School profile 2017-2018

History

The American College of Sofia (ACS) is one of the oldest American educational institutions outside the United States, tracing its roots to a boys’ school founded in 1860 at Plovdiv and a girls’ school founded in 1863 at Stara Zagora. The school was shut down in 1942 by the Bulgarian government and reopened its doors to a preparatory class of 100 students in September 1992. ACS is among the top private college preparatory schools in the Balkans. Admission is highly selective. Integrating the values and best practices of American pedagogy with the rich educational traditions of Europe, we seek to develop critical thinking, lifelong intellectual curiosity, leadership, and collaboration among multi-talented students of various social, cultural, economic, and geographic backgrounds. ACS graduates are accepted into some of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. and Europe and are valued critical thinkers and problem solvers able to set clear goals and achieve them. They are engaged in social issues and are able to compete with outstanding students world-wide. We provide a rigorous university preparatory education to motivated young people and are fully accredited by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as the International Baccalaureate Organization. Currently the IB Diploma Program is only available to non-Bulgarian international students. The majority of students receive both a Bulgarian diploma and an American diploma. The ACS curriculum is rigorous and all courses are taught in English at honors level.

Accreditation

ACS is an approved secondary school under the auspices of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, and all graduates receive Bulgarian diplomas, whether or not they have met ACS’s criteria for the American diploma. ACS is fully accredited with the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the International Baccalaureate Organization.

Students

ACS’s student population of 814 is 97% Bulgarian (with 15% of students coming from outside Sofia), and 3% international students who represent 10 other countries. There are 146 students in the Class of 2018. Admission to ACS for Bulgarians is based on the results of an entrance examination in Bulgarian language, mathematics and analytical skills. Knowledge of English is not required. Each year the highest scoring 160 students in the country are admitted to the College. Last year, 40.6% of applicants who applied to the College were admitted, and 80.5% of the admitted students enrolled. International and Bulgarian students who have studied abroad are admitted on the basis of English proficiency and a strong academic record in their previous school. Annual tuition for students is 6350 Euros. All families who require financial assistance may apply, and about 29% of the students in the entering prep class received a reduction in tuition fees.

Structure and Curriculum

ACS has five academic grades: prep grade (in which emphasis is placed on intensive English training) and the four high school grades, 9th-12th. ACS’s curriculum for Bulgarian diploma candidates is largely dictated by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education. A summary of ACS students’ weekly academic schedule by grade level is charted to the right. In grades 9-10 all courses are taught in English except Bulgarian and foreign languages. During grades 11-12 all courses are taught in English except Bulgarian language and literature, foreign languages, Bulgarian geography and philosophy (in grade 12). Profiles are areas of academic concentration. All ACS students take English as their first profile and mathematics as their second profile. Choices for the student-selected profile include chemistry, physics, humanities, and computers. 

Subject Prep 9th 10th 11th 12th
English (profile #1) 20 6 5 5.5 6
Bulgarian 4 3 3 3 5
Mathematics (profile #2) 3 4 4 4 5
Biology   2 2 2  
Physics   2.5 2 2 1
Foreign Language   3 3 2 3
History   2 2 2 2
Geography   2 1.5 1.5 1
Philosophy 1 1.5 1.5 1.5 2
Physical Science 1        
Computers 3 2 2 1.5 2
Physical Education 3 3 3 3 3
Art 0.5 1      
Music 0.5 1      
Electives   2 4 4 4
Student Selected Profile     2 2 3
Total Hours Per Week 36 37 37 36 37

International Baccalaureate (IB) Program

At ACS, the IB program is available only to International Students. The Class of 2018 is the eighteenth ACS class to have its non-Bulgarian members graduating with either an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma or subject specific certificates.

Grades and Ranking System

As a matter of policy, ACS does not rank or rate students. All academic courses receive grades of 2-6 according to the standards noted in the chart to the left. A 6.0 is the highest possible GPA. To convert GPA from the Bulgarian 6.0 system to the American 4.0 system, subtract two points from the Bulgarian system. For example, a 6.0 in the Bulgarian system is a 4.0 in the American system. All academic courses are taught at an honors level, and students are required to maintain a 4.50 average or above. Students who earn a semester GPA of 5.50-5.89 (U.S. 3.50-3.89) are placed on the Honor Roll. Students with a GPA of 5.90-6.00 (U.S. 3.9-4.0) are placed on the President’s List. In the event of a tie for highest GPA, the student with the most electives/credits is named Class Valedictorian at the end of the 12th grade year.

