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How to Fill Surname, First Name, Last Name and Middle Name

Arrangement of names while filling forms online can be confusing. In this part of the world or anywhere else, forms are different so also are the details to be fill in them.

Things may be the same for the major parts of some forms compared to others. However, areas such as names can be doubting. 


For example, while filling a school's post UTME form, admission form, scholarship form, you may see a newer arrangement than you're used to. 


Whereas, serious problems had been witnessed in the past regards this dilemma. Candidates and admitted students had been screened out or disqualified based on the arrangement of names wrongly


This is why it's important to learn this and be sure we do our fillings correctly if we have to submit error-free applications.

What's a Surname?

Also called last, patronymic, or family name, a surname is a hereditary name common to all members of a family.

What's a First Name?

Also called the forename, Christian name, given name, or baptismal name, first name is a personal name given to someone at birth or baptism and used before a family name.

What's a Middle Name?

Also called other names, middle names are persons' names placed after the first name and (sometimes) before the surname.

Surname is British, Last Name is American

When filling forms online or offline, expect two standards. The form template may take the American standard of arranging details or the British standard.


In the past, it's easy to predict the form type you'll potentially be given. For example, in Nigeria, you expect the British while in Canada you expect the American.


But lately, forms are being given without much concerned reference to a country especially while filling online.


Irrespective of the form given to you, where its states "Surname" it means the same as "Last Name". However, where a form states surname or last name, other options can still be the "first name" and/or middle name or other name.


Let's see the example below.


Name: Surname, First Name, and Middle Name


Above is the British standard. 


Surname refers to your family name, the first name is your primary/main name and the middle name is your second name.


For instance, my name is Tijani Mutiu Tolani


In the case of the British standard above, Tijani is the surname, Mutiu is the first name while Tolani is the middle name.


Don't confuse the Middle name to mean a name in the middle. No!


However, that's for the British. 


The American standard won't usually use the middle name option instead they use other name.


Using my names again, for the American standard, Tijani is the last name (the surname in the case of British),. Mutiu is the first name (the same as British). Tolani is the other name (usually called the middle name in British).

Where a Form Doesn't Differentiate The Names

With all the examples above, it's obvious certain forms want you to be specific about your family and personal names. However, there are cases where such will not happen. 


The form will on say "Name".


In this case, you're free to arrange your names as exactly as it's on your academic (e.g. result) and personal (e.g. ID card) credentials.


For instance, if your names are arranged on your result or certificate as Tijani Mutiu Tolani, it will be wise to strictly arrange them as such. Don't arrange it as Tijani Tolani Mutiu.


Most bodies, especially schools, won't take any arrangement from you. You just have to follow the instructions in the forms and where you're not instructed, follow the arrangement on your required or accompany credentials.

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