Glossary Of Terms Used In The College Process

  • The following terms are commonly used by secondary school counselors and admissions personnel when working with college-bound students’ in admissions, choice of testing and in discussing college life.

    ACADEMIC RECORD – Transcript of grades, courses, credits and related academic information kept on file by the school. The transcript often includes grade point average (GPA) and/or rank in class.  Standardized test scores may or may not be recorded on the transcript.

    ACCELERATED STUDY - A college program of study completed in less time than is usually required, most often by attending classes in the summer and/or by taking extra courses during the regular academic terms. Completion of a bachelor’s degree program in three years is an example of accelerated study.

    ACCREDITATION - Recognition by an organization or agency that a college meets certain acceptable standards in its educational programs, services and facilities. Regional accreditation applies to a college as a whole and not to any particular programs or courses of study at the college. Specialized accreditation of specific types of schools may also be determined by a national organization.

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) PROGRAM - A service of the College Board that provides high schools with course descriptions in college subjects and Advanced Placement Examinations in these subjects. High schools implement the course and administer the examinations to interested students’ who are then eligible for advanced placement, college credit, or both, on the basis of earning satisfactory scores.

    ASSOCIATE DEGREE - A degree granted by a college or university after the satisfactory completion of a two-year full-time program of study or its part-time equivalent. In general, the Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree is granted after students complete a program of study similar to the first two years of a four-year college curriculum. The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) is awarded by many colleges upon completion of technological or vocational programs of study.

    BACHELOR’S OR BACCALAUREATE DEGREE - A degree received after the satisfactory completion of a four- or five-year, full-time program of study (or its part-time equivalent) at a college or university. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) are the most common baccalaureates.

    BRANCH CAMPUS - A small campus connected to, or part of, a large institution. Generally, students spend the first two (2) years at a branch campus and then transfer to the main campus to complete a baccalaureate degree.  A branch campus provides students with a smaller and more personal environment which can help the student mature personally and academically before moving to a larger setting.

    COLLEGE-LEVEL EXAMINATION PROGRAM (CLEP) - A program of examinations in undergraduate college courses that provides students’ and adults the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement. The examinations are used by colleges to award credit to entering freshman and adults completing their education. They are also used by business, industry, government and professional groups to satisfy educational requirements for advancement, licensing and admission to training programs.

    COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP SERVICE (CSS) - A service of the College Board that assists postsecondary institutions, state scholarship programs and other organizations in the equitable distribution of a student’s financial aid funds by measuring a family’s financial strength and analyzing its ability to contribute to college costs. CSS provides the Profile Form with which students may apply for institutional aid at some private colleges.

    COMBINED BACHELOR’S/GRADUATE DEGREE - A program to which students are accepted for study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The programs usually can be completed in less time than two individual programs. (Such degrees are also called dual programs).

    COOPERATIVE (“CO-OP”) EDUCATION - A program that provides for alternate class attendance and employment in business, industry, or government.

    CREDIT HOURS - The number of hours per week that courses meet are counted as equivalent credits for financial aid and to determine a student’s status as full-time or part-time. Upon successful completion of a course, credit hours are applied to graduation requirements.

    CROSS-REGISTRATION - The practice, through agreements between colleges, of permitting students enrolled at one college or university to enroll in courses at another institution without formally applying for admission to the second institution.

    CUMULATIVE GRADE POINT AVERAGE - A grade point average that is based on all previously completed work (see Grade Point Average).

    DEFERRED ADMISSION - The practice of postponing enrollment for one year after acceptance to a college.

    DISCOVERY/SEEK: These programs are available for students who qualify for comprehensive academic and financial support at New York City 4-year and 2-year schools.  The program is designed to encourage students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds an opportunity to succeed on a more level playing field. These programs provide counseling, tutorial services and a financial aid stipend for educational expenses.

    DOUBLE MAJOR - Any program of study in which a student completes the requirements of two majors concurrently.

    EARLY ACTION PLAN - A student applies to an institution early in the senior year and receives an early notification of his/her admission to the institution. If the student is accepted, he/she is NOT obligated to attend that institution.

