College Counseling Glossary

College Counseling Glossary

A-G Requirements
The University of California and California State University systems have established minimum course requirements that all students pass in order to be eligible for admission to either system. These requirements are called the A-G requirements. All Gateway students take a course load which exceeds the A-G requirements. If, however, a student receives a D or F in a core class, in most cases he/she must retake that class in order to remain eligible. 

The ACT is a curriculum-based test used to determine admissibility to a college. It is a multiple-choice test scored from 1 to 36. There are four subtests: English, mathematics, reading, and science. Learn more about the ACT here.

Advanced Placement: these are college-level courses offered by Gateway and endorsed by the College Board. After an AP course is completed, students generally take AP exams, which are scored on a 1-5 scale (5 being the highest possible score.) Colleges may offer either credit or advanced standing to any student who has received a recommended AP exam score, which is usually 3 or higher.

Candidates Reply Date
The National Candidates Reply Date is May 1 and is the national deadline for submitting a deposit to one college.

Class Rank
The rating of a student base don an academic comparison with all other students in a class. Gateway does not rank its students.

College Scholarship Service (CCS)
CSS is a division of the College Board devoted to the financial aspects of a college education. CSS processes information provided by financial aid applicants on the PROFILE form and distributes that information to colleges.

College Board
A not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Among its best-known tests and programs are the PA+SAT/NMSQT, SAT Test, SAT Subject Tests, and the AP Program. Their website offers several test preparation products (including “SAT Question or the Day”) and descriptions of teach test.

Common Application
A standard application form accepted by almost 400 colleges. A student completes one application form and submits it online or mails duplicates to subscriber colleges. Many colleges require individual application supplements. Learn more about the Common Application here

This is an admission decision which may be received if a student has applied under an Early Decision or Early Action plan. A deferral means that the applicant has not yet been admitted or denied, the application will be placed in the regular round for another review, and an admission decision will be rendered in March or April.

Early Action
A process whereby an application is submitted and a decision is received early in the senior year. Usually application for Early Action is made by November 1 and decisions are sent by mid-December. Early action is a non-binding plan; students will not receive a financial aid package until April, the same time as regular decision applicants. Students will typically have until the Candidates Reply Date (May 1) to decide if they will enroll.

Early Decision
A process whereby application is made to one Early Decision school early in the senior year, and if accepted, the student agrees to enroll at that institution. This is a binding agreement among the student, the college, and the parents.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid. As the name implies, a no-cost Federal form used by colleges to determine a student’s and family’s eligibility for Federal financial aid funds.

Federal Methodology
The formula used (via information provided on the FAFSA) to determine eligibility for Federal funds; some states use it as a rationing devise for state funds as well.

Fee Waiver
Those students who demonstrate a substantial need for financial assistance may be eligible for a waiver, exempting them from paying some application and/or testing fees. Specific eligibility guidelines must be met.

Financial Aid
Need-based aid offered by the Federal government and by colleges; packages generally include grants (which do not need to be repaid), loans (which must be repaid) and often work-study (funds earned by the student through on-campus employment during the school year). Need is determined through a combination of the PROFILE form, the FAFSA, and the college’s own form (if the have one). International students generally complete a different form and are not eligible for Federal funds unless they are permanent resident aliens and have a “green” card.

A term used to describe a financial aid package that does not meet demonstrated need. The packages leaves a “gap” between a family’s need and the offered financial assistance.

Grade Point Average (GPA)
Grade Point Average. A number (Such as 3.0) which indicates the average of all grades for courses eared in a term or year. An unweighted GPA reflects the numeric value of a student’s grades divided by the number of courses in which they were enrolled for credit. A weighted GPA gives additional numerical “weight” for classes at the honors or Advanced Placement level.

The financial aid form processed by the College Scholarship Service (a division of the College Board) and used by approximately 600 colleges to further define a family’s need for financial aid funds.

Preliminary SAT. The PSAT is a great practice run for the SAT and is used to determine eligibility for potential scholarships. Students take the PSAT during their sophomore and junior years.

Regular Decision
The most common admission plan. Most application deadlines for regular decision applicants are in January or February, although some colleges/universities may have an earlier deadline (for example the University of California systems).

Rolling Admission
The practice at some colleges and universities of making decisions on applications as they are received. Since, under this plan, colleges are accepting students every day, the later one applies, the more difficult it may become to be admitted.

SAT Test
The SAT consists of three mandatory sections: reading, writing and language, and math, with an optional essay. The reading, writing & language section is scored up to 800 points, and the Math section is also scored up to 800 points; thus, a perfect score on the SAT is 1600. The essay is scored separately, from 3 to 12 points.

SAT Subject Tests
Formerly called the SAT IIs,. Individual subject tests (such as Spanish, Biology, and Math) and may be required by particular colleges for admission.

School Code
National testing agencies assign a six digit number to each secondary school for identification purposes. Gateway’s school code is 052-947.

Wait List
A list of regular decision applicants who, although qualified for admission, are placed :on hold.” Wait list candidates are usually given the opportunity to decide whether or not they wish to wait for a final decision, which usually occurs over several weeks. Wait lists are usually maintained fro the shortest possible period.

The percentage of accepted students who matriculate. Generally, the higher the yield, the more competitive the institution.