The below are frequently used college application terms:


A national college admission examination covering English, Reading, Science Reasoning, and Math. ACT plus Writing includes a 30-minute writing section. ACT results are accepted by virtually all US colleges and universities. Sign up by visiting ACT.ORG (Visit K1 to see if you qualify for a fee waiver)

AP (Advanced Placement):
A system by which college freshmen may bypass entry level courses by proving that they have already taken the equivalent in high school. College credit may be awarded by many colleges if a student earns a certain grade on the specially designed College Board exam at the conclusion of an AP course.

Application Deadline:
The date set forth by a particular college as the deadline for when all application materials are due. See also Early Action and Early Decision.

Candidate Reply Date:
Generally a student has until May 1 to inform a particular school of their decision to attend.

College Applications:

  • Reach schools: If getting in and paying for college weren't issues, where would you want to attend? A dream school is a college where your academic credentials fall in the lower end, or even below, the school's average range for the cohort of students accepted the previous year. Dream schools might be long shots, but they should still be possible. Don't let the sticker price of a financial reach school scare you off! Financial need, academic strength, and a college's desire to have you on campus can all influence your financial aid award and make the cost of attendance more manageable.

  • Target schools: A target school is one where your academic credentials (grades, SAT or ACT scores, and class rank) fall well within the school's average range for the most recently accepted class. There are no guarantees, but it's not unreasonable to expect to be accepted to several of your target schools

  • Safety schools: A safety school is one where your academic credentials exceed the school's range for the average first-year student. You should be reasonably certain that you will be admitted to your safety schools. Like your dream and target schools, these should also be colleges you'd be happy to attend. In addition to admissions criteria, it's a good idea to think about financial aid when creating your list of safety schools—make sure there is at least one school that you know your family can afford on that list.

    • Send college applications to a few schools from each category (for example, three dream schools, three target schools, and two safety schools). Applying to a range of schools will ensure that you set ambitious goals and give yourself some back-up options where you know you can be happy and successful.

College Board:
The company that provides college entrance testing including SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject, PSAT, and AP. ETS (Educational Testing Service) is the testing division. Visit for more information.

CEEB Code:
This is the “school code” used for all testing and college applications. The code for North High is 053520

College Board CSS Profile: 
CSS Profile enables colleges and universities to see a true picture of a family’s financial need and supports the mission of making college affordable. Use your College Board account to get additional information.

Deferred Admission:
If applicable, high school seniors may be offered admission to college for up to a year after graduation.

Dream Act:

Early Action and Early Notification:
Many campuses offer an Early Action program for admission. This means that the student will apply early (usually by November 15) and will be notified as early as December of an admission status. The student is not obligated to commit to the school early, however. Students not admitted through Early Action may be deferred to Regular Decision, depending on the school’s policy. Early Action applicants face much harder criteria for consideration as they would for Regular Decision. See also Single Choice Early Action

Early Admission:
Some colleges accept a student to begin classes without the student having yet finished high school. This typically happens at the end of the junior year of high school.

Early Decision:
Similar to Early Action in that the application is due no later than November 15 and the notification period takes place in December. Early Decision constitutes a binding agreement, meaning that if a student is offered admission they must commit to that school. Applicants are required to sign an agreement stating the conditions of Early Decision. This agreement also restricts the student from applying Early Decision to any other school.

EOP -   Equal Educational Opportunities

The Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) of 1974 is a federal law of the United States of America. It prohibits discrimination against faculty, staff, and students, including racial segregation of students, and requires school districts to take action to overcome barriers to students' equal participation. Check each specific school site to determine application process.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid):
The application required for students to be considered for federal student financial aid.  You may apply beginning October 1, 2017 - Deadline is March 2, 2018

Financial Aid:
Money that may come from a variety of sources (grant, loan, scholarship, work study), which helps pay for college costs. The “package” of funds is determined by family financial need and the estimated family contribution.

Financial Aid Package:
The financial aid offer from a particular school, which is usually made up of grants, loans, and/or scholarships.

Money given as financial aid or award that does not have to be repaid.

Impacted Program:
A college degree program that may temporarily be closed to new students due to heavy enrollment or may require supplementary screening of student records for selection.

Letter(s) of Recommendation:
A recommendation letter written by a teacher or guidance counselor. Students must request all letters at least 2 weeks in advance.

The main area of study in college, usually requiring at least one year in a planned series of courses during a 4-year program.

Midyear Report (MYR):
Many private schools require that a Mid-Year Report form be submitted after the 7th semester (fall semester of Senior year). This form is similar to the SSR and the request must be submitted to the Counseling office no later than February 1.

A second area of study in college, usually requiring approximately 18 units.

Need Analysis:
A formula used to estimate a student’s need for financial aid. Cost of attendance minus the expected family contribution equals the estimated financial need.

Rolling Admissions:
As soon as the admissions committee has your application and supporting documents (transcripts, letters of recommendation, SSR, etc.) they will make a decision within a few weeks. Schools using rolling admissions will often accept applications until term enrollment is full.

SAT Reasoning Test:
A measure of the critical thinking skills you will need for academic success in college. It assesses how well you analyze and solve problems. It is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. The SAT includes Critical Reading, Math, and Writing sections. Each section is scored on a scale of 200-800, with 2 writing sub-scores for multiple-choice and the essay.

SAT Subject Tests:
One hour multiple-choice exams offered in various academic subjects. Many colleges use these tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. 

Money awarded for achievement, skill, talent, and/or financial need.

Secondary School Report (SSR):
Form included with the college application that requires specific information about the student (academic record, curriculum difficulty, character, overall evaluation). This form is to be filled out by the Counselor and will be submitted directly to the colleges by the Counseling office.

Single Choice Early Action:
Works the same way as Early Action, but candidates may not apply early (either Early Action or Early Decision) to any other school. If offered admission, there is no obligation to commit. Few schools offer this option, but those who do are highly competitive.

Wait List:
If you are put on a wait list, it means that you are an acceptable candidate, but the college did not have room for all their strong candidates. If you are on the wait list for your first choice college, talk to your counselor about what your options are.