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COLLEGE ADMISSION GLOSSARY

ACT  The ACT is a standardized college entrance test offered on a number of dates (see your guidance counselor for testing calendar) and consisting of four parts: English, math, reading, and science reasoning along with an optional writing test. Most colleges accept either the ACT or SAT (see below).

Academics     Basic, general areas of study such as English, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language, etc., as opposed to strictly technical or vocational courses. High school success in these core subjects is used as a predictor of success in college.

Advanced Placement (AP)     A series of exams offered in classroom subject areas in May each year. Many high schools offer AP courses in many subject areas. Students may earn from one to eight college credits depending on the score earned on the test. The colleges determine what credit will be given for specific scores.

Arts and Sciences     The liberal arts division of the college (usually the largest division). Liberal arts are not engineering, business, pharmacy, or nursing. They consist of the humanities; physical, life, and natural sciences; math; and social science disciplines. Many students apply to the arts and sciences division.

Candidate's Reply Date     May l has been designated as the date by which all students must make a commitment to the college he or she will attend in the fall. Many schools will notify a student of admission before April l5 (the last date the colleges must inform students about their applications), but no student seeking admission under Regular Decision need notify a college of attendance before May l.

CEEB     The College Entrance Examination Board is a nonprofit organization governed by college and secondary school members. CEEB is the overseeing agency for many tests and services connected with the college admission process. The six-digit high school code most colleges may ask for is called a CEEB code.

CLEP     The College Level Examination Program sponsored by the College Board through which students can receive credit for classwork experiences and on-the-job training. Not all colleges recognize CLEP credit.

College (as different from a university)     An educational institution that offers instruction beyond the high-school level in a two- or four-year program only, or an academic division of a university, such as the College of Arts and Sciences.

College Board     A nonprofit organization whose membership includes colleges and universities and a large number of secondary schools. It offers a wide variety of services to members, including standardized admission and financial aid procedures, guidelines for admission policy, and a forum to discuss topics of concern to the higher education community.

College Day or College Night Programs     A program sponsored by a high school or school district to provide information to students about the college selection process. Representative from colleges and universities are present to answer questions about their institutions.

College Representative or Admission Officer     Many colleges send admission officers to high schools to promote their schools and introduce their programs to prospective students.

College Scholarship Service (CSS)     The division of the College Board responsible for the PROFILE and the needs analysis that determines the family's contribution toward payment of a student's education.

Combined Studies Program or Dual Degree Program      These terms designate programs in which a student combines academic interests from more than one area; for example, a student who is pursuing two separate bachelor's degrees is in a combined (or dual) degree program. Students who pursue double majors and major/minor combinations are in combined studies programs.

Common Application     The Common Application is an online form that can be used to apply to over 400 colleges and universities; college applicants need to fill out only one form.

Co-op Program     In a cooperative education program between a college and a corporation, studio, or lab, the student attends classes and then works off-campus, for pay, at the business site in the student's career field to gain experience.

Credits     The unit used for measuring educational accomplishment based on a given number of classroom periods per class, per week, throughout a term. Most undergraduate programs require an accumulation of at least l20 credit hours to graduate.

Deferred Admission     A process by which seniors apply for and are accepted for admission to colleges during their senior year of high school, but choose to enter as freshmen after a one-year absence from school. A deferred admission is a commitment on the part of the college to take the student; a deferred acceptance is a commitment on the part of the student to attend after one year. Check with the college for specifics on deferring your enrollment.

Deposit     An amount of money that a student must send to the college, once he or she has been accepted. The deposit indicates that the student accepts the college's offer and will enroll. The enrollment deposit is nonrefundable. A housing deposit, also required, is often applied toward the first semester of housing.

Distribution Requirements     Most colleges won't let students take only history courses or only math courses; instead, they usually require that a student take some humanities courses, math courses, language courses, etc., in order to be liberally educated (i.e., not specialized). Some colleges have a core curriculum that is very specific about required courses. Almost all require freshman composition (i.e., English).

