Common Application: The most common application portal system that students use in order to apply to US universities. It supports more than 800 colleges and universities around the world. But, the Common App limits applicants to 20 schools.
Coalition Application: A similar system to the Common Application. It supports around 150 schools throughout the US.
The Coalition Application emphasizes diversity and equality. Its goal is to break down barriers for underrepresented students. The reason why it has less schools is because it requires at least a 70% six year graduation rate, and affordable tuition or need-based financial aid.
Other Applications: Some schools have their own application systems such as the UC system, the California State Universities, MIT, Georgetown, and SUNY/CUNY, etc. Questbridge National College Match: Questbridge is a program that connects high-achieving low-income students with elite universities. Test-optional: This term means that a school does not require SAT or ACT test scores. Test-blind:This term means that a a school does not consider test scores even if a student submits them School Profile: This a report sent to colleges by your high school (BLA). The school profile includes your school’s academic program, grading system, course offerings, and other components. Admissions offices use this information to evaluate your application in the context of the opportunities that were offered to you. Grade Point Average (GPA): This is a standard measure of academic standards. Different schools have different scales, but GPA is typically measured out of a scale of 4.0 in which each letter grade has a correlating point value. For example, an A would be a 4.0, a B would be a 3.0, etc.
Unweighted (UW GPA): Your Unweighted GPA does not take your course rigor (AP, Honors, Pre-AP, and etc.) into consideration. It is usually measured on a scale from 0.0 to 4.0.
Weighted (WGPA): Your Weighted GPA does take your course rigor (AP, Honors, Pre-AP, and etc.) into consideration. Weighted GPAs go beyond the 4.0 scale.
Standardized Test Scores: Another metric that evaluates a student on their preparation for college academics.
This includes SAT, ACT, SAT II/Subject Tests, AP/IB, and PSAT scores
Extracurriculars (ECs): Any activity that you do outside of school which is not directly related to your academic work - but at times it could be! Honors: Any award or achievement you received at any point during your four years of high school. Letter of Recommendation (LOR, rec): Letters written by your teachers, guidance counselors, and/or mentors on your behalf to colleges. Interview: A meeting with an alumni or admissions official affiliated with the school. Interviews give students the opportunity to present themselves to a representative of the school and to ask questions about the college. Personal Statement/Common App Essay: A written statement about yourself. Because every other part of the application is mostly quantitative, this is your opportunity to show admission officers who you are as a person! Almost all colleges will require the personal statement - 650 word limit for Common App, 550 for Coalition. Supplements: Some schools require you to write supplemental essays. Additionally, some schools allow you to submit supplemental materials such as a portfolio, a school essay, a research paper, etc. FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act): a law that protects the privacy of your education records. Completing the FERPA Release Authorization will grant your high school permission to send those records on your behalf. Fly-in/Diversity Programs: A two/three day, all-expense paid trip to a college campus for prospective students from diverse backgrounds. This opportunity is not exclusive to only underrepresented minorities; fly-in programs look for a wide variety of applicants who traditionally wouldn’t have the opportunity to visit. The target demographic is high-achieving but disadvantaged high school seniors (first-gen, low-income, and/or minority group, rural). Likely Letter: An email or letter sent to select students before an institution makes its official admissions decisions. The message indicates the college’s intent to accept the student. Therefore, the student is “likely” to get in. Extremely rare; sent to the strongest applicants in order to increase a college's yield rate. In-state: A school that is located in the state you are a resident of. Out-of-state: A school that is outside your state of residency Private: An independent school that sets its own policies and goals, and is also privately funded Public: Any institution of higher education operated/ funded by a State
Early Decision (ED): A contractual agreement with a college (signed by you, your guardian, and your guidance counselor) which states that if you are accepted, you are obligated to attend and to withdraw/decline all other applications/offers. You can only apply to one school ED. The deadline is usually November 1 or November 15. Admissions decisions typically release around mid-December.
You can break an ED contract if you have an exceptional circumstance, such as an inability to pay.
Early Action (EA): This is a non-binding early application. The deadline is usually November 1. Admissions decisions are typically released from mid-December to late-January. You can apply to as many EA universities as you like. You do not have to withdraw/decline any applications/offers if you are admitted.
Restrictive Early Action (REA)/Single Choice Early Action (SCEA): This is a non-binding early application. However, applicants are generally barred from applying to private universities through early action/decision. The rules differ from college to college so make sure you verify school-specific policies. Typically, if you apply to a college through REA/SCEA, you are not permitted to ED/EA to another private institution, though you can apply EA to any number of public schools.
Regular Decision (RD): The standard admissions process; nonbinding. The deadline is usually January 1. Admissions decisions start to release around March. Applicants can apply to as many schools as they like through RD. They have until May 1st to decline or accept an offer. Rolling Admissions:This is a type of process where colleges evaluate applications as they are received, instead of waiting to evaluate all applications after a particular deadline. The earlier you submit, the earlier you will receive an admissions decision. Some have priority deadlines, meaning that they will give greater consideration to applicants who applied by a certain date. Others may operate on a first-come, first-serve basis for housing and financial aid.
