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Useful College Admission Terms

College Admission TermsArticulation Agreement
Formal arrangements between two or more colleges and universities that specify how courses, a general education plan, and/or major requirements transfer from one institution of higher education to another. Articulation agreements are crucial for transfer students who need to understand how their credits will translate to other institutions.

Campus Interview
An optional component of the admission process where the student schedules a visit with an admission officer.

Campus Tour
An opportunity to observe campus culture, talk to current students, and visit the surrounding community.

Class Rank
A measure used to show how a student's academic performance compares to that of their peers within the same high school class.

The Coalition Application
A college application accepted by more than 140 colleges and universities. The application platform also offers a set of free online college planning tools that help students learn about and prepare for college.

College Essay
A common component of the admission process that allows students to showcase their individuality.

College Fair
A convenient way for students to meet representatives from many colleges and universities under one roof.

Common Application
A college application accepted by more than 800 colleges and universities.

Conditional Admission
An offer of admission contigent upon certain conditions, such as a mandated grade point average.

Deferred Admission
A response to early applications wherein the student is not admitted but retains elegibility in the regular admission pool.

Deferred Enrollment
A decision made by the student to postpone their admission to college, sometimes used to take a gap year.

Demonstrated Interest
Various ways in which a student shows their interest in attending a specific institution prior to the official application process. Measures of demonstrated interest vary from college to college, but can include taking a campus tour, contacting the admission office, registering for a overnight program on campus, and more.

Early Action
Students apply by an earlier deadline to receive a decision in advance of the college’s Regular Decision notification date. Students will not be asked to accept the college’s offer of admission or to submit a deposit prior to May 1.

Early Decision
Students commit to a first-choice college and, if admitted, agree to enroll and withdraw their other college applications. Colleges may offer ED I or II with different deadlines. This is the only application plan where students are required to accept a college’s offer of admission and submit a deposit prior to May 1.

Federal Application for Federal Student Aid
Required application for anyone filing for federal financial aid, including all federal loans.

Financial Aid
Monetary assistance applied toward postsecondary education, which can consist of gift-aid, work-study, or loans.

First-Generation
College aplicants who are the first in their families to apply and attend a postsecondary institution.

Gap Year
A student's decision to postpone their acceptance to college, usually during the year between senior year of high school and freshman year of college.

Grade Point Average
A component on high school transcripts that averages all of a student's grades, typically on a 4.0 scale. Some schools give more weight to grades earned through higher-level coursework.
 
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
Postsecondary institutions established prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for the purposes of educating African-American students.

Legacy
A student applicant with familial ties to the college or university to which they are applying.

Letter of Recommendation
Non-familial references submitted by students during the admission process.

Need-Blind
A policy of colleges and universities to extend admission offers regardless of a student's financial status.

Open Admission
Non-selective admission policy.

Placement Test
A test given to students before they enroll in college, and usually after they are accepted, to align their educational needs with the appropriate coursework.

Private College
An academic institution financed primarily by tuition and endowments.

Public College
An academic institution financed by tuition, endowments, and state or local taxes.Tuition for in-state students is reduced and programs and policies are state-regulated.

Regular Decision
A decision offered during the regular admission cycle. Students submit their applications by a specified deadline and are notified of a decision within a clearly stated period of time.

Restrictive Early Action
Students apply to an institution of preference and receive a decision early. They may be restricted from applying ED, EA or REA to other institutions. If offered enrollment, they have until
May 1 to confirm.

Retention Rate
The percentage of first-year students who continue at that college or university for a second year of studies.

Rolling Admission
Students apply at any time after a college begins accepting applications until a final closing date, which may be as late as the start of the term for which they are applying. Students are notified of a decision as their applications are completed and are reviewed.

Selectivity
Institutional statistic that compares the number of students who apply to those who are accepted.

Standardized Test
A national college admission exam with subject areas in English, math, reading, and science with an optional writing component. The ACT and SAT are the two most popular versions in the US.

Summer Melt
A trend describing students who apply and are accepted to college, but ultimately do not attend.

Transcript
A student's academic history, usually curated by a high school counseling department, submitted as part of the college application.

Universal Application
A college application accepted by 16 colleges and universities. The application platform also offers a set of free online college planning tools that help students learn about and prepare for college.

Wait List    
Wait lists give students who were not initially admitted another opportunity to be considered for admission,and they help colleges manage their enrollments. By placing a student on the wait list, a college does not initially offer or deny admission but extends to the candidate the possibility of admission no later than Aug. 1 should space become available.