FAFSA what? Early Decision who? Stuck on trying to figure out the lingo on college’s websites? I can help explain the meaning behind some of these terms. Below are a few commonly used phrases that may be helpful while reading college material. Get your flashcards and markers ready!
- Common Application: The Common Application, or Common App as it is sometimes called, is a universal application for admission to undergraduate programs at many private colleges and universities. Students need only complete the form once and send copies to all participating institutions. It can be downloaded or completed online at www.commonapp.org. Check their site for a full list of schools that use the Common App.
- Early Decision (ED): Early decision is a policy for admitting students before the traditional deadlines. Students use this to indicate to the university or college that they consider that institution to be their top choice. Candidates applying early decision typically submit their applications by the end of October of their senior year and receive a decision in mid-December. If accepted, a student must attend that institution. ED admissions tend to be more competitive and selective than the regular process.
- Early Action (EA): A college admissions program that consists of earlier deadlines and notification dates than the regular admissions process, but that does not require a binding commitment of the student if admission is offered.
- Open Admission: Open admission refers to a policy in which colleges accept any high school graduate, regardless of grades, until all spaces are filled. Almost all two-year community colleges have an open admission policy.
- Rolling Admission: Colleges with this type of admission procedure consider each student’s application as soon as all of the required credentials have been received (e.g., high school record/transcript, test scores). The college usually notifies applicants of its decision without delay.
Financial Aid Terms
- Expected Family Contribution/EFC: Expected Family Contribution is the amount a family is expected to contribute to a student’s education, based upon family earnings, net assets, savings, size of family and number of students in college.
- Merit-Based Aid: Merit-based aid refers to financial aid offered to a student based upon academic standards such as high school or college grade point average (GPA), class rank, ACT/SAT scores and/or talents.
- FAFSA/Free Application for Federal Student Aid: This free form must be completed by students and parents applying for federal student aid in order to determine federal aid eligibility. Prospective college students looking to receive federal aid should complete this form beginning January 1st of their senior year. You can begin the process here: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Check out Jacque’s post for more information.
- Financial Aid Packages: Financial aid is awarded after a student has been admitted and all necessary financial aid paperwork has been processed. The package includes the total cost of attendance, the student’s EFC and all of the sources of financial aid that a student may be eligible for in the coming year at the given university. This may include grants, scholarships and loans.
Degree and Major Terms
- Associate Degree: The associate degree is awarded by a college after satisfactory completion of a program of study. Full-time students typically complete the program in two years.
- Bachelor’s Degree: Bachelor’s degrees are awarded by a college, typically after satisfactory completion of a four- or five-year, full-time program of study.
- Major: A major is a focus in a particular field of study. Usually, students specialize in their majors during their junior and senior years of college.
- Minor: Students may minor in a subject different from the one they major in. Students complete coursework that is not as extensive as that in a major, but it provides specialized knowledge of a second field.
- Greek System: This term refers to fraternities and sororities on campus, whose names originate from letters in the Greek alphabet. There are tons of organizations and clubs on college campuses to get involved with, including fraternities and sororities.
These few terms will go a long way when tackling those complicated college websites. Don’t stop here; write down terms that you don’t understand and I can explain them! Are there more terms that confuse you? Let me know and I will help answer!