ACT – The American College Testing Program test divided into four parts: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. Score range is 1-36. National average is 21.
Admission Decisions – The colleges will usually reply in one of four ways: (1) accept, (2) deny, (3) defer (You have not been accepted or denied as an Early Decision or Early Action candidate; therefore, your application will be reviewed in the regular pool of applicants.) (4) waitlist.
A.P. – Advanced Placement courses are considered college-level courses given in high school for possible college credit. National exams given in May are graded on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high).
B.A. – Bachelor of Arts is the traditional degree awarded by a liberal arts college or university following the completion of a degree program. You may receive a B.A. in the humanities or the social and natural sciences.
B.S. – Bachelor of Science is usually awarded at the completion of a vocationally-oriented program like business, nursing, or education.
Candidate’s Reply Date – May 1 is the date by which a student must commit to attending one college and send a deposit to that one final college. Double depositing (depositing at multiple colleges) is unethical.
College Board – An association of high schools, colleges, universities, and educational systems, the College Board is a major provider of essential educational services and information to students, families, high schools and colleges. In conjunction with ETS, the College Board sponsors several tests used in the college admission process including the PSAT, SAT I, SAT Subject tests, and AP.
Common Application – A universal application accepted by over 350 private and public colleges. An applicant fills out one Common Application and then submits it electronically to any of the colleges which subscribe to the service. Website: www.commonapp.org
College Work-Study Program – CWSP is a federal program, which allows students to pay some of their college expenses by working part time on campus. Eligibility is determined by FAFSA.
Credit Hour – The value of a college course according to its level of difficulty. A four-credit course would be more demanding than a three-credit course. Most colleges require a certain number of credit hours for graduation.
Deferred Entrance – An admission plan, which allows an accepted student to postpone entrance to college for a year while retaining a guarantee of enrollment. During that year the student may work or travel but may not enroll at another college.
Degree – There are several levels of college degrees: Associates Degree awarded by two-year colleges; Bachelors Degree awarded by four-year colleges and universities; Masters and Doctorate--graduate level degrees offered by universities.
Demonstrated Need – Cost of attending a college or university, minus the family’s estimated contribution (as determined either by federal of institutional methodology).
Demonstrated Interest – A term used during the admissions process that encourages a student to express a great deal of interest in the institution in order to possibly receive a favorable admission decision.
Early Action – An non-binding admission plan offered by some colleges which allows the most qualified students to be admitted earlier than others, usually by mid-December. The student does not have to withdraw other applications and does not have to accept or refuse the EA offer of admission until May 1.
Early Admission – An admission plan which allows a student to enter college at the end of the junior year in high school. Admission requirements are usually as stringent or more so than usual. The student enters college without receiving a high school diploma.
Early Decision – A binding admission plan that requires an early application (typically October or November) and promises a reply by December or January. There are two types of ED plans: (1) Single Choice, in which the student is allowed to apply to only one college and (2) First Choice, in which the student may apply elsewhere but agrees to withdraw other applications if accepted by the ED school.
This plan is recommended only if the applicant is absolutely sure of his or her college choice. If accepted, the student is ethically obligated to attend if sufficient financial aid is offered.
Early Notification – An admission plan which promised an early reply to an early application. The student is not obligated to attend, if accepted. Very similar to early action admission program.
Educational Testing Service (ETS) – The people responsible for creating the PSAT, SAT I, SAT II, and A.P. and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Exams.
Enrollment Deposit/Matriculation Deposit – This non-refundable deposit reserves your place in the entering freshman class. Send this in by the date specified in the admission materials (usually but not always May 1).
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – An application form for need based and federal aid, created and maintained by the federal government.
Gapping – Gapping occurs when an admitted student is awarded a financial aid package that meets less than his/her full demonstrated need.
Liberal Arts – An introduction to a wide variety of subjects including the social sciences, humanities, fine arts, and natural sciences. The liberal arts do not include such technical majors as engineering, business, allied health, or architecture.
Merit-based Financial Aid – Financial aid, including scholarships, that is awarded based on a candidate’s merit (i.e., academic, special talent, athletics, competition). May or may not take into consideration financial need of the candidate.
Need-based Financial Aid – Aid offered by colleges and the federal government to bridge the gap between college costs and the family’s ability to pay as determined by the profile Profile, FAFSA, and/or the college Financial Aid Office. A typical aid package is divided into three parts: grant or scholarship (gift money you do not pay back), loan, and work-study (campus job).
Need-blind Admission – Students are admitted on the basis of academic and personal criteria, regardless of ability to pay. This does not always include international students.
Need-conscious (Need-aware, need-sensitive) Admission – Financial need might be a factor in the admission decision.
Pell Grants – Federal grants (gift, not loan) designed to help students with college costs. Eligibility is determined by the FAFSA.
Preferential/differential Packaging – The awarding of financial aid packages of differing attractiveness based upon the desirability of the candidates to the admitting institution.
Profile– A supplementary financial aid form created by the College Scholarship Service (College Board) and used with the FAFSA to determine financial need. The Profile is required by some colleges, universities, and scholarship programs to award their own private funds.
PSAT/NMSQT – Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. A shorter version of the SAT I given to sophomores and juniors in preparation for the SAT I. The PSAT when administered to juniors is used to determine eligibility for National Merit recognition and scholarships.
Rolling Admission – An admission plan in which applications are evaluated very soon after they are received in the Admission Office. The applicant might receive a decision very quickly but is not obligated to attend.
SAT I –A test designed to measure a student’s critical reading, mathematical aptitude, and writing skills. The score range is 200-800 on each section. The national average is approximately 500 on each part.
SAT Subject Tests. Subject tests were developed by the College Board to measure a student’s knowledge or skills in a particular area and ability to apply that knowledge. Each test is multiple choice and takes one hour. Many colleges require the subject tests for admission.
Score Choice – This option allows the test taker to review SAT I and Subject scores and select the scores to be sent to colleges.
Scholarships – Some colleges use the term "scholarship" to mean a grant or need-based aid which does not have to be repaid. Other colleges reserve the term "scholarship" for awards given for high academic achievement or special talent, regardless of demonstrated need.
Student Search – A College Board service which allows colleges to receive names of students who have taken the PSAT or SAT I and have indicated their willingness to receive mailings from colleges.
TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language. A verbal aptitude test for non-native speakers of English.
Waitlist – A list of qualified students who may be offered admission by a college at a later date, if space becomes available. Wait-listed students should initially accept another offer of admission and discuss with their college counselor how to handle the wait-list situation.