    EARLY DECISION PLAN - A students applies to an institution early in the senior year and receives an early notification of his/her admission status. It is a contract between the student and the institution. If the student is accepted, he/she is obligated to attend that institution.

    ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS - Limited English Proficient students who speak English as a second language and who wish to take college-level courses need to demonstrate proficiency in English. The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam is a commonly used test to determine the level of English language proficiency.

    EOP/HEOP - The (Higher) Educational Opportunity Program is for students who qualify for comprehensive academic and financial support at New York public and private 4-year schools.  The program is designed to encourage students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds an opportunity to succeed on a more level playing field. These programs provide counseling, tutorial services and a financial aid stipend for educational expenses.

    ESL - An English as a Second Language program offers a variety of courses and schedules to meet the needs of a diverse population with limited English proficiency.

    GRADE POINT AVERAGE (GPA) - A system used by many schools for evaluating the overall scholastic performance of students. It is found by first determining the number of grade points a student has earned in each course completed and then dividing the sum of all grade points by the number of hours of coursework carried. It is calculated by multiplying the number of hours given for a course by the student’s grade in the course. The most common system of numerical values for grades is A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, and F=0.

    GRANTS/SCHOLARSHIPS - General term that describe the outright gift of a sum of money to a students.

    GREEK LIFE - The influence of sororities and fraternities on the campus life of an institution.

    HONORS PROGRAM - Any special program for exceptional students that offers the opportunity for educational enrichment, independent study, acceleration, or some combination of these characteristics.

    INTERNSHIPS - Short-term, supervised work experiences, usually related to a student’s major field, for which the student earns academic credit. The work can be full or part-time, on or off campus, paid or unpaid. Students teaching and apprenticeships are examples of internships.

    MATRICULATION - A point in college admissions when a student is formally admitted into a curriculum, under standard college procedures. A student must be matriculated in order to apply for financial aid and/or try out for intercollegiate athletic programs.

    NON-MATRICULATED - A students has either not been formally admitted into a curriculum or has been academically dismissed. This classification excludes a student from financial aid and /or intercollegiate athletics.

    OPEN ADMISSIONS - The college admissions policy of admitting high school graduates and other adults generally without regard to conventional academic qualifications, such as high school subjects, high school grades and admission test scores. Virtually all applicants with high school diplomas or their equivalents are accepted when an institution adheres to an open admissions policy.

    RESERVE OFFICERS TRAINING CORPS (ROTC) - Programs conducted by certain colleges in cooperation with the United States Air Force, Army and Navy. Local recruiting offices can supply detailed information about these programs, as can participating colleges.

    RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS - Most colleges and universities require that a students spend a minimum number of terms taking courses on campus (as opposed to independent study or transfer credits from other colleges ) to be eligible for graduation. Also, residency requirements can refer to the minimum amount of time a student is required to have lived in a state in order to be eligible for in-state tuition at a public (state-controlled) college or university.

    RESTRICTIVE EARLY ACTION – Same as EA, but a student may apply to only one institution.

    RETENTION RATE - The number and percentage of returning students at a given college.

    ROLLING ADMISSIONS - An admissions procedure by which the college considers each student’s application as soon as all required credentials, such as school records and test scores, have been received. The college usually notifies applicants of its decision within 4-12 weeks.

    STUDENTS DESIGNED MAJOR - An academic program that allows students to construct a major field of study not formally offered by the college. Often non-traditional and interdisciplinary in nature, the major is developed by the students with the approval of a designated college officer or committee.

    SUITCASE COLLEGE - A term used by students to describe a college whose students’ frequently go home on weekends, thereby creating a less active students life on campus during weekends.

    TAP - Tuition Assistance Program of NY State is a financial aid program based on an established formula.  Money awarded can only be used at a New York State college or university.

    WAIT LIST - A student is not offered admission, but is placed on a waiting list should an opening occur. After a certain time, if an opening is not available, the student receives a rejection notice.

    WORK STUDY - An arrangement by which a student combines employment and college study. The employment may be an integral part of the academic program (as in cooperative education and internships) or simply a means of paying for college (as in Federal Work-Study Program).

    YIELD - The percentage of accepted students who will actually matriculate at an institution.