PSAT: The preliminary (practice) SAT is offered on specific dates in October. During the junior year, PSAT is used as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Testing.
ACT: Achievement exam for college admissions. Consists of four parts: English, Math, Reading, and Science + optional essay. Test runs 3hrs 35 minutes with essay. ACT is scored on a range from 9 (minimum) to 36 (maximum).
SAT: Scholastic Assessment Test administered by the College Board. Sections include: Reading, Writing/Language, & Math. Test runs 3hrs. 1600 points possible (200-800/section).
AP Exams: Offered in May for a fee after completing AP level course work in a certain subject, and scored from 1-5. Certain scores may earn college credit (typically 3,4,5). Accepted scores are determined by each college. Scores are not usually part of an admissions review, but the rigor of AP coursework and mastery of the subject matter is considered.
Early Decision (ED): BINDING. Student applies early (usually by Nov. 1) and receives an admissions decision early (usually by mid-Dec.). Students can apply to only ONE college ED. If offered admission, a student is obligated to attend and must withdraw any applications to other institutions. Students should ONLY apply ED if the institution is their #1 choice, and they know they can afford the school.
Early Action (EA): NON-BINDING.Student submits application early (usually by Nov. 1) and receives an admissions decision early (usually by mid-Dec.) Students can apply to multiple colleges EA.
Restrictive Early Action (REA): NON-BINDING. Students can only apply to one college REA. If a student applies REA, they can’t apply to any other colleges in early rounds (must wait to apply RD). REA shows strong interest to colleges. Most institutions do not offer REA.
Regular Decision (RD): NON-BINDING. Student applies to the institution by the specific date set by that school. Institutions will typically notify students between mid - March and early April.
Rolling Admission (RA): NON-BINDING. Students may apply any time prior to the school deadline and receive an admissions decision within a few weeks. Students are admitted continuously until the deadline.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): Application required by all public and private institutions to be considered for need-based financial aid. Some institutions require it to be considered for merit-based aid as well. Must be prepared annually by current and prospective applicants to determine eligibility for federal financial aid. Requires family income tax information.
College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile): College Board service to help students qualify for financial aid at the private and some public institutions. The Profile requires income tax information and is due according to individual private school deadlines.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC): Qualifying formula to estimate how much financial aid a family will qualify for. EFC is the amount of money an institution will expect a student to pay for college.
Cost of Attendance: Estimated cost for a student to attend a particular college. Typically includes tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, and board.
Financial Need: Cost of Attendance minus EFC equals a student’s financial need.
Net Price Calculator: Tool for students and parents to get an estimate of what it may cost to attend any given college. Most colleges have their own Net Price Calculator that includes their specific costs. Google the name of the school and Net Price Calculator.
Student Aid Report (SAR): After filling out the FAFSA, students receive a SAR, which provides students with their EFC.
Need-based Aid: Financial aid awarded by an institution based on a student’s FAFSA information. Can be given in the form of gift aid and grants or self-help aid, which is loans and work study.
Gift Aid: Financial aid that does not require repayments, such as grants and scholarships.
Merit Aid: Financial aid given to students based on a student’s strong application qualifications. Awarded in the form of academic scholarships and/or athletic scholarships. Does not have to be repaid.
WUE: Western Undergraduate Exchange. WUE is a regional tuition-reciprocity agreement that enables students from WICHE states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming) to enroll in some 145 participating two- and four-year public institutions at 150 percent of the enrolling institution's resident tuition.
Loans: Type of financial assistance that requires repayment. The terms of the loan (interest rate) will vary. Both parents and students can take out loans to pay for college.
Work-Study: Students work on campus to contribute to their cost of attendance. Part of need-based financial aid awarded by an institution.
College Specific Definitions
Holistic Admissions: When a college considers the student applicant as a whole person, beyond just standardized test scores and GPA.
Index Review: When a college only considers GPA and standardized test scores in the admissions review.
Demonstrated Interest: Measure of an applicant’s interest level in an institution based on the number and types of contacts an applicant has made with the institution. Some colleges track and use a student’s level of interest as an admissions factor. Examples include college tours, attending college rep visits to campus, signing up for a college's mailing list, opening emails from colleges, and emailing college admissions reps asking educated questions. Most significant way to show demonstrated interest is to apply to a college ED.
Test-Optional College: Institution does not require students to submit standardized test scores when applying. If students submit scores, they may be considered value-added to the application.
Test Blind College: Standardized test scores are not considered in the admissions decision.
Superscore: Colleges consider the highest section scores across all ACT or SAT testing dates to create the highest possible composite score. Not all colleges superscore. Check with individual schools for their testing policy.
CEEB Code: The individual code which has been assigned to each high school in the USA. The number is required by all college testing programs and application platforms. Acalanes CEEB Code is 051315.
CSF: The California Scholarship Federation is an academic honor society at AHS. Students can register for CSF in September and February starting in Sophomore year by submitting grades from the previous semester to determine eligibility.