School profile 2021-2022

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 Bulgaria and 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 Science, and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as International Baccalaureate. 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 most courses are taught in English at an advanced college/university preparatory level.

Accreditation

ACS is an approved secondary school under the auspices of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, 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 International Baccalaureate.

Students

ACS’s student population of 917 is 97% Bulgarian (with 12% of students coming from outside Sofia), and 3% international students who represent 10 countries. There are 155 students in the Class of 2022. Admission to ACS for Bulgarians is based on an entrance examination taken in the spring of 7th grade in Bulgarian language, mathematics and analytical skills. Knowledge of English is not required. Students must have at least a 5.00 GPA to register for the entrance exam. In spring of 2021, 181 students out of the 705 who sat the entrance exam were offered admission to the College, an acceptance rate of 26%; 69% of them enrolled. Admitted students then spend a full “prep” year (8th grade) studying English. The 3% international students are admitted on the basis of an entrance exam, English proficiency and a strong academic record. Annual tuition is 7,200 Euros for the Bulgarian Diploma Program (for Bulgarian students) and 18,800 Euros for the international and IB Diploma Programs (for international students). ACS offers full scholarships to five Bulgarian students in each class, renewed annually, as well as tuition reduction for others; for the class of 2026, 87% of financial aid applications were approved. Out of 917 students, 26% currently receive tuition reduction.

Structure and Curriculum

All ACS courses are advanced college/university preparatory, as the pace and depth is necessary in order for them to achieve two diplomas, and 100% go on to college/university. (In addition, classes within a Profile are considered honors level.) All students earn the American High School Diploma. In addition, Bulgarians earn the national Bulgarian Diploma, and international students earn the IB Diploma. ACS has five academic grades: 8th or “prep” grade (emphasizing intensive English training) and 9th-12th grades. All courses are taught in English except Bulgarian language and literature, foreign languages, Bulgarian geography and Bulgarian history. Bulgarian students choose a “profile”, an area of concentration, within the Bulgarian Diploma Program (11th and 12th grades), in which students go into more depth. All ACS students follow an English profile and choose one other profile from the following: Humanities, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences (biology and chemistry), Mathematics & Physics, Entrepreneurship, Software & Hardware. All ACS students take extra mathematics every year beyond the requirements of the Bulgarian curriculum.

COURSES REQUIRED TO BE COMPLETED FOR THE ACS BULGARIAN AND AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAS
Subject 8th (Prep)  9th 10th 11th 12th
English 20 6 5 5.5 6
Bulgarian 4 3 3. 3 5
Mathematics 3 4 4 4 5
Biology   2 2 2  
Chemistry   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   1.5 1.5 1.5 2
Physical Science 1        
Computers 1 2 2 1.5 2
Physical Education 3 3 3 3 3
Art 1 1      
Music 1 1      
Electives   2 4 4 4
Student Selected Profile     2 2 3
Total Hours Per Week 34 37 37 36 37

International Baccalaureate (IB) Program

At ACS, the IB program is available to only international students. In the class of 2021, all four international seniors earned the full IB diploma with an average score of 36, the highest score being 41 and the lowest 32.

Grades and Ranking - Rating Policies

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 below. A 6.0 is the highest possible GPA. All academic courses are taught at an advanced college/university - preparatory 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 2022 MEAN GPA
Prep Year 5.44
9th  Grade 5.60
10th Grade 5.67
11th Grade 5.63

 

SAT Test Results for the Class of 2022

On average, 50% of ACS seniors take the SAT exam each year. The Class of 2022 SAT median from August to October 2021 is 1370 on the 1600 scale. ACS Class of 2022 median scores on SAT are noted below:

SAT -  Class of 2022
Scores: August 2020 - July 2021
Students Mean Score
Total 80 1323
ERW (Evidence-based Reading & Writing) 80 644
Mathematics 80 679
SAT - Class of 2022
Score: August 2021 - October 2021
Students Mean Score
Total 40 1370
ERW (Evidence-based Reading & Writing) 40 659
Mathematics 40 711

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 not typical for Bulgarian school. Under no circumstances can students miss regular classes to prepare for admission exams (SATs, AP, or local university exams etc.)

