College entrance exams

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ACT: One of two national standardized testing services for college admission.

Award Letter: A letter sent by the college explaining your financial aid package. The letter will allow you to accept or decline any portion of the financial aid package.

Campus-Based Financial Aid Programs: The Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Program (FSEOG). These programs are administered by a school’s financial aid office. A student’s financial aid package may contain aid from one or more of these programs.
Candidate Reply Date: A date by which a student must send a deposit to the college at which the student will enroll in the fall. May 1 of the senior year is considered the Candidates Reply Date.
Class Rank: Used by some high schools, class rank is a rank order, from highest to lowest, of all the GPA's in a graduating class. SHS rank is calculated based on the weighted value of the course, divided by the number of courses and the credit value of each course.
College Board: The organization that sponsors the SAT Tests, the PSAT/NMSQT and the Advanced Placement program, among other activities related to college.
Combined Bachelor's/Master's Program: A program in which students are accepted for study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The program can usually be completed in less time than two individual programs.
Consortium: A group of colleges/universities within a given geographic radius which agree to share resources and opportunities, such as libraries, athletic facilities, course offerings (cross-registration) for no additional cost to the students attending those schools.
Core Curriculum: Requirement that students take a specified number of courses or credits in the humanities, social sciences, life sciences and/or physical sciences regardless of their major.

Cost of Attendance (COA): An estimate of the student’s educational expenses for a period of enrollment. Includes tuition, fees, room, board, books, personal expenses, and transportation.

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®: A financial aid application from The College Board that many schools and scholarship programs require students to complete in addition to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Schools use the information collected on this form to award non-federal financial aid.

Common Application: A "generic" college application that is accepted by more than 255 colleges and universities. Many colleges use the common application exclusively and a full listing of colleges that accept the Common Application is included with the application. It can be completed and sent by regular mail or can be submitted electronically. All instructions and further information is at
Cooperative Education: A college program in which a student alternates between semesters of full-time study and full-time employment in related work. The student is paid for his/her work at the prevailing rate. Typically, five years are required to complete a bachelor's degree under the cooperative plan, but the graduate has the advantage of having completed one year or more practical experience, in addition to his/her studies. Tuition may not be paid during coop experience.
CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE: The Financial Aid PROFILE Service (PROFILE for short) is offered by the College Scholarship Service (CSS). The PROFILE is used by some colleges, universities, and scholarship program to obtain additional information not supplied by the FAFSA to award their own private funds.
Deferred Admission: The practice of permitting students to postpone enrollment after acceptance, usually for a period of one academic term or one year. Two stipulations usually apply: that the student not enrolls in a degree program at another institution during that year, and the student must pay his/her commitment deposit before the deferral will be granted for the following year. The student does not have to re-apply for admission.
Early Action: A plan used in college admissions that allows a student to apply early in the senior year of high school and hear if she or he has been admitted, usually in the first semester of the senior year. Early Action usually means that a student may continue to be a candidate for admission at other colleges and have till May 1 to indicate a decision to attend.

Early Decision: A plan used in college admission that allows a student to apply early in the senior year of high school and hear from the admissions office within a specified period if she/he has been admitted. Early Decision usually means that the student may not continue as a candidate for admission at another college or university. It may also require a decision to attend without the financial aide award.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The amount a student and the student’s spouse or family is expected to pay toward the student’s cost of attendance. The Federal Need Analysis Methodology must be used to calculate the EFC.
Federal Work-Study Program: A Federal program that provides part-time jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses.
Financial Need: The student’s cost of attendance less the expected family contribution. In determining a student’s eligibility for a Subsidized Stafford Loan and a FFELP borrower’s total loan amount, the student’s estimated financial assistance is also subtracted from the cost of attendance.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The form the student must complete to apply for Federal Title IV financial assistance, including Stafford Loans. The student must include financial information on the student’s household so that the expected family contribution can be calculated.
Gap: The difference between the financial need of a student and the financial aid package given to that student. Also referred to as “unmet need”.
Gift Aid: Money given to a student to cover college expenses that does not have to be repaid, such as grants and scholarships.
GPA: Grade Point Average is the average of a student's coursework in high school. It is represented by a number usually giving an A, a 4 point value, a B a 3 point value, a C, a 2 point value, and a D, a 1 point value. A student may have a B average and have a 3.0 GPA. Some high schools have alternative systems that are explained in the Course of Studies book of each high school. Somers High School has a 12 point system with A+ = 12 to D- = 1 and F = 0.
Grant: Money given to a student to cover college expenses that does not have to be repaid. Grants are awarded on the basis of financial need.
Honors Program: Programs within a college or university that offer greater challenges and opportunities for a select population of highly motivated and academically successful students. Honors may offer educational enrichment, independent study, acceleration, or a combination of these. Some colleges offer special housing (i.e. suites) for Honors students.
Independent Student: A student who meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • An individual who is at least 24 years old by December 31 of the award year.

  • An orphan or ward of the court.

  • A veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.

  • A graduate or professional student.

  • A married person.

  • An individual with legal dependents other than a spouse.

  • A student for whom the school’s financial aid administrator determines and documents the student’s independent student status based on the administrator’s professional judgment of the student’s unusual circumstances.

Liberal Arts: A program of general education for undergraduate students, which includes the Humanities, the Sciences, Math and Computer Science, and the Social Sciences.

Loan: Money borrowed for college costs. The loan must be repaid with interest.

NACAC: The National Association for College Admission Counseling, the professional association of high school counselors, college advisors, and college admissions officers

NCAA: National Collegiate Athletic Association is the governing body for college athletics. For students interested in playing in Division I or II sports, the group that determines student eligibility for participation.

Need Analysis: A standardized assessment of the ability of a student or of a student’s family to contribute toward educational expenses.
Profile: Sometimes referred to as the School Profile, it is a statement about each high school that accompanies each student's transcript when it is mailed to the colleges' admissions offices. It usually includes information about the high school, its grading system, the community, information about test scores, and what students do after high school graduation.
Rolling Admission: A college begins reviewing applications when received with all supporting information. A decision is sent to the student usually within 4-6 weeks. Although many rolling admission colleges have deadlines, students should be aware that the college might have filled its class well before the stated deadline. File these applications early in the senior year.
SAT Tests: The SAT Reasoning is the major college admissions test used in the Northeast. The SAT Subject Test is a test that measure success in school-based subjects such as mathematics, history, biology and others. More selective colleges usually require it.
Scholarship: Money given to a student to cover college expenses that does not have to be repaid. Scholarships are usually awarded to students based on merit or special abilities.
Student Aid Report (SAR): The student’s need analysis report, which is generated by the Department’s Central Processing System or MDE Processor. The SAR summarizes information that the student reported on the FAFSA. An electronic version sent to the school is called an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR).
Transcript: A formal document that lists a student's courses, level of difficulty, grades, and credit assigned to each course. The transcript also includes the student's name, address, rank, GPA, and standardized test scores.
Transfer Program: An educational program in a two-year college that is offered primarily for students who plan to continue their studies in a four-year college.
Wait List: A list of students who meet the admission requirements but will only be offered a place in the class if space becomes available.

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