Glossary of College Admissions Terms

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Associate DegreeIs granted after two years of post-secondary school study. You can get this degree at community colleges, technical colleges, and some universities. Often the credits can be used towards a bachelor’s degree. 
A.A.S.Is the degree you get after finishing a two-year technical school or vocation school program. 
Academic IndexIs a mathematical formula that Ivy leagues used for athletes, and is believed by some to be used for applicants now. It takes into account your superscored SAT (or ACT converted to SAT) (average of the three sections), average of your 3 highest SAT subject tests, and your converted rank score, which is your rank, percentile or GPA. Each one is worth 80 points, for a total possible value of 240. 
AcceptedThis means to gain admittance to the college one has applied to. It does not mean that the student is attending. 
ACTIs a test that is similar to SAT in purpose. It functions as an entrance exam. It tests students’ abilities in Math, Science, Reading and Writing. The maximum score is 36. 
Affirmative ActionIs the policy by which minority groups (gender, race, sexual orientation) are slightly favored in admissions to create a diverse college campus. 
AlumniAre students who graduated from the college. They are often instrumental in interviewing applicants. 
APIs a higher-level course program that often makes students eligible for college credit if they score well on the final exam. The maximum score is 5. 
ApplicantIs a student who has applied to the school. 
Art CollegeIs a school that specializes in one of the visual arts, illustration, photography, graphic design and more. 
AuditIs a way of taking a class without getting any grade or credit for it. It may or may not show up on your transcript. 
Award LetterTells you how much financial aid the school is offering you. This can often be negotiated after calling the financial aid office. 
B.A.Is a Bachelor’s of Art degree given to students who complete a four-year post-secondary education in anything but a science field A liberal arts education (with science classes included) will also be designated a B.A.  
B.S.Is a Bachelor’s of Science degree given to students who complete a four-year post-secondary education in a science field. Exact definitions of B.A. vs. B.S. vary by school.
Best FitIs a school determined to meet all of student’s needs and wants. This school will most likely be their top choice. Also, the school that best fits the applicant’s credentials. 
Campus InterviewAn interview that take place within the school rather in the applicant’s hometown.
Campus Tour/VisitAn opportunity for the student to visit the school and get a feel for the campus atmosphere. The admissions office schedules tours, but visits can usually be done whenever classes are in session. 
CEEB CodeIs a unique code that identifies your high school and is used to apply for college and for standardized testing. 
Class RankIs the placement of the student’s GPA among other students at the school. 
CollegeIs an undergraduate institution of study. 
College FairIs a showcase where various colleges will give out information about their programs and admissions. It is an excellent opportunity for students to ask questions. 
College Representative VisitIs when a rep from some college visits a high school to speak to students about applying and answers any relevant questions. 
Community CollegeIs an institution of study for two year. They are publicly funded. Often used as a stepping-stone for students before they apply to transfer into a college or technical school. 
ConsortiumIs when colleges cooperate together to allow students to cross-register for classes and share other resources. 
Core CurriculumIncludes your math, science, foreign language, English and social studies classes. 
Course NumberIs the number used to register for a certain course. 
Credit HoursTells you how many credits you will get for taking a certain class. A set number of hours will be required for graduation. 
Deferred AcceptanceA student who was accepted for not the class year they applied to, but a future one. (A Forced Gap Year)
Deferred EnrollmentA student who will not enroll into the class year they applied for but instead will enroll in a later year. (A Gap Year)
Demonstrated InterestIs how much the student has been able to show his or her interest in the school. Sometimes used in evaluating the applicant. Factors include campus visits, emails, and interviews. 
DenialIs getting rejected for entrance into the school. You may not appeal this decision in most situations and must choose a different school to attend. 
Early ActionIs a program that allows you to apply to the school early and hear back earlier than regular decision. Some restrictions apply. 
Early AdmissionIs applying to a school for enrollment after junior year of high school rather than senior year. 
Early DecisionIs applying to a school early and binding yourself to the school if you are admitted. 
Early Decision IIIs applying to a school after Early Decision but before regular decision. You are committed to attending if you are accepted.  
Enrolled StudentsAre the groups of students who have indicated they will be attending the school. 
FAFSAIs a Department of Education program to provide financial aid to students. The application is free and checks if you qualify for various federal scholarships, loans and work-study programs.
Fat EnvelopeIs the colloquial term for your acceptance letter, because it is often accompanied with various materials that you would need only if you were accepted. 