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 2008, the pilot year, 17 students from grades 10-12 sat for 33 tests in 18 subject areas. 

AP Exams with 9+ students
(9th-12th graders) 2021
Score of 3 Score of 4 Score of 5 Total Exams
Biology 12 4 1 22
Calculus AB 2 2 1 13
Calculus BC 5 4 7 26
Chemistry 4 0 1 12
Computer Science A 3 3 5 12
Macroeconomics 3 5 4 20
Microeconomics 3 13 5 26
Physics 1 5 1 2 18
Physics C: Mechanics 2 4 3 9
Psychology 1 4 1 17

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, 98% of ACS seniors apply to non-Bulgarian colleges and universities each year. ACS students from the classes of 2011–2021 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, U of

Erasmus U (Rotterdam)

Bates College

Ohio Wesleyan U

AUBG

Glasgow, U of

Oxford Brookes U

European U (Barcelona)

Bennington College

Pace U

Medical U (Sofia)

Glasgow School of Art

Plymouth, U of

Graz, U of

Bentley U

Pennsylvania, U of

National Academy of Art

Greenwich, U of

Portsmouth, U of

Groningen, U of

Berklee College of Music

Pomona College

New Bulgarian U

Hull, U of

Reading, U of

Heinrich Heine U

Brown U

Princeton U

Sofia U

Imperial College

Robert Gordon U

Hochschule Deggendorf

Chicago, U of

Ramapo College (NJ)

UK

Kingston U

Salford, U of

Hotel Institute Montreux

Columbia U

Reed College

Aberdeen, U of

Lancaster U

Sheffield, U of

Instituto Europeo di Design

Cornell U

Richmond, U of

Abertay Dundee U

Leeds, U of

Sheffield College

Jacobs U (Bremen)

Dartmouth College

Savannah College

Arts U Bournemouth

Leicester, U of

Sheffield Hallam U

John Cabot U (Rome)

Davidson College

Stanford U

Aston U

Liverpool, U of

Southampton, U of

Maastricht U

Dickinson College

Suffolk U

Bangor U

London, U of

Southampton Solent U

NABA (Milan)

Drexel U

Syracuse U

Bath, U of

 -Goldsmiths College

St. Andrews, U of

Roosevelt Academy

Flagler College

Trinity U

Birmingham, U of

 -King's College

Stirling, U of

Sciences Po

George Washington U

Tufts U

Birmingham City U

 -Queen Margaret U College

Strathclyde, U of

Technische U München

Grinnell College

UCLA

Bournemouth U

 -Queen Mary College

Surrey, U of

The American U of Paris

Harvard U

UC San Diego

Brighton, U of

 -Royal Holloway

U for the Creative Arts

The Hague U

Indiana U

Vanderbilt U

Bristol, U of

 -University College London

Warwick, U of

TUHH

Johns Hopkins U

Vassar College

Brunel U

London Metropolitan U

Westminster, U of

Twente, U of

Kenyon College

Washington and Lee U

Buckinghamshire New U

Loughborough U

West of Scotland, U of

University College Utrecht

Macalester College

Wellesley College

Cambridge, U of

Manchester, U of

York, U of

VIA U College (Aarhus)

McGill U

Williams College

Cardiff U

Manchester Metropolitan U

OTHER EU

Vienna, U of

Miami, U of

Worcester Polytechnic Inst.

Courtauld Inst. of Art

Middlesex U

BHMS (Luzern)

Vienna U of Technology

Mount Holyoke College

Yale U

Coventry U

Newcastle U

Bocconi U

Webster U (Vienna)

New York U

OTHER

Dundee, U of

Northampton, U of

Delft U of Technology

US & CANADA

North Carolina, U of

Central Queensland U

Durham U

Nottingham, U of

Den Haag Hotelschool

Adelphi U

Northeastern U

New York U, Abu Dhabi

Edinburgh, U of

Nottingham Trent U

EBS Universität

American U

Northwestern U

New York U, Shanghai

Edinburgh Napier U

     

Oberlin College

Pontifical Catholic U