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Know Your College Vocabulary
By Lauren L. Leavitt, M.S.Ed.

As you begin your college search, it is important that you and your student add the following words to your working vocabulary.


”COLLEGE”- Colleges offer a liberal education to students across the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. Colleges primarily award undergraduate degrees. Usually, Colleges are small to medium sized with fewer than 5,000 students.


”UNIVERSITIES”- Universities offer a full range of academic programs in undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs.  Universities can have an enrollment as small as 5,000 or as large as 50,000.


”COMMON APPLICATION”- A Common Application is found online and is accepted   by more than 400 colleges and universities. The information requested by Colleges in their application is, in most cases, broadly similar. The Supplemental Section is the portion of the Common Application in which colleges can ask specific questions relevant to their school.


”CALIFORNIA STATE APPLICATIONS” – Application for admission to a campus of the Cal State system are available online from October 1, until November 30 of each year. A student must go online to complete the California State Application. A student can apply to several of the 23 state schools. They must meet a specified GPA and test score requirement (which varies as to any given school as well as specific coursework. No essays or teacher recommendations are required.


”UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA APPLICATIONS”- Application for admission to a University of California campus is available to view online from October 1 of a given year and may be   completed online starting November 1 until November 30 of a given year. Essay, teacher recommendations and specific coursework are required. A student    may apply to several of the 9 UC schools.


 “REGULAR DECISION (RD)”- Students applying RD will do so by a specific date, usually sometime in January, and receive decisions usually sometime from mid- March to mid- April.


”ROLLING ADMISSIONS (RA)”- Students’ applications for Rolling Admissions are reviewed by the college as they are submitted. Students can receive a decision as soon as possible, usually within four to eight weeks.


“EARLY ACTION (EA)”- Students’ application for EA must be submitted before a deadline that is earlier than the regular decision deadline and the student will then receive a decision earlier than the regular response date.


”EARLY DECISION (ED)”- Students apply to only one ED school, and sign a binding commitment to enroll if accepted. They submit early, usually November 1st or 15th and are notified in submitted under regular decision, rolling admission or early action must be withdrawn.


“GPA”- Grade Point Average- based on a 4.0 system.  A= 4.0, B= 3.0 C= 2.0


“FAFSA”- Free Application for Federal Student Aid  (. a standard form required to receive a variety of forms of Federal and State financial aid)


“PLAN”- A practice test to prepare you for the ACT. This test is offered in a student’s sophomore year. Scores range from 1 and 32.


“PSAT”- A practice test for the SAT offered in the fall of junior year. The Scores range from 20 and 80.


“SAT”- This universally known standardized exam is one of the tests frequently required by most colleges. Students can choose the SAT or ACT. The SAT scores range from 200 through 800 on each of Critical Reading, Math and Writing sections.


“ACT”- The ACT is an assessment test based on curriculum. Scores range from 1 through 36. The sections are: English, Math, Reading, Science and Writing


”TEST OPTIONAL”- Some colleges no longer require SAT or ACT scores to be submitted.

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