Glossary of College/University Terms

Glossary of College Terms

Accreditation: This is approval given to a college if it meets standards concerning its academic programs, library facilities, faculty, policies, physical plant, financial assets, etc. There are regional associations which judge colleges periodically.

Advanced Placement: Students who demonstrate superior ability in a given subject maybe allowed to take an introductory college level course while in high school and qualify for advanced placement in an upper-level course based on scores on a special examination. Some colleges also will give college credit for the course. Once a student decides on which college he/she will attend, the student should request that the AP scores be sent from the College Board to that college for consideration.

ACT (American College Test): A comprehensive, multiple choice exam that includes English usage, social studies, reading, natural sciences, and mathematics. Colleges use this test or the SAT I to determine eligibility for admission.

Associate Degree: A degree granted upon completion of a two-year, full-time program of study or its part-time equivalent.

Bachelor’s Degree: A degree granted upon the completion of a four year, full-time program of study or its part-time equivalent.

College: A post-secondary institute of higher learning that may be independent or part of a larger university. For example, HunterCollege is part of CUNY, the City University of New York.

Common Application Form: a standardized application form that many colleges will accept, which makes it easier for students to apply to several colleges with copies of the same application.

Community College: a two-year public institution funded by the city or the state. It offers transfer and terminal career programs leading to the Associate Degree.

Cooperative Program: a college curriculum which combines work and study. Students enrolled in this program can earn part of their tuition costs and get experience in areas of interest.

CUNY: City University of New York which consists of two year and four year colleges.

Early Action: an admissions procedure whereby certain colleges allow students to apply to a college early in the fall and receive an early reply. This decision is binding on the college, but not on the student.

Early Decision: an admissions procedure whereby the student is obligated, if accepted, to attend that college. The student applies by an early date, and is notified of the decision – acceptance, deferral to regular admissions, or nonacceptance, usually by December. Do not apply early decision if you need to weigh the financial aid packages of several schools.

Junior College: A two-year private institution which offers transfer and terminal (career) programs leading to an Associate degree.

Liberal Arts: Refers to a course of study at colleges which grant degrees for a broad academic education in humanities or sciences; e.g. English, psychology, biology, political science.

PSAT-NMSQT: Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test – National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is taken in the fall of the junior year as a practice SAT, and as a qualifier for a scholarship.

Rolling Admissions: a policy used by some colleges which admit qualified students as soon as applications are received and processed.

SAT I: A three-hour and 45 minute test which colleges use to help decide admissions.

SAT II Subject Tests: One-hour tests in different subject areas – writing, math, science, etc. which are required by some competitive colleges for admission consideration.

Stipend: Money that you receive to offset expenses incurred during an academic program or internship. Expenses include things such as textbooks and transportation.

SUNY: State University of New York, consisting of two and four year colleges.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): this test evaluates the English proficiency of people whose native language is not English. The test consists of listening comprehension, structure, written expression, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.

Transcript: an official record of grades and credits earned at a high school or college. University: an institution comprised of smaller colleges and schools; it often includes both graduate and undergraduate programs.