Copyright © 2017 School-Connect® Preparing for College and the Workforce Module 4
Bachelor’s Degree (also referred to as an Undergraduate
Degree) – Most colleges/universities award a “bachelor’s
degree” when the student completes his/her required
coursework and graduates.
Class Rank – a measure of how a student’s GPA compares
to other students in the same graduating class (e.g., “Top
10%,” “Top 25%”)
“College” vs. “University” – The terms “college” and
“university” can both represent four-year post-secondary
schools. The main difference between the two is that
universities usually include four-year undergraduate
degrees and graduate degrees, whereas most colleges do
not have graduate programs.
Common Application – Many colleges/universities use the
“Common Application” system, a basic college application
that can be used for multiple schools. See www.
commonapp.org for more information.
Core GPA – is the grade point average (GPA) of core
classes (e.g., math, English, science, social studies) not
electives (e.g., sports, arts).
CSS Profile (also known as the College Scholarship
Service Profile) – is a more detailed financial aid
application than the FAFSA and is required by some, but
not all, colleges/universities.
Early action – Some colleges/universities offer “early
action” deadlines (usually in November), by which
students submit their full application before the regular
deadline (usually in December or January) and receive
their acceptance status earlier than the regular deadline.
If accepted, the student does not have to commit to
attending the school. See “early decision.”
Early decision – Early decision is similar to early action,
but if the student is accepted to the college/university, it
is a binding agreement and the student must attend that
school. Early decision applications are only prudent if it is
denitely a “rst choice” school.
Essay prompt – Most colleges/universities require essays
as part of the application. Essay prompts are the question
or statement to be addressed within the essay content.
FAFSA or Federal Application for Federal Student Aid
– The form to be completed to determine a student’s
eligibility for federal nancial aid, which is based primarily
on the student’s family’s annual income and assets. See
fafsa.ed.gov for more information.
Final Report – Some colleges/universities require
students to submit their final transcripts and discipline
records at the end of their senior year in high school. A
slip in grades, attendance, or discipline records
could jeopardize college acceptance status.
First-Generation – is a college applicant whose parent(s)/
legal guardian(s) did not complete a college bachelor’s
degree. If an older sibling completed a bachelor’s degree,
the applicant would still be a rst-generation college
Graduate Degree – Universities that offer advanced
degrees (e.g., master’s or doctoral degrees) award
graduate degrees upon completion. Students must nish
their undergraduate coursework before beginning a
graduate degree program.
Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs) – Can
include students of all races but primarily serves African
American students. Many HBCUs were formed after the
American Civil War to offer graduate and undergraduate
degrees for Black Americans.
Liberal Arts or Liberal Education – Refers to colleges/
universities with a focus and core curriculum that includes
classes in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and
Merit Aid or Merit-based Aid – Scholarships, grants, and
discounts that colleges can award to admitted students
without regard to nancial need. Merit aid may be based
on specic achievements (e.g., academic, athletic, artistic)
or other characteristics (e.g., demographics).
Use this glossary to help answer any questions about unfamiliar terms and phrases.
Application Fee Waivers – Income-eligible students
may be able to waive or reduce college application fees
and related ACT/SAT fees. Check The College Board
(collegeboard.org) and/or the college directly for more info
about fee waiver options.
Glossary of College Application Terms (page 1 of 2)