College Admissions Glossary D-F
Are you confused about the words you see as you apply to college? Here are some terms you'll need to know below, and be sure to review the rest of our admissions glossaries when you're done with D-F.
Deadline: A deadline is a date by which an action must be completed. College applications, scholarship applications and the FAFSA all have their own deadlines.
Decision Day: Decision Day is May 1, the date by which most colleges and universities require admitted students to submit a deposit to reserve their spot at the school.
Deferred Acceptance: An application for admission may be accepted, rejected, waitlisted or deferred. Deferred means that the admission decision will be made at a later date. For example, students who apply for early admission may have their application deferred to the regular admissions pool.
Degree: A college degree is a credential awarded to a student for completing his or her post-secondary studies.
Dormitory (Dorm): A dormitory is school-owned housing for students who attend the college or university.
Double Major: A double major occurs when a student completes the requirements for two different degrees. Some colleges will award the student two degrees, while some award only one degree that lists both majors. Students who are double-majoring should be careful to avoid completing the requirements for one degree ahead of the other. Eligibility for certain types of financial aid, such as the Federal Pell Grant, ends as soon as the student completes the requirements for a first bachelor’s degree.
Drop: A student who withdraws from a class by a certain date is said to have dropped the class. Most colleges have an add/drop date, by which the student can drop classes without incurring any charges. Students will not receive a grade for dropped classes and may receive a full or partial reimbursement of the tuition charges.
Dual Enrollment: Dual enrollment occurs when a student attends two separate schools.
Early Action: Early action is a form of non-binding early admission, of which the student applies for admission by an earlier deadline. Students who apply early have not committed to enrolling if admitted, unlike early decision.
Early Admission: Early admission refers to early action and early decision, where a student applies for admission by an earlier deadline, before the regular admissions deadline. Students who apply for early admission may learn whether they are admitted earlier.
Early Decision: Early decision is a form of binding early admission, where the student applies for admission to the college by an earlier deadline. Students who apply for early decision agree to enroll if admitted.
Electives: Electives are optional courses a student can enroll in. These classes are not necessarily required for the student’s major or degree and can range from country dancing to music history.
Elite College: An elite college is a school with more selective admissions criteria.
Enroll: A student enrolls at a college or university when they officially register as a student at the school.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The expected family contribution (EFC) is a measure of financial strength. It is based on the income and assets of the student and parents, plus their family size, number of children in college, age of the older parent and more. About 200 colleges calculate the EFC using a different methodology than the federal EFC, which is calculated by the FAFSA.
FAFSA: The FAFSA is the free application for federal student aid. The FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for financial aid from the federal government, state government and most colleges and universities. Some colleges use an alternate form, the CSS or financial aid PROFILE form, to award their own funds.
Final Exam: A final exam is the last test given to students in a class at the end of the semester. The final exam usually evaluates the student’s mastery of all the material taught in class.
Financial Aid: Financial aid is money offered to a student to help pay for college expenses. Financial aid can include gift aid, such as grants and scholarships, and self-help aid, such as student loans and student employment (work-study).
Financial Aid Safety School: A financial aid safety school will admit the student, who can afford to enroll, even if they do not receive financial aid.
Financial Need: Demonstrated financial need is based on the difference between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution.
Fraternity: A fraternity is a social organization which is most often comprised of male students, but sometimes coed.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid: See FAFSA.
Full-Time: A full-time student takes a complete course load, normally five classes per semester. Typically, a student must take at least 12 credit hours a semester to be considered full-time. However, a student must take at least 15 credits, or five classes, per semester to graduate in four years.