Glossary of Terms:    

Academics     Basic, general areas of study such as English, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language, etc., as opposed to strictly technical or vocational courses. High school success in these core subjects is used as a predictor of success in college.

Advanced Placement (AP):     A series of exams offered in classroom subject areas in May each year. Many high schools offer AP courses in many subject areas. Students may earn from one to eight college credits depending on the score earned on the test. The colleges determine what credit will be given for specific scores.

Arts and Sciences:     The liberal arts division of the college (usually the largest division). Liberal arts are not engineering, business, pharmacy, or nursing. They consist of the humanities; physical, life, and natural sciences; math; and social science disciplines. Many students apply to the arts and sciences division.

Bright Futures Scholarship: This is a scholarship awarded by the state of Florida based on standardized test scores, GPA and community service hours – depending on the award level.  Bright Futures scholarship money is accepted at all undergraduate colleges/universities in the state of FL and also at some select colleges/universities in the United States.  Students will apply for Bright Futures beginning on December 1st of their senior year.  For more detailed information regarding award amounts, go to

Candidate's Reply Date:     May l has been designated as the date by which all students must make a commitment to the college he or she will attend in the fall. Many schools will notify a student of admission before April l5 (the last date the colleges must inform students about their applications), but no student seeking admission under Regular Decision need notify a college of attendance before May l.

CEEB Code:    The College Entrance Examination Board is a nonprofit organization governed by college and secondary school members. CEEB is the overseeing agency for many tests and services connected with the college admission process. The six-digit high school code most colleges may ask for is called a CEEB code. This code is required for SAT/ACT test registration forms as well as many college applications.

CLEP:     The College Level Examination Program sponsored by the College Board through which students can receive credit for classwork experiences and on-the-job training. Not all colleges recognize CLEP credit.

College (as different from a university) :    An educational institution that offers instruction beyond the high-school level in a two- or four-year program only (BA or BS), or an academic division of a university, such as the College of Arts and Sciences.

College Fair: Colleges and universities from around the country attend college fairs sponsored by a large number of high schools within the MDCPS system. Most college fairs occur during the first semester around the time of the large national fair in Fort Lauderdale, while other fairs are scheduled for February around the time of the Miami National College fair. Colleges attend high school college fairs to meet students and parents. They answer questions about their institutions and distribute information about their programs and scholarships. All Students and their parents are encouraged to attend their high school’s fair. It is a great way to learn about the college process and expand their knowledge of the various colleges and opportunities available to them.

College Rep Visit: Many college representatives visit high schools throughout the school year. Eleventh and twelfth graders are generally encouraged to sign up to meet with these representatives.  Frequently, these are the same people who read your actual application. College visits provide a great opportunity to meet and get to know admissions representatives on a personal basis. Visits like this often provide a personal insight to the college process that a student may not find elsewhere.   

College Scholarship Service (CSS):  The division of the College Board responsible for the PROFILE and the needs analysis that determines the family's contribution toward payment of a student's education. The CSS Profile is commonly used by many private colleges and universities for determining financial need in the awarding of institutional financial aid.

Combined Studies Program or Dual Degree Program: These terms designate programs in which a student combines academic interests from more than one area; for example, a student who is pursuing two separate bachelor's degrees is in a combined (or dual) degree program. Students who pursue double majors and major/minor combinations are in combined studies programs.

Common Application: The Common Application is an online form that can be used to apply to over 400 colleges and universities; college applicants need to fill out only one form. Many colleges and universities ask you to apply for admission directly through the common application.  Go to to see a list of schools and to apply.

Co-op Program:  In a cooperative education program between a college and a corporation, studio, or lab, the student attends classes and then works off-campus, for pay, at the business site in the student's career field to gain experience.

Credits: The unit used for measuring educational accomplishment based on a given number of classroom periods per class, per week, throughout a term. Most undergraduate programs require an accumulation of at least l20 credit hours to graduate.

Deferred Admission:  A process by which seniors apply for and are accepted for admission to colleges during their senior year of high school, but choose to enter as freshmen after a one-year absence from school.  A deferred admission is a commitment on the part of the college to take the student; a deferred acceptance is a commitment on the part of the student to attend after one year. Check with the college for specifics on deferring your enrollment.

Deferred Admission (second definition): This term is typically used when a student applies Early Decision to a school and is put in the regular admission pool to be considered again.  Being deferred does not mean “no” it means “maybe.”  This is a wonderful time to update the college on anything new that has happened since you submitted your initial application.  College Reps want to hear from you through email.  Don’t be shy!

Deposit:     An amount of money that a student must send to the college, once he or she has been accepted. The deposit indicates that the student accepts the college's offer and will enroll. The enrollment deposit is nonrefundable. A housing deposit, also required, is often applied toward the first semester of housing.

Distribution Requirements:     Most colleges won't let students take only history courses or only math courses; instead, they usually require that a student take some humanities courses, math courses, language courses, etc., in order to be liberally educated (i.e., not specialized). Some colleges have a core curriculum that is very specific about required courses. Almost all require freshman composition (i.e., English).

