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College Admissions Glossary

College Admissions Glossary

By Kay Peterson, Ph.D.

September 04, 2008

Acceptance Form: This form documents the student’s receipt of an award letter. The form usually includes a space to indicate acceptance of offered aid, declination of all or part of the package and some means for requesting an appeal to modify the award. Acceptance letters and award letters are frequently combined into a single document.

Admit-Deny: Some schools will admit marginal students, but not award them any financial aid. Very few schools use admit-deny, because studies have shown that lack of sufficient financial aid is a key factor in the performance of marginal students.

Associate Degree: A degree which is granted to a student who has completed a two-year program (64-66 credits) and is equivalent to the first two years of study for a Bachelor degree. An Associate degree may be further specified as an Associate of Arts (AA) (granted to students who have completed a two-year program in liberal arts) or an Associate of Science (AS) (granted to students who have completed a two-year program in the sciences).

Associate of Applied Science (AAS): A degree that is granted to students who have completed a technology or vocational program. It is generally considered a terminal degree as it prepares students for immediate employment upon graduation. In some cases, the credits earned while completing an AAS can be transferred to a Bachelor degree, but only when specified by the school or program in question.

Award Letter: The form which notifies the student that financial aid is being offered. The award letter usually provides information about the types and amounts of aid offered, as well as specific program information, student responsibilities and the conditions which govern the award. The Award Letter often includes an Acceptance Form.

Bachelor or Baccalaureate Degree: A degree which is granted to a student who has completed a four-year program (120-128 credits). The most common types of Bachelor degree programs include the Bachelor of Arts (BA) (for students of liberal arts) and the Bachelor of Sciences (BS) (for students of science).

Campus-Based Programs: The term commonly applied to those U.S. Department of Education federal student aid programs administered directly by institutions of postsecondary education. Includes: Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs.

Commuter Student: A student who does not live on campus; typically “commuter” refers to a student living at home with his or her parents, but can also mean any student who lives off-campus.

Cooperative Education: In a cooperative education program, the student spends some time engaged in employment related to their major in addition to regular classroom study.

Credit (or Credit Hour): The unit of measurement some institutions give for fulfilling course requirements.

Early Action: An early action program has earlier deadlines and earlier notification dates than the regular admissions process. Unlike the Early Decision program, the early action program does not require that a student commit to attending the school if admitted.

Early Admission: Procedure used by colleges which allows gifted high-school juniors to skip their senior year and enroll instead in college. The term “Early Admission” is sometimes used to refer collectively to Early Action and Early Decision programs.

Early Decision: Some colleges offer the option of an early decision to students who meet all entrance requirements, are certain of the college they wish to attend and are likely to be accepted by that college. Students participate in the Early Decision plan by indicating their desire to participate on their college application. The decision regarding admission is made by mid-December of the student’s senior year in high school, as opposed to the regular admissions notification of mid-April. A drawback of the Early Decision program is that students will have to commit to a school before they find out about the financial aid packet. A student can apply early decision to only one school.

Open Admissions: Students are admitted regardless of academic qualifications. The school may require an additional probationary period during which the student must earn satisfactory grades to ensure continued enrollment.

Out-of-State Student: This term generally applies to students applying to a public college or university. Tuition rates are lower for state residents; out-of-state students must pay a higher rate of tuition until they have established the legal residency requirements for the state.

Remediation: Students who are not fully prepared for college academically are often required to complete remedial classes. The courses are designed to bring the student up to the level required for satisfactory college-level performances. Such courses are usually not granted credit towards graduation.

Rolling Admissions: Students’ applications are considered when all required credentials have been submitted. There is either no deadline or a very late deadline; qualified students are accepted until classes are filled. Applicants are notified of admission continuously throughout the enrollment period.

Selective Admissions: Admissions procedure used by colleges and universities, where additional standards and criteria are required. Usually for specific programs or departments.


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