AVID College Terms and Definitions

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ACT
College admission test that measures English, math, reading, and science reasoning. Scores range from 1-36 along with a composite score and 11 sub-scores broken down by subject areas. An optional writing test is offered. Calculators are permitted on the math test but not on the science test.
Advanced Placement (AP®) Tests
Designed for students who have completed college level work in high school, they are given in specific subject areas and are used to determine if a student may gain advanced standing in college.
Admission
The decision to allow a student to enter a college or university.
Admission Test
A standardized test used in the admission process to predict the likelihood of a student's success in college.
Application
A formal request for admission to a college or university; requires the submission of forms and other materials.
Aptitude
A natural ability or talent.
Associate's Degree (A.A., A.S.)
A two-year degree that generally prepares a student for further study. Some programs provide sufficient training for specific careers, but many students in two-year colleges plan to complete their studies at a four-year college.
Bachelor's Degree (B.A., B.S., B.F.A., B.A.A.)
A four-year degree in a specified subject.
Certificate
Recognition provided to a student for completion of a short-term vocational or career training program.
Class Rank
A student's approximate standing in her/his graduating class, based on grade point average (e.g., 72nd in a class of 410; in the "upper fifth"
Common Application
A standardized application form used by a consortium of colleges for admission.
Degree
The rank or title given by a college or university to a student who has met certain academic requirements.
Diploma
Certificate issued by a school, college, or university to a student who has met coursework and graduation requirements.
Doctorate Degree (Ph.D.)
Master's Degree plus advanced graduate courses in specialized area. Normally requires three to five years of additional full-time studies after completion of a Master's Degree.
Early Action
Used primarily in highly selective colleges. Follows a timetable for admission but allows the accepted candidate until May 1 to accept or decline the offer of admission. Under this program, it is possible for an applicant to be denied admission outright and not automatically deferred for later consideration.
Early Decision
A plan under which a student applies to the first-choice college early in the fall (usually by November 1 of the senior year) and agrees by contract to enter that college if offered admission. These applicants are judged on the basis of their junior year test scores, class rank, and grades.
Early Intervention
A process that begins in the late elementary and middle school grades when counselors and educators introduce the concepts of preparation for college and the admission process to students and parents.
Educational Testing Services (ETS)
A nonprofit agency established by The College Board to produce educational tests.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
An amount the student and student's family are expected to contribute toward his/her education. It is used in determining eligibility for federal student aid.
Extracurricular Activities
Any school activity, such as athletics, drama, or music, that offers the student an opportunity to complement his or her classroom experiences.
FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
A form required by the government for application to any federal education aid program. Used to determine the specific Federal Student Aid programs that can contribute to a student's total college financial aid package and in what proportions. High school seniors should submit it as soon as possible after January 1. Processed free of charge and must be submitted each year a student applies for financial aid.
Financial Aid or Assistance
Any financial award to a student (grant, scholarship, or loan).
Grade point average (GPA)
An indicator of the student's overall scholastic performance.
Grants
Awards based on financial need that do not require repayment. They are available through the federal government, state agencies, and educational institutions.
Honors program
Any program offering the opportunity for superior students to enrich their educational experience through independent, advanced, or accelerated study.
Letter of Recommendation
An assessment of the student's aptitudes, abilities, and interests, written by a teacher or counselor and used by colleges and universities in the admission process.
Major
The subject of study in which the student chooses to specialize; a series of related courses, taken primarily in the junior and senior years of college.
Master's Degree (M.S., M.A.)
Bachelor's Degree plus graduate courses in specialized area. Usually requires two additional years of full-time studies after completion of a Bachelor's Degree.
Open admissions
The policy of some colleges of admitting virtually all high school graduates, regardless of academic qualifications such as high school grades and admission scores.
PLAN
A pre-ACT test and examination of interests and skills for 10th graders.
Post-secondary
Opportunities that are available after high school graduation from high school (secondary school); usually refers to colleges and universities in the admission process.
PSAT / NMSQT
Preliminary SAT® and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Enables students to practice for the SAT® Reasoning Test and serves as the qualifying test for scholarship competition conducted by National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
Regular Decision
The application process in which a student submits an application to an institution by a specified date and receives a decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period of time, but not later than April 15.
Rolling Admission
The application process whereby a college reviews an application when the individual folder (application form and all supporting data) is completed and communicates the admission decision within a few weeks of reviewing the folder.
SAT® (Reasoning Test)
College admission test designed to measure critical reading, math, and writing skills needed for academic success in college. Scores range from 200 to 800 in each of the three sections (writing, math, and critical reading). By definition, a score of 500 on any section means that 50% of the test takers did more poorly than you on that section.
Scholarship
Financial aid based on merit and paid directly to the student in the form of an outright gift. Some scholarships are given to students who exhibit a particular ability or skill, such as music or athletics.
Standardized Tests
Tests such as the ACT and SAT® that provide college admission officers with a comparative standard for evaluating a student's academic aptitude and likelihood of success in college.
Student Aid Report (SAR)
The information received after the FAFSA has been processed. It reports the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Transcript
The official record of high school or college courses and grades, generally required as part of the college application.
Work/Study
Money earned in a job obtained through the help of the college's financial aid office. Hours/location of the job are compatible with academic life and school schedule.