College Admission Terminology

The other day I was helping my sister with a college hunt online, when suddenly she comes across two words she did not know. My sister asked me what undergrad and major meant. I could not believe she did not know their meaning, I thought they were pretty obvious words everybody was familiar with. However, that made me realize that at her age in high school, there were many terms and phrases I was not aware of. She inspired me to write this, a list of commonly used terms and definitions to make your college application clearer.

Accredited: Certified college or university meeting the required standards and requirements.

Deferred admission: An admitted student who would like to postpone their enrollment possibly for an academic year.

Early Action: applicants submit their application earlier than the regular deadline but this action is non-binding. If accepted early you are not compromised to enroll. You can also apply to other colleges.

Early Decision: applicants are expected to submit their application earlier than the regular application deadline; therefore they will be notified earlier than regular decision applicants about their standing. ED are binding, meaning that the applicant will have to enroll to the school if accepted.

Extracurricular activities: Clubs or groups you are involved in outside class, such as sports, internships, or organizations.

Freshman: First year college student.

Full time student: A student is enrolled at least in the minimum number of courses. Generally the least courses you can take are 3 courses to be considered full time.

Greek: Fraternities or Sororities. Some colleges might have them and some might not.

Internship: A temporary job usually unpaid in your field of study. You may receive college credit or a stipend.

Major: The primary area of study or the field you would like to get a job after you graduate. Ex: political science, business, psychology.

Minor: Secondary area of study, fewer classes are taken. Some minors are used as specialization of their major. A minor might or might not be required, it depends on the college.

Quarter: An academic term. The student will have a fall quarter, winter quarter, and spring quarter. Each of the quarters is 10 weeks long.

Retention: The number of students planning to continue enrollment for sophomore year.

Semester: An academic term. The school has a fall semester and spring semester. The semester is 15 weeks long.

Undergraduate: A college or university student who has not yet earned a bachelor’s degree.

Waiting list: Besides acceptance and denial letters, colleges also send ‘waitlisted’ letters. It means that if spaces open up, you might be considered for enrollment. Although chances are very slim.

Any new words you have learned during your application process?


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