Diversity     This can mean anything from geographic distribution, to socioeconomic backgrounds, to political leanings, to religious affiliations of the student body. Often, diversity means the percentage of minority or international students.

Early Action     This is a decision plan allowing students to apply to college early in the fall. The college responds with an admission decision early in the cycle. It differs from Early Decision because Early Action is nonbinding. Check with the schools to which you are applying to see which decision plans they offer.

Early Admission     Many colleges have a program under which a student may apply for admission during the junior year. Early Admission at most colleges is reserved for truly exceptional individuals whose academic preparation, achievement level, and maturity level are sufficient for early entrance to college.

Early Decision (ED)     This is an early application process that involves a binding agreement on the part of the student. If a student is admitted under ED, he or she agrees to enroll at a particular college and to withdraw all other applications in process at other schools. This option is a good plan for students who have a clear first choice and are willing to stand on academic and extracurricular records through their junior year. ED deadlines vary from school to school. Students not admitted under Early Decision are usually, but not always, reconsidered with Regular Decision applicants.

Electives     Courses that are taken beyond those specifically required for a particular degree. Students often use electives to explore different areas of interest prior to selecting a major.

English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT)      One of the SAT II subject tests, the ELPT is offered to students who are not native speakers of English but who have completed at least two years of English language instruction. Students whose best language is not English, or who usually speak a language other than English, also may take the test, which consists of two subtests measuring reading and listening skills

ETS     The Educational Testing Service is a nonprofit agency employed by the CEEB to produce the SAT and SAT II tests.

FAFSA     The Free Application for Federal Student Aid form available from your high school counselor's office. This form must be submitted for a student to receive federal financial aid.

GPA     The Grade Point Average is an average of all or most high school grades. Some colleges consider only the GPA of core courses.

Grant     An amount of money given (rather than loaned or earned) to a student for a specified time of study or research. Certain grants are based on need, as are the federal Pell Grant and state grants.

Greek Life     Fraternities and sororities associated with a college or university, including their sponsored activities.

Group Meeting or Information Meeting      Informational meetings are often held in cities around the country to give prospective students and their parents information about a college. They are conducted by an admission counselor with assistance from college alumni.

High School Visit     Admission officers visit selected schools in cities throughout the U.S.A. and in some foreign countries to which they travel. These visits, similar to group and information meetings (above), are used to meet with students, teachers, and counselors, and tell them about the admission process at their colleges and the opportunities their colleges offer.

International Student     An international student is a student who is not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Any foreign student residing in or planning to study in the United States on any type of visa other than a resident alien card is considered an international student.

Liberal Arts     A broad undergraduate program of education stressing the core courses; pre-professional training is often also available. (also see Arts and Sciences.)

Loans     The most commonly used loans are:
Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan has the interest paid by the federal government while the student attends college. Repayment begins six months after completing (or leaving) college.
Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan does not have the interest paid by the federal government while the student attends college. Interest can be paid while in college or left to accrue until completing (or leaving) college.
Federal Perkins Loan Carries the lowest interest rates and is offered through the college as part of a financial aid package.
Parent Loan Program (PLUS) Parents borrow for college expenses; repayment begins 60 days after inception of the loan.

Major     A subject of academic study chosen as a field of specialization.

Merit Scholarships or No-need Scholarships      Money given to students to cover college expenses without regard for financial need; e.g., athletic scholarships, academic scholarships, music scholarships, etc.

Minor     A subject of academic study requiring less intense specialization than a major.

NACAC     The National Association for College Admission Counseling is a professional organization of college admission counselors and high school guidance counselors who set standards and goals by which admission professionals work.

National Merit Scholarship Program      This program offers qualified students scholarships financed by more than 400 corporations, company foundations, professional associations, unions, company trusts and universities. Recipients are chosen on the basis of PSAT scores, course work, grades, leadership, interests, goals, and school recommendations.

NMSQT     The National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is the PSAT (Preliminary Student Aptitude Test). Scores on the PSAT are used by the National Merit Scholarship Program, in combination with other student attributes, to determine scholarship recipients.

