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Admission Terms Glossary

The College Board: This is a nonprofit organization that is governed by secondary school and college members. It is an oversight agency for many services and tests connected with the college admission process, including the SAT.

Educational Testing Service: This is a nonprofit agency employed by the College Board to produce tests.

Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT): This is a preliminary test that is designed to help student prepare for the SAT during their junior year. There are two sections of the test: math and reading/writing. PSAT scores are typically not used by colleges as part of admission criteria.

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SAT: This is a test that is typically required for juniors and seniors to take to gain admission to many colleges. There are three sections: essay (optional), math and reading and writing.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams: These tests are designed for students who have completed college-level work in high school. They can test in certain subjects in order to try and earn advanced placement in college.

ACT: This is a test commonly used throughout the country by university and college administration offices. It is a multiple-choice test that measures aptitude in English, mathematics, science and reading. It is scored on a 36-point scale and all four tests are averaged to provide a total composite score. Many schools give you the option to submit results from either the SAT or ACT as part of admission.

Highly Selective College Admission Calendar: Many colleges and universities require applications to be filed during fall or early winter of a student’s senior year. In the application process, supporting materials such as recommendations, high school records, and standardized test scores are sent to colleges per the student’s request. Members of the admissions committee read applications and make decisions. Students are then informed of their application status from early to mid-April. Applicants are required to notify the college if the plan on accepting no later than May 1.

Non-Restrictive Application Plans: In this type of plan, there is no restriction pertaining to how many institutions a student can apply to. They also can consider potential schools until May 1, the deadline for enrollment.

Regular Decision: This is the normal schedule for submitting applications and requires students to apply by a certain date. Responses are delivered in a specific time frame. Early Action: This is a process where students can apply early and also hear back earlier than the normal response date.

Early Decision: Students make a commitment to their first-choice institution and plan to enroll. This is an early process.

Restrictive Early Action (REA): This is the process in which students apply to an institution of preference and receive an early decision. If offered enrollment, they have until May 1to decide where to attend.

The Common Application: This process allows a student to complete one application form with the intent of submitting to more than one college. With this process, it is best to check with the admission office of your school of choice to see if they accept this application.

Universal College Application: This is similar to the Common Application. It allows a student to fill out one application form to submit to more than one college.

January (Spring Term) Admission: Some institutions admit freshmen to begin their studies in the middle of the academic year. This is an option for students who graduate early from high school.

Wait List: This is an admission decision utilized by institutions to protect against possible shortfalls in enrollment. They are sometimes necessary because of the uncertainty of the admission process. When a student is placed on a Wait List, he is not offered or denied admission. Instead, they extend the possibility of admission in the future.

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