Diversity:     This can mean anything from geographic distribution, to socioeconomic backgrounds, to political leanings, to religious affiliations of the student body. Often, diversity means the percentage of minority or international students.

Decision Plans:

ˇ         Early Decision:  Many colleges/universities offer an option to apply by early November and receive an admission decision by mid-December.  Early Decision is a binding contract. Meaning: if you get into the school, you have to go.

ˇ         Early Action: Similar to Early Decision, the applicant has the option to apply by early November and receive an admission decision by mid-December.  However, Early Action is not binding.  The student has until May 1 to let the college know if s/he will attend.

ˇ         Regular Decision: Colleges that use an application deadline usually in or around January. Students hear decisions by April 1.

ˇ         Rolling Admission: A college that begins reading applications in August of a student’s 12th grade, and starts accepting students immediately.  Meaning: the earlier you apply to a Rolling Admission School, the earlier you will hear if you are accepted, and the easier it will be to gain admission.

ˇ         Spring Admission: This is an option for that many schools offer for students who wish to take their first fall semester off to work or perform community service. This is also sometimes a good option for students who are borderline in admission criteria.

ˇ         Summer Admission: This is an option that many schools offer for students who want to get a head start on their freshman year classes.  This is also sometimes a good option for  students who are borderline in admission criteria.

ˇ         ATTENTION STUDENTS APPLYING TO UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: UF has an application deadline of November 1.  This is a non-binding deadline.

ˇ         ATTENTION STUDENTS APPLYING TO FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY: FSU has TWO deadlines for admission that vary in exact date from year to year.  These are non-binding deadlines. One deadline is in October (students receive an answer by December) and one is in January (students receive an answer by March.) The earlier you apply to FSU, the more of a chance you have in gaining admission.

FAFSA: Federal Student Aid Application. This is an application to receive money from the government based on family income.  All families are encouraged to fill out a FAFSA as soon as possible after the online application is available January 1st of their senior year.  Please check specific deadlines with each college/university applying to.

Fee Waiver: This is a waiver of payment for the SAT, ACT or for a college application.  For more information, please go to the following websites.

SAT Fee Waiver:

ACT Fee Waiver:

NACAC Fee Waiver:

FFAA:  The Initial Student Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) is available for the fall through spring academic year awards. The application is required for all state-funded student financial aid programs, including the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program. This application is NOT the federal application (FAFSA) for student financial assistance.  If you are interested in student financial aid from the federal government such as PELL Grants, Stafford loans or PLUS Loans you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The actual application can be found at: . This link may change each year as determined by the OFSA

GPA: (Grade Point Average) The average of all high school classes you have taken.  There are two types of GPA’s: weighted and un-weighted.  Weighted GPA takes into account any Honors, AP’s or IB classes and gives you extra points for each of those classes.  Un-Weighted GPA only takes into account your actual grade for each class, regardless of its level.  BOTH GPA’s ARE IMPORTANT. Also be aware of the GPA recalculation procedures of the college or colleges that you intend to apply to. For example a majority of our Florida state universities will recalculate your GPA based solely on your performance in your core and elective “academic” classes taken. Classes that are considered as “non-academic” are not considered in the recalculation. The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship determines GPA eligibility in this manner too. GPA recalculation may or may not be practiced at other colleges and universities around the country – so it might be to your advantage to make this question standard when you meet and talk to college admissions representatives.

One thing is very clear; that colleges will evaluate your transcripts for academic rigor and how you have challenged yourself while in high school. The determining factor is how well you have prepared yourself for college level work. GPA alone is usually not a consideration. It is how you have challenged yourself in preparation of college level work.

Grant:  An amount of money given (rather than loaned or earned) to a student for a specified time of study or research. Certain grants are based on need, as are the federal Pell Grant and state grants.

Greek Life:   Fraternities and sororities associated with a college or university, including their sponsored activities.

Group Meeting or Information Meeting: Informational meetings are often held in cities around the country to give prospective students and their parents information about a college. They are conducted by an admission counselor with assistance from college alumni.

International Student:    An international student is a student who is not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Any foreign student residing in or planning to study in the United States on any type of visa other than a resident alien card is considered an international student.

Loans:  The most commonly used loans are: Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan has the interest paid by the federal government while the student attends college. Repayment begins six months after completing (or leaving) college.Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan does not have the interest paid by the federal government while the student attends college. Interest can be paid while in college or left to accrue until completing (or leaving) college. Federal Perkins Loan Carries the lowest interest rates and is offered through the college as part of a financial aid package.Parent Loan Program (PLUS) Parents borrow for college expenses; repayment begins 60 days after inception of the loan.

Major:     A subject of academic study chosen as a field of specialization.

Letters of Recommendation: Many, but not all schools require a counselor recommendation or at least one teacher recommendation for admission.  This is a chance to show a school how your teachers and counselor see you personally. It is important to give your counselors and teachers advance notice.  To request a counselor recommendation, please understand the policies of your student services office as well as the requirements of the teacher that you will be requesting a letter of recommendation from. A bit of advice: do not send recommendations to schools that do not ask for them!

