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Whenever you delve into something new, the more you know, the better. The college application process is certainly a great example of this, as it can be confusing and overwhelming. Here, we want to share some of the key terms of the college application process so you’re well versed in this terminology. Remember, the more you know, the better, and we hope this makes it a little easier.
Let’s take a look at some often heard terms….
Advanced Placement (AP) Class - AP classes are rigorous classes offered in high school through a program created by the College Board. Students have the option of taking an AP exam at the end of the class to earn college credit. Often, colleges award extra points on GPAs for AP classes, and these classes show rigor.
College application essay - This essay is an opportunity for students to share more about themselves and showcase unique abilities and characteristics. Some colleges want individual essays along with the Common Application essay. We offer services to help refine application essays, and you can find out more here.
Common Application - This is the online application for college admission that is accepted by over 900 universities. Most schools will request additional material like a supplemental essay or personal statement along with the Common App.
Deferred - This is an early application outcome where the student is neither accepted nor denied. Usually, the college wants to see more from the student as well as other applicants and will give another decision at the regular admission round. Remember, this is not a denial.
Demonstrated Interest - A student shows a demonstrated interest level in a particular college through visits, contact with admissions officers, and specifics in college essays. Some schools take demonstrated interest into account, others do not. It’s important to know this when applying.
Denial - This is one result of decisions and means that the college will not consider you again this year. It also usually means that the college would not be a good fit for you at this time.
Dual Enrollment - Dual enrollment (DE) is when a high school student takes college classes either virtually or in person. These classes will count as college credit.
Early Action - This non-binding option of application allows students to submit college applications earlier than regular action. Usually, applications are due by November, and decisions are released by January. This can give students a nice peace of mind if they are accepted. We can help when it comes to how to decide on regular or early application.
Early Decision - This is a binding option of the application. You can apply early (usually by November) and get an early decision. However, you must commit when offered acceptance. It’s a good choice when a student has a clear number one school.
Grade Point Average (GPA) - A student’s GPA is the overall average of all the classes taken in high school. High schools compute averages in many different ways so often a college will re-compute the GPA to put everyone on a level playing field. Usually, AP and IB classes earn extra points.
Hope Scholarship - This scholarship is relevant for our in-state Georgia applicants. The HOPE scholarship assists with tuition to schools in Georgia with HOPE scholarship affiliation. It is dependent on GPA, test scores, and other eligibility requirements. It does not cover all costs.
International Baccalaureate (IB) - This is a rigorous academic program where high school students take classes in the IB curriculum. Some schools allow students to take specific classes, while others require a specific program. If a student completes an IB program, they will have this distinctive classification on their diploma.
Letters of Recommendation - These are letters that a student will request from a teacher, coach, or other connection, depending on what the college needs. The letters should speak to the student’s character and why that college would be a good fit. Make sure to learn the dos and don'ts of asking for recommendations.
The Middle 50% - You may see the middle or mid 50% percent referred to when looking at acceptance rates or freshman profiles and test scores. This is the range of scores from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile of accepted students. Though it’s helpful, it’s not an end-all, be all of college acceptances.
Regular Application - An application option where the student applies by a late fall or early winter deadline. Admission decisions are released in the spring. We can help with decisions regarding regular or early application.
Resume - Not all colleges need a resume for application purposes, but it’s often a good idea to put together a current resume for a scholarship or other purposes, especially if you can’t fit everything into the application.
Rolling Admissions - Some colleges offer rolling admissions where they evaluate applications as they come in rather than wait until a set deadline. They also release decisions as they make them.
Transcript - This is the record of all of a student’s high school and/or college classes and grades. Colleges will need this for admissions purposes.
*Waitlist - This is yet another admissions decision. A school may offer a spot on the waitlist which may or may open up to acceptance. It usually depends a lot on numbers and could be risky to wait it out as you may not find out until summer if you’ve gotten in or not. It’s usually a good idea to have another plan if you are waitlisted.
Weighted Grade Point Average (GPA) - This is the GPA with the extra points worked in, for instance, AP or IB points. Often colleges will strip down a weighted GPA and reconfigure it with their guidelines.
Zell Miller Scholarship - This is a scholarship awarded to in-state Georgia students who meet the requirements at an eligible college. It’s dependent on factors like GPA and test scores and helps with tuition costs. Like the HOPE scholarship, it is not a full-ride scholarship.
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