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).
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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