College Admissions Glossary: D-F

on June 15, 2016

Confused about the words you're coming across as you're applying to college? We've covered some of what you'll need to know below, but be sure to review the rest of our admissions glossaries when you're done with D-F. 

College Admissions Glossary: A-C
College Admissions Glossary: G-I
College Admissions Glossary: J-O
College Admissions Glossary: P-S
College Admissions Glossary: T-Z

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: A student’s application for admission may be accepted, rejected, waitlisted or deferred. Deferred admission means that the decision whether the student will be admitted or not 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.

Deferred Admission: See Deferred Acceptance.

Degree: A college degree is a credential awarded to a student for completing his or her postsecondary studies.

Dormitory (Dorm): A dormitory is a form of institutionally-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 will 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, as eligibility for certain types of financial aid, such as the Federal Pell Grant, ends as soon as the student has completed the requirements for his or her first Bachelor’s degree.

Drop: A student who withdraws from a class by a certain predetermined 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 for the dropped classes. 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 where the student applies for admission to the college by an earlier deadline. Students who apply early action have not committed to enrolling at the college 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 early admission may learn whether they are admitted earlier. The college admissions office can also choose to defer consideration of a student to the regular admissions pool. Early decision is binding while early action is not.

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 early decision have agreed to enroll if admitted.

Electives: Electives are optional courses a student can choose to take. These classes are not necessarily required for the student’s major or degree.

Elite College: An elite college is a school with more selective admissions criteria.

Enroll: A student enrolls at a college when he or she officially registers as a student at the institution.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of the family’s financial strength. It is based on the income and assets of the student and parents, family size, number of children in college, age of the older parent and other information related to the family’s ability to pay for college. About 200 colleges calculate the EFC using a different methodology than the federal EFC calculated by the FAFSA.

FAFSA: The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is used to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid from the federal government, state government and most colleges and universities. Some colleges use an alternate form, the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form, for awarding their own financial aid funds. These colleges must still use the FAFSA for federal and state aid.

Final Exam: A final exam is the last test given to students in a class at the end of the semester or academic year. The final exam usually evaluates the student’s mastery of all of the material taught in the 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 is a college which will not only admit the student, but also where the student can afford to enroll even if he or she does not receive any 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 comprised of male students.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid: See FAFSA.

Full-Time: A full-time student takes a complete course load.  Typically, a student must take 12 credit hours a semester to be considered enrolled full-time. However, a student must take at least 15 credits a semester to graduate on time.

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