National Achievement Scholarship: This is a scholarship awarded by the National Merit Program.  It is awarded to outstanding Black American students who score in the top 1% of the state’s graduating 12th graders.

NCAA Eligibility Center, Clearing House.  This is an organization that links athletes to college coaches and vice-versa.  By registering, you are cleared to speak to coaches and coaches are cleared to speak to you.  Register in 11th grade through:

National Merit Scholarship: This is a scholarship awarded by the National Merit Program to students who score in the top 1% of the state’s graduating 12th graders.

Official Transcript: Your official record of high school classes taken. Your official transcript only shows your final grades from each class.  To request an official transcript, visit either your school’s website or go to directly to your school registrar’s office for information. Depending of the college or university, transcripts may be sent either electronically, or by the mail. Please check with your guidance counselor, or your CAP Advisor as to how to request transcripts.

OFSA:  The Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) State Programs, within the Florida Department of Education, administers a variety of postsecondary educational state-funded grants and scholarships, and provides information to students, parents, and high school and postsecondary professionals.

ˇ         Programs Offered - Click on program name to view detailed information.



José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund

April 1

Rosewood Family Scholarship Program

April 1

First Generation Matching Grant Program

Institutional Deadline

Florida Public Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant Program

Institutional Deadline

Florida Student Assistance Grant Program

Institutional Deadline

Florida Work Experience Program

Institutional Deadline

Mary McLeod Bethune Scholarship Program

Institutional Deadline





Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program

High School (HS) Graduation Date





Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans

April 1

Access to Better Learning and Education Grant

Institutional Deadline

William L. Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant

Institutional Deadline

Minority Teacher Education Scholarship Program/Florida Fund for Minority Teachers

Institutional Deadline


Prerequisite:     A course required before taking another course (i.e., French I would normally be required before taking French II).

PSAT: A “practice” standardized test that is similar (but not identical) to the SAT. Students should begin taking the PSAT in 10th grade, and again in October of 11th grade.  The PSAT is coordinated through your high school.  Very important: The PSAT can qualify you for a National Merit and/or National Achievement Scholarship. See below for more information.

Reach School: A school that will be difficult to get into based on their admission criteria.

Residential Campus:     A college that provides or requires on-campus housing for most or all students. Many colleges require all first-year students (freshmen) to live in college housing; this is usually referred to as guaranteed housing.

Safety School: A school that will be easy for you to get into based on your grades and test scores.

Standardized Tests:

ˇ         ACT: A standardized test that assesses your skills in reasoning.  Students should begin to take their ACT in 11th grade, speak to your counselor for more guidance on exactly when in 11th grade to start taking the test. Register for ACT through

ˇ         SAT: A standardized test that assesses your skills in reasoning.  Students should begin to take their SAT in 11th grade, speak to your counselor for more guidance on exactly when in 11th grade to start taking the test. Register for SAT through

ˇ         Subject Test: A standardized test on a specific subject (i.e.: math, language or history). Some highly competitive colleges require these tests for admission. Register at

SAT/ACT Optional: An increasing number of schools have decided to make the SAT and ACT optional for admission.  A list of these schools can be found at

Scholarships: Merit vs. Financial Need.  A merit scholarship is a scholarship based solely on scholastic, athletic and/or community service performance.  Details vary according to scholarship.  Need-based financial aid is based solely on financial need.  Both the FAFSA and CSS Profile are used to determine a family’s ability to pay for college.

Senioritis: A tendency in high school seniors to become so excited about the end of school and graduation that they spend too much time in social activities and fail to maintain their grades through the end of their senior year. Don't let this happen to you!

3-2 Programs: A dual degree program where students complete 3 years at one college and 2 years at another. The student graduates with two degrees.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language):      A test offered to assess knowledge of written and spoken English for students whose native language is not English.

Unified Auditions: To make the audition process to a performing arts college easier, many colleges/universities partake in unified auditions.  These auditions take place in a major city and students can audition for as many schools as they choose.

University:  Latin for the whole (uni) truth (veritas), this term refers to an academic organization that grants undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of fields and supports at least two degree-granting professional schools that are not exclusively technological (such as medicine, journalism, or agriculture) and is composed of a number of schools or colleges, each of which encompasses a general field of study.

Viewbook:     A viewbook contains a broad range of information about a particular college or university, such as the size of the student body, the size and quality of the faculty, information about the faculty, information about life on campus, and certain specific information about the courses of study available at the school. Other information is sometimes needed to supplement viewbook information for a particular specialization.

Wait List or Alternate List:  The number of qualified candidates at a selective college who initially receive neither a letter of acceptance nor a letter of denial, but who may be offered a place in the freshman class after the Candidates' Reply Date if the class is nor filled by those initially offered admission. Some colleges may go to the Wait List as late as July or even August. Students who receive a Wait List letter may be asked if they want to remain on it.

Work-Study:     A special federally sponsored college program combining class hours and work hours on the campus. Pay is usually minimum wage or slightly above for approximately l0-l5 hours per week. The earnings from the job are used as part of a financial aid plan to help pay for tuition and other college expenses.


This reference information, was combined by several CAP Advisors in M-DCPS.  Very useful and informative.