College Admissions Glossary: J-O

on June 16, 2016

Our admissions glossary is here to make your application and enrollment as easy as possible. Be sure to review our complete glossary as you continue on your college journey!

College Admissions Glossary: A-C
College Admissions Glossary: D-F
College Admissions Glossary: G-I
College Admissions Glossary: P-S
College Admissions Glossary: T-Z

Junior College: See Community College.


LAC: Acronym for Liberal Arts College

Legacy Admissions: Legacy admissions refers to a preference by a college for admitting students who are related to alumni of the college. For example, a student whose parents and grandparents are alumni of the college may have greater odds of admission than a student who is not a legacy.

Leveraging: Leveraging involves using financial aid awards to achieve a college’s enrollment and financial goals. For example, a college may use its financial aid policies to enroll low-income students, minority students, student-athletes, academically-talented students and wealthy students.

Liberal Arts: Liberal arts are fields of study in the humanities, arts and sciences, as opposed to vocational, technical and professional fields. Liberal arts colleges may emphasize high quality teaching, especially on an undergraduate level. 

Major: An academic major is a field of study in which a college student chooses to specialize.

Match School: A match school is a college that is a good fit for a student's academic background and likely to admit him or her. Typically, the student’s admissions test scores will fall within the middle half of students enrolled at the college (e.g., 25th to 75th percentile).

Matriculate: Matriculation refers to the process of enrollment at a college or university.

Midterm Exam: A midterm exam is a test that takes place in the middle of the semester or academic term.

Minor: A minor is a secondary subject studied by a college student. The requirements for a minor are less restrictive than the requirements for a major.

National Candidates Reply Date: The National Candidates Reply Date, May 1, is the day by which many colleges and universities require admitted students to commit to attending. Also known as Decision Day.


National University: National universities are highly selective institutions that recruit students nationally, as opposed to regionally. National universities include many of the top research universities and often enroll graduate students in addition to undergraduate students. 

Need-Aware Admissions: Need-aware admissions, also known as need-sensitive admissions, is an admissions policy that allows a college or university to consider an applicant's financial background when deciding whether to accept the student.  Even colleges which claim to be need-blind for the regular applicant pool become need-sensitive when admitting students from the wait list.

Need-Based Financial Aid: Need-based financial aid is financial aid awarded primarily based on the student’s demonstrated financial need. Need-based aid includes the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study, and subsidized student loans.

Merit-Based Financial Aid: Merit-based financial aid is financial aid awarded primarily based on the student’s academic, artistic or athletic talent, not financial need.

Need-Blind Admissions: Need-blind admissions is an admissions policy that does not allow a college or university to consider an applicant’s financial background when deciding whether to accept the student.

Need-Sensitive Admissions: See Need-Aware Admissions.

Net Price: The net price is the difference between the cost of attendance and just gift aid, such as grants and scholarships. It is the amount of money the family will need to pay to cover college costs using savings, income and loans.

Net Price Calculator: Since October 29, 2011, all U.S. colleges and universities have been required to provide a net price calculator on their websites. The net price calculator provides families with an estimate of the net price for their student, based on the answers to a series of questions. Net price calculators that ask more questions tend to provide more accurate estimates. Some net price calculators use two-year-old cost and financial aid information, while others are up-to-date.

Open Admission: Open admission is a non-competitive college admissions process, where most students that apply for admission are accepted.

Orientation: Orientation is a period of time at the start of the academic year when new students are welcomed to a college and become acquainted with the college’s academic programs, policies and procedures.

Out-of-State Student: An out-of-state student is a student who does not reside in the same state in which the college is located.

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