The college admissions process can sometimes feel intimidating, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are acronyms - SAT, ACT, IB, AP, to name a few - and terms that are specific to your path through high school and towards higher education. Once you have a better understanding of the college process jargon, you will feel like a pro! Here are our explanations of a few more of the terms that will help you to better navigate the road ahead.
If you go to high school in the U.S., you have likely heard of the SAT and the ACT, the two most popular standardized tests for college admission. These are national college admission exams with subject areas in English, math and reading - and the ACT also has a science section - with an optional writing component. There are also subject-specific standardized tests, which are usually considered in addition to, but not in place of, AP tests, SAT Subject Tests, and IB exams are also standardized tests, because no matter where you take them, regardless of city, state, or country, the grading system is...you guessed it...standardized. Similarly, if you study A Levels subjects, your A Level exams are also considered standardized tests.
This is a record of your academic history for the four years of high school. It is usually prepared by your high school's counseling department, perhaps using the school's online grade reporting system, like Parchment or PowerSchool. Almost every college or university application will require your school to submit your transcript directly as part of the college application.
Wait lists give students who were not initially admitted another opportunity to be considered for admission. Hooray! But don't get too excited - beware of the wait list trap! Colleges use wait lists to manage their enrollments, which means that they have students waiting to fill spots if more students than expected do not accept their offers of admissions on May 1. Take a look at what UCLA Admissions has to say about their wait list. Just by sitting on the wait list, you only have the possibility of admission no later than Aug. 1, should space become available. Some colleges and universities do not anyone off the wait lists. Literally zero. Many colleges will wait list more students than they can hold in their entire freshman class! So, another definition for wait list could be: an opportunity to get super excited about the colleges that have accepted you and cannot wait for you to join their community. Put your deposit down at that lucky college or university that wants you as much as you want them, and wear that t-shirt proudly.
Want more? Check out the National Association of College Admission Counseling website with even more terms explained!