poems (some schools even allow CDs and links to Youtube videos).
Please do not send any additional films/CD’s unless you are absolutely certain that they are of outstanding quality. So if you do have special talents, go through your intended school’s website, look through their policy on sending extra material. If they allow this, you can send them an envelope with your name, date of birth, school, and your CommonApp ID along with your transcripts. Again, please think thoroughly before sending them a Youtube video or clip.
Arabic Video for Counselors (coming soon)
Arabic Video for Recommenders (coming soon)