Grading System  
6 (A) Excellent (91.5-100%)
5 (B) Very Good (80.5-91.4%)
4 (C) Satisfactory (70.5-80.4%)
3 (D) Needs Improvement (59.5-70.4%)
2 (F) Unsatisfactory (0-59.4%)
Class of 2017 MEAN GPA
Prep year 5.32
9th grade 5.53
10th grade 5.59
11th grade 5.66 

 

SAT and SAT Subject test results for the Class of 2017

On average, 50% of ACS seniors take the SAT I exam each year. The Class of 2017 SAT I average is 1360 on the 1600 scale. ACS Class of 2017 average scores on SAT Subject Tests are noted below:

Subject Exam No. of Students Mean Score
Biology Ecology 7 702
Biology Molecular 3 700
Chemistry 2 690
English Literature 8 635
French 3 686
German 3 706
Math I 10 604
Math II 27 713
Physics 16 711
World History 2 690

The College’s CEEB code is: 718180. 

ACS offers optional SAT and AP preparation electives. The purpose of these electives is to familiarize students with standardized testing.

Advanced Placement (AP) Testing

While official AP courses are not taught at ACS, interested students may elect to self-prepare and sit for examinations. In May 2008, ACS began administering AP examinations. In 2008, the pilot year, 17 students from grades 10-12 sat for 33 tests in 18 subject areas. In May 2017, 63 students from grades 9-12 sat for 83 tests in 12 subject areas; 70% earned a 3 or better; 50% scored a 4 or 5. 

Creativity-Action-Service (CAS) Program and Senior Independent Honors Projects (SIHP)

Following the IB CAS model, all ACS students are required to complete 75 hours of extracurricular involvement each year within the areas of creativity (planning and organization of projects), action (active involvement), and service-related activities. As seniors, students may choose to complete CAS and/or SIHP. Senior Independent Honors Projects require a professional and teacher sponsor, research essay, and presentation of the project’s outcomes. Students who elect to complete a SIHP do work above and beyond ACS’s graduation requirements.

College Matriculation

On average, 97% of ACS seniors apply to non-Bulgarian colleges and universities each year. ACS students from the classes of 2011–2016 have attended undergraduate programs in the following colleges and universities, oftentimes having been awarded significant scholarship or financial aid from US institutions

BULGARIA Exeter, U of Oxford Brookes U Groningen, U of Brown U Ramapo College (NJ)
AUBG Glasgow, U of Plymouth, U of Heinrich Heine U Chicago, U of Reed College
Medical U (Sofia) Glasgow School of Art Portsmouth, U of Hochschule Deggendorf Columbia U Richmond, U of
National Academy of Art Greenwich, U of Reading, U of Hotel Institute Montreux Cornell U Savannah College
New Bulgarian U Hull, U of Robert Gordon U Instituto Europeo di Design Dartmouth College Stanford U
Sofia U Imperial College Salford, U of Jacobs U (Bremen) Davidson College Suffolk U
UNITED KINGDOM Kingston U Sheffield, U of John Cabot U (Rome) Drexel U Syracuse U
Aberdeen, U of Lancaster U Sheffield College Maastricht U Flagler College Trinity U
Abertay Dundee U Leeds, U of Sheffield Hallam U NABA (Milan) George Washington U Tufts U
Arts U Boumemouth Leicester U Southampton Solent U Roosevelt Academy Grinnell College UCLA
Aston U Liverpool, U of St. Andrews, U of Sciences Pro Harvard U UC San Diego
Bangor U London, U of Stirling, U of Technische U München Indiana U Vanderbilt U
Bath, U of  - Goldsmiths College  Strathclyde, U of The American U of Paris Johns Hopkins U Vassar College
Birmingham, U of  - King's College Surrey, U of The Hague U Kenyon College Washington and Lee U
Birmingham City U  - Queen Margaret U College U for the Creative Arts TUHH Macalester College Wellesley College
Bournemouth U  - Queen Mary College Warwick, U of Twente, U of McGill U Williams College
Brighton, U of  - Royal Holloway Westminster, U of University College Utrecht Miami, U of Worcester Polytechnic Inst.
Bristol, U of  -  University College London West of Scotland, U of VIA U College (Aarhus) Mount Holyoke College Yale U
Brunel U London Metropolitan U York, U of Vienna, U of New York U OTHER
Buckinghamshire New U Loughborough U OTHER EU Vienna U of Technology North Carolina, U of Central Queensland U
Cambridge, U of Manchester, U of BHMS (Luzem) Webster U (Vienna) Northeastern U New York U, Abi Dhabi
Cardiff U Manchester Metropolitan U Bocconi U US & CANADA Northwestern U New York U, Shanghai
Courtauld Inst. of Art Middlesex U Delft U of Technology Adelphi U Oberlin College Pontifical Catholic U
Coventry U Newcastle U Den Haag Hotelschool American U Ohio Wesleyan U  
Dundee, U of Northampton, U of EBS Universität Bates College Pace U  
Durham U Nottingham, U of Erasmus U (Rotterdam) Bennington College Pennsylvania, U of  
Edinburgh, U of Nottingham Trent U European U (Barcelona) Bentley U Pomona College  
Edinburg Napier U Oxford, U of Graz, U of Berklee College of Music Princeton U