FERPAIs a federal law that protects the privacy of students’ academic records. 
General EducationAre the courses that everyone must take in order to graduate. 
GPAIs the average of all your class grades represented on a 4.0 scale. 
Graduate SchoolIs what students who complete undergraduate degrees attend for further education. These includes masters program as well as professional schools such a medical and law schools. 
Historically Black SchoolsAre schools that were formed for serving the black community. They are no longer limited to African-American students, but still tend to have a higher African-American enrollment. 
HolisticIs the name for the approach that American colleges use in evaluating applicants. It encompasses more than just test scores and academics, and accounts for the student’s other activities and personality. 
HonorsAre classes that are of higher difficult than regular classes but lower than AP and IB courses. 
HookIs what makes a student unique from the rest of the applicant pool and more likely to be admitted. 
IBIs a higher-level course program that challenges a student to diversify his or her academics and has other requirements in order to qualify for an IB diploma. The maximum score for exams is 7. 
In-state residentIs the type of tuition that residents of the state in which the school is located have to pay. This only applies to public institutions. 
LegacyIs a student whose parents or other family members attended the school he or she is applying to. 
Liberal Arts SchoolsIs a school that emphasizes a study of liberal arts and science rather than specializing in any one field. 
Magnet SchoolIs a high school that attracts the top high school students because of its reputation and resources. 
MajorIs the field in which a college student specializes in and is awarded a degree in. 
MatriculatingIs the process of enrolling in a school after being admitted. 
Merit-Based ScholarshipIs a scholarship that only takes into account the academic and extracurricular achievements of a student and not need. 
MinorIs the secondary field in which a student specializes and is awarded a degree for. 
National Merit ScholarshipIs a scholarship that is awarded based on performance on the PSAT/NMSQT. 
Need-Based ScholarshipIs a scholarship that uses need as a factor in awarding scholarships. 
Need-BlindIs a policy of not considering financial need when admitting an applicant to prevent those applicants from getting disadvantaged. 
Net Price CalculatorIs a tool that is available for students to calculate how much financial aid they can receive and how much their families will be expected to contribute. 
Pass/FailIs a way of taking classes with the only possible result being pass or fail. No letter grade is awarded. 
Placement TestsAre tests that help a college determine what classes you need to take and what classes you can skip. 
PLANIs a practice ACT exam that you should take as a Sophomore, and maybe even as a Freshman. 
PrerequisiteIs a class you must take before taking a higher level class. 
Private Is a type of school that is not publically funded. 
Prospective StudentIs a student that is thinking about applying to a school . 
PSATIs a practice SAT exam that you should take as a Sophomore, and maybe even as a Freshman. It also serves as the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship when taken as a Junior. 
PublicIs a type of school that is publically funded (also: State School)
ReachIs a school that an applicant applies to that is higher than his or her credentials, but possible.  
Religion BasedIs a school that has a religious affiliation. Some have a huge religious presence on campus. 
Reply DateIs the date by which an applicant must notify the school of his or her decisions to attend or not attend. 
RescindIs when the school takes away the acceptance they previously granted. This is rare and is reserved for situations in which the student’s senior year performance drastically decreases or for when the applicant was dishonest during the application cycle. 
Resident HallsAre where students live during college. (also: Dorms)
Rolling AdmissionsIs when a school will accept and deny students as they apply rather than all at once. 
SafetyIs a school that a student applies to for which her credentials exceed the average admitted student.  
SATIs a college entrance exam that tests a student’s abilities in Math, Critical Reading and Writing. The maximum score is 2400. 
SAT IIIs a college entrance exam that tests a student’s ability in various subjects. Often used for placement purposes after acceptance. 
SelectivityIs how many applicants a school rejects versus admits. 
Self-StudyingIs taking a course on your own without a class and taking the final exam to place out of it or get credit for it. 
Single Gender SchoolIs a school that only accepts one gender. 
SuperScoreIs taking only the highest section scores of the SAT or ACT when evaluating an applicant. 
TranscriptIs a student’s academic record from high school. 
UniversityIs the larger institution of academia including research institutions, the undergraduate college, and the graduate schools. 
UnweightedIs a GPA that does not take into account higher-level classes such as AP and Honors. 
WaitlistIs a list of students who the college will admit if students who were accepted decide not to attend the school. 
Work StudyIs a part-time job program that allows a student to earn money during the school year. 
YieldIs the number of students that enroll versus the number that were accepted. 

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