Acceptance/Rejection: This is very straightforward; you are accepted into an institution, or you are rejected from an institution. Deferral: This means that your application is carried over from an early round (ED/ED2/EA) to the RD round. Deferral does not mean rejection students! It simply means that admission officers want to evaluate your application against the applicants in the RD pool. You will receive your final decision when RD decisions are released.
Applicants are deferred for a number of reasons. You could be a borderline applicant, meaning that you don’t necessarily stand out in the early applicant pool. Sometimes admission officerswant to see your first-semester grades in order for you to display your academic prowess (ability). The school might also want to consider their institutional needs and whether or not you fulfill them.
Waitlist: This term means that the applicant has not been accepted but could still be considered if enough students that were accepted choose not to attend the college. *NOTE: For selective schools, it is very unlikely and difficult for students to get off the waitlist. Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI): This is a message to the college that you were either deferred from or waitlisted at. This is a wonderful way to let the school know that you are still interested in them, and that you are still extremely qualified. Typically, the LOCI affirms that the school is one of your top choices; it also gives you the opportunity to update the admission officers (eg. notify them about recent academic and extracurricular achievements).
This is the last thing you have in your disposal. It is very possible that your LOCI will sway the final admissions decision, especially if other applicants do not send one in.
Recension: When a college revokes an acceptance due to low grades or other factors such as disciplinary wrongdoings or a falsified application.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): A free application form that is used to apply for federal and state financial aid, such as federal grants, work-study, and loans. Most colleges require FAFSA in order to determine your eligibility for school aid. You can submit the FAFSA every year, even in college, if you want additional aid.
College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile: This form is used to determine eligibility for non-federal financial aid. It is administered by the College Board. Most colleges require the CSS profile to determine a student’s financial aid package. Unlike FAFSA, there is a fee to apply. The first application is $25 and any additional schools are $16 each. Fee waivers are granted. In other terms, the CSS Profile is a more intensive look into your financial background.
Meet 100% of Demonstrated Financial Need: Demonstrated financial need is the amount your family can reasonably afford to pay. This is determined through the FAFSA and CSS profile. 100% need met schools pledge to meet 100% of their students’ financial needs. They guarantee you receive all necessary money through a combination of grants, loans, work-study, and/or scholarships.
Net Price Calculator (NPC): Each college offers a net price calculator. Net price is the attendance cost that students and parents need to pay for out-of-pocket, or through student loans. The NPC asks questions about the parents’ income, taxes, and assets to estimate the college’s total cost minus any grants and scholarships the student might be eligible for.
Financial Safety School: A school that you are not only very likely to get into, but also able to pay for. Just as everyone should have a safety school, everyone should have a financial safety school! Need-Blind: A policy in which applicants are judged solely on their merits and not their ability to pay for tuition. Some schools are need-blind to all applicants while others are only need-blind towards domestic applicants. Need-Aware: A policy in which an applicant’s ability to pay for tuition is a factor in their admissions decision. This type of admission preference is usually directed towards international applicants. SAR: The Student Aid Report is the document you receive once your FAFSA information has been processed, it has your EFC and is the form you will send to your colleges from the FAFSA website. SAI: The Student Aid Index is the number you will receive in your SAR. It is the amount that the government determines you and your family will have to pay that is not covered by the federal government or the school you are applying to. Loans, scholarships, and grants can cover this cost if you do not have the money. **NOTE: SAI is replacing EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) in 2023 FAFSA and SAR rollout. Unlike EFC, SAI can be a negative number, whereas EFC could not be lower than 0. IDOC: The College Board's Institutional Documentation Service. This is the second step after filling out the CSS Profile in order to receive and process the financial aid application materials that accompany the CSS Profile and FAFSA Merit-based: Money that is given based on academic, artistic, athletic, etc. abilities. Need-based: Money that is given based on financial or physical need. Tuition: An amount of money charged for teaching or instruction by the school; cost of classes. Room & Board: The cost of your dorm and the services that come with it as well as your meal plan at certain schools. COA: The Cost of Attendance, is the total amount the school estimates you will have to pay during a given school year. The amount includes tuition, room and board, meal plan, books and supplies, and any other costs they assume a student will have to or might pay Direct Cost: Costs that are paid directly to the school, such as tuition, room and board, and fees Indirect Cost: Costs that are not paid directly to the school, but are inherent when attending such as toiletries, books, phone bill, or insurance Financial Aid: Money that is given to students from the federal, state, school, and private sources to help pay for college Scholarship: Free money based on academic merit, talent, athletics, unique abilities or backgrounds or a particular area of study. This comes from multiple sources (scholarship opportunities, schools, and etc.) Grant: A form of financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid Work Study: The Federal Work-Study Program allows you to earn money to pay for school by working part-time either on campus or with an affiliated organization Loan: Borrowed money from the school or a bank to cover costs; have to be paid back and can sometimes build interest.