Commonly Used Terminology - Post Secondary Education

  • Commonly Used Terminology 
    Collegiate Degrees
    Associate DegreeThe degree awarded after the successful completion of a two-year program, usually at a junior or community college.
    Bachelors DegreeThe degree awarded after the successful completion of a four-year program of study at a college or university.
    Masters DegreeThe degree awarded at the completion of the first post-graduate program.
    Doctoral DegreeThe degree awarded after intensive study in a particular field such as philosophy (Ph.D), Medicine (M.D.), Education (Ed.D) or Law (J.D.)
    Collegiate Calendars
    Semester SystemThe most common calendar, where the academic year is divided into two relatively equal periods of approximately 16 weeks.
    Trimester SystemA calendar which divides the academic year into three equal periods.
    Quarter SystemSimilar to the Trimester System, but usually includes a fourth, summer session.
    4-1-4 SystemA system where students carry four courses during the fall session, one course during the “January Term” (sometimes in an off-campus situation), and four courses in the spring session.
    Three-Two ProgramA combined degree program at two cooperating institutions, the first three years at an undergraduate school and the final two years at an institution providing specialized study; degrees are awarded from both.
    Admission Plans
    MatriculationAdmission to a college as a degree candidate.
    Early AdmissionAdmission to a college following completion of the junior year of secondary school.
    Early Decision (ED)A plan where students apply in the early fall of their senior year and notification is sent by mid December; if accepted, a “commitment to attend” form is usually required along with withdrawal of all other college applications. A student may apply to only one college under Early Decision.
    Early Action (EA)Similar to Early Decision except that if accepted, the applicant is not committed to attend the institution
    and other applications may still be submitted.
    Early Action (SC)Single Choice Early Action is a great benefit program for those schools that offer it; it’s non-binding, students find out typically before the holiday break, but students are not allowed to apply to any other school in early.
    Restrictive EARestrictive Early Action is a non-binding early application option for students who have completed a thorough college search. Applicants agree not to apply to any other private college/university under an Early Action, Restrictive Early Action, Early Decision or Early Notification program. Applicants may apply to other colleges and universities under their Regular Decision option
    Wait ListedA response to applicant indicating that his/her application is acceptable, but the school has reached its limit of accepted students. Wait listed students may be admitted after May 1st, if space becomes available.
    Deferred AdmissionAn admissions plan whereby a student applies to a college and is notified of acceptance but chooses to take a year off before beginning school. Such a decision requires the approval of the college.
    Application Terms
    Official TranscriptAn official transcript is one that bears the high school seal and is sentdirectly from the high school to the college.
    Common ApplicationA generic application form that can be completed and used for many different colleges.
    Secondary School ReportA form required by colleges to be filled out by the counselor. This form is included in the “package” that is sent by the Guidance Office to colleges or universities. The “package” also includes an official transcript, counselor letter of recommendation, grading scale and a school profile. Standardized test scores are not included.
    Testing Terminology
    Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT)Test is usually taken in the fall of junior year in preparation for the SAT1 or ACT tests. The PSAT score serves as the basis for selection of National Merit Scholars who receive public recognition and financial awards.
    Scholastic Assessment Tests (SAT Reasoning)Test given on specific dates throughout the year at specified locations and required by most colleges for admission. The scoring has three components: 1) Critical Reading- which indicates an understanding of words, skill in dealing with word and thought relationships, the ability to read with understanding and discrimination. 2) Math- which measures ability to handle numbers and do quantitative reasoning. 3) Writing- which measures the ability to construct an essay passage. Scores on each section range from 200-800.
    SAT Subject TestsTests given in specific high school subjects and scored from 200-800 to demonstrate level of accomplishment. A number of colleges may require these tests in addition to the SAT Reasoning Test.
    American College Test (ACT)A four-part test consisting of English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Natural Science used largely by Midwestern, western, and southwestern colleges for admission. Individual and composite scores range from 1 to 36. 
    Advanced Placement Examination (AP)Subject-oriented college level tests given in May, and usually taken by high school students completing advanced placement courses; college credit usually granted based on scores (1 is low and 5 is high), enabling students to pursue further study in a field or shorten their college career.
    Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)An exam used in conjunction with or as a substitute for the SAT or ACT for students whose native language is not English.
    College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB)More commonly called the “College Board” this organization regulates the Admission Testing Program which includes the Scholastic Assessment Tests and the Advanced Placement Tests.
    CEEB Code or School CodeThe code number by which a college can identify each high school. Monadnock's CEEB code is 300468.  
    Educational Testing Service (ETS)Educational Testing Service is the operational phase of many College Board programs, including development and administration of all testing programs. ETS is a separate, independently governed non-profit organization.
    FAFSAFree Application for Federal Student Aid -Federal student aid is financial assistance that’s available through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.