Essential Terms to Know - College Search Vocabulary
Associate Degree – a degree granted by a college or university
after the satisfactory completion of a two-year fulltime program of
study or its part-time equivalent.
Bachelor’s Degree – a degree received after satisfactory completion of a four or five year, full time program of study; BA (Bachelor of Arts) and BS (Bachelor of Science) are the most common.
Class Rank – the student’s position relative to other fellow students in a graduating class. Class rank is used by colleges to determine how well a student has performed academically relative to his/her peers.
College Work Study – a financial aid program through a college in which a student is offered the opportunity to work up to 15 hours a week in a school-related job. This is available to students who exhibit financial need.
Course Load – the number of courses taken within a semester (typically between 12-18 for full-time students).
Deferred Admission – allows the college to postpone making a decision about a candidate until additional data is collected. It is neither an acceptance or rejection.
Early Action – term describing a student applying to a college or university “early” in his/her senior year (usually by early to mid November) and receives an admission decision within 5-6 weeks. If accepted, the student is not bound to attend and has until May 1st to notify the institution of his/her decision.
Early Decision – a term describing a student applying to a college or university similar to early action. The difference is if the student is accepted, the student is bound to attend and must withdraw all applications to other colleges. A student may apply only to one college via early decision.
Financial Aid – a low interest loan package awarded on the basis of financial need. Loans must be paid back with interest; Grants are given to students on a financial needs basis and do not have to be paid back.
Grant – a financial gift for a student to use toward college costs that does not have to be repaid.
Regular Decision – a term describing the application process between January and May which colleges review most of its applications prior to notifying its candidates.
Rolling Admission – a process in which colleges are constantly reading and making decisions on applications until all seats within a specified college program and/or department is at capacity.
Technical School – a school or institution which offers an occupational education program that results in immediate employment or placement in a variety of fields, such as engineering or physical sciences, computer technologies. One-year certificate programs are available in certain crafts and clerical skills.
Transcript – the official high school record of courses and grades that is sent to colleges/universities as part of the student’s application
Wait List – a student is not offered admissions, but is placed on a waiting list should an opening occur. If an opening becomes available, the student is admitted. After a certain time, if an opening is not available, the student receives a rejection.