Prerequisite     A course required before taking another course (i.e., French I would normally be required before taking French II).

PROFILE     The form used by the College Scholarship Service (CSS) to assess a family's ability to pay for a college education. After information is analyzed, a complete report is sent to institutions and agencies designated by the student. Need-based financial aid is awarded according to the results. You must register with CSS to receive the PROFILE Packet. See your guidance counselor for registration forms

PSAT     The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test is offered to students in October of the junior year. Some students take it during the sophomore year.

Regular Decision     This is the most common admission program. Applications for admission are due sometime between January l and January l5 at most selective colleges; applicants are notified of their admission status between April l and April l5.

Residential Campus     A college that provides or requires on-campus housing for most or all students. Many colleges require all first-year students (freshmen) to live in college housing; this is usually referred to as guaranteed housing.

Rolling Admission     This means that as soon as applications arrive at a college, the admission office starts reading them and making decisions-often within three or four weeks. Usually, if you are accepted under this plan, you will not have to commit yourself until May l, but be sure to read the fine print. Most, but not all, state universities operate with Rolling Admission; the earlier you apply, the better the chance for acceptance at most colleges using this plan.

SAT     The abbreviation for the standardized college entrance test offered by the College Board. The SAT   is offered on a number of dates.  Three scores between 200 - 800 are reported for critical reading, mathematics, and writing.

SAT Subject Tests   A series of l6 subject-area exams sponsored by the College Board and administered by the Educational Testing Service. Students may take one, two, or three exams on any test date. The scores provide a national standard to measure a student's classroom achievement. Test subjects include areas such as, literature, American history, European history, math, Latin, Spanish, biology, chemistry, and physics. Tests are scored on a scale of 200-800. Information about these tests can be obtained from the College Board.

Scholarship     Money given to students demonstrating high academic achievement, outstanding leadership, or special interests or talents. This money may be used for payment of all or part of their college expenses and is not required to be paid back.

Selective Admission     The ability of a college to choose a freshman class from an applicant pool that has more qualified candidates than the college can accommodate. Only about l00 U.S. colleges are truly selective and only a few are highly selective, i.e., in the position to deny 50 percent of the students who apply.

Senioritis     A tendency in high school seniors to become so excited about the end of school and graduation that they spend too much time in social activities and fail to maintain their grades through the end of their senior year. Don't let this happen to you!

3-2 Programs     A dual degree program where students complete 3 years at one college and 2 years at another. The student graduates with two degrees.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)      A test offered to assess knowledge of written and spoken English for students whose native language is not English.

Transcript     The official record from a school showing the student's grade records, list of courses taken, cumulative Grade Point Average, and class rank (if the school ranks its students). An official transcript, sent directly from the high school to the college admission office, is always required for a student to be admitted.

University     Latin for the whole (uni) truth (veritas), this term refers to an academic organization that grants undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of fields and supports at least two degree-granting professional schools that are not exclusively technological (such as medicine, journalism, or agriculture) and is composed of a number of schools or colleges, each of which encompasses a general field of study.

Viewbook     A viewbook contains a broad range of information about a particular college or university, such as the size of the student body, the size and quality of the faculty, information about the faculty, information about life on campus, and certain specific information about the courses of study available at the school. Other information is sometimes needed to supplement viewbook information for a particular specialization.

Wait List or Alternate List     The number of qualified candidates at a selective college who initially receive neither a letter of acceptance nor a letter of denial, but who may be offered a place in the freshman class after the Candidates' Reply Date if the class is nor filled by those initially offered admission. Some colleges may go to the Wait List as late as July or even August. Students who receive a Wait List letter may be asked if they want to remain on it.

Work-Study     A special federally sponsored college program combining class hours and work hours on the campus. Pay is usually minimum wage or slightly above for approximately l0-l5 hours per week. The earnings from the job are used as part of a financial aid plan to help pay for tuition and other college expenses.


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