A College Admissions Vocabulary Update

There are many words that we college counselors use on the daily that are just second nature to us. For that matter, there are acronyms too. We forget that some students and parents might not know what certain words or phrases mean, or how they are used in the world of college admissions. In this blog post we will cover some important, but relatively unknown, phrases and terms.

  • Demonstrated Interest: Colleges like to accept students who are genuinely interested in attending. It helps them “hedge their bets” that when you have several acceptance offers you will pick them. Some good ways to demonstrate interest are: campus tours, college fairs, correspondence with admission reps, specific essays and interviews. (more here)
  • Common Application/ Coalition Application: Some colleges have their own application online, while some colleges accept either the Coalition or Common Application. These are online applications whereby certain sections only need to be filled out once for all the schools you are applying to that take that app. However, there still will be some college-specific questions to answer as well. (more here)
  • Regular vs Rolling Deadline: Typically, colleges have one deadline called a Regular Decision Deadline, whereby the college accepts applications up until the deadline date and then reviews all applications and makes the determination of: accepted, denied or waitlisted. Rolling Decision means that the college will make these decisions as the applications come in, so generally speaking, the earlier a student can get their application in, the better.
  • Early Action vs. Early Decision: In addition to a college’s Regular or Rolling Deadline, a college may offer Early Action, which is an opportunity for a student to get their application, and thereby a decision from the college, earlier. Early Decision is offered by some colleges and is binding, meaning it’s a contract between the college and the applicant that if accepted, the student will attend there.
  • Single-Choice Early Action: Just when families were starting to wrap their heads around ED vs EA, some colleges went and added Single Choice Early Action. This means the student is not obligated to attend if admitted, but the college expects the student not to apply to any other school early.
  • FAFSA: The FAFSA is the federal application for financial student aid. It’s the nation-wide form a family will fill out in order to be eligible for financial aid. (more here)
  • EFC (Expected Family Contribution): The EFC is the number produced by the calculation of the FAFSA and is the amount the government determines that family can contribute to the student’s education.
  • Financial Need: Financial Need is the cost of the college minus the EFC. Each college will present a package on how they will help meet that need (grants, loans, etc).

Each of these terms could be a blog in and of itself, and I have linked several blog posts above. For the most personalized information and advice, it makes sense to consider a college counselor.

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