College Admissions Glossary

Rowan future freshman on campus

As you start the college planning process with your student, you may run into some terms you may have never heard before. What does FAFSA mean? What is rolling admission? What does superscore mean? Use this as a guide to help navigate and understand all the acronyms and terms used in the admission process!

ACT: American College Test. A standardized test used to measure a student’s knowledge in four subject areas — English, math, reading and science.

Placement Test: A test all incoming freshmen take to determine which courses are appropriate to your skill level. Some students may be exempt from this exam based off of standardized test scores.

Common Application: The Common Application (Common App) is a website students use to apply to multiple schools with one singular application. Some colleges may have some supplemental questions pertaining to their institution, so be sure to have your student keep their eye out for those!

Early Action: Early Action (EA) allows a student to apply to an institution early and receive an admission decision earlier. Applying EA is non-binding and if you are accepted.

Early Decision: Similar to Early Action, Early Decision (ED) allows a student to apply to an institution early. If your student applies ED, and is admitted, they must withdraw all other applications from other schools and commit to the school they were accepted to. This is binding.

Financial Aid: Money given to the student in the form of loans, grants and scholarships to help pay for college. Financial aid can come from the federal and state government, private organizations and from the college itself.

Rolling Admission: An admissions process in which a college reviews an application once all the required documents and credentials (application, test scores, transcript, letters of recommendation) have been received. Typically, institutions that are rolling admission do not have hard application deadlines.

SAT: A standardized test, similar to the ACT, used to evaluate and measure a student’s knowledge in three subject areas — math, reading and writing. There is an optional essay portion of the exam, but some institutions do not require this part.

SAT Superscore: If a student took the SAT multiple times, super score means a college will consider the highest section score of all exams taken. For example: if you took the SAT in October and received a 500 on the math and 500 on the reading section, and you took the SAT in May and received a 510 on the math and 480 on the reading section, your superscore would be 510 math, 500 reading for a total superscore of 1010.

Waitlist: A decision that is neither a yes nor a no. A student who is put on the waitlist will have the opportunity to enroll only if there is availability in the incoming class after admitted students have responded to their offer of admission.

EOF: The Educational Opportunity Fund program is a state-funded grant for New Jersey residents — providing financial assistance and academic support services for low income, first generation, academically promising New Jersey residents with limited academic preparation. Eligible students receive intentional academic support and financial assistance based on their individual need.

Subsidized Loan: If a student demonstrates financial need based on the FAFSA, the federal government will pay the interest charge while the student is enrolled at least half-time (6 credits). Students must pay the principal and interest during the repayment period which occurs (6 months) following graduation or if they withdrawal from the university. Subsidized loans are not available to graduate students.

Unsubsidized Loan: All matriculated students enrolled at least half-time may receive a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan regardless of family income. The interest is not paid on the student’s behalf. Borrowers may choose to make payments while in school (recommended), or allow the interest to accumulate onto the balance.

Cost of Attendance: A term used in financial aid to describe what the school estimates it will cost the student to live, eat, and go to school. It is different at every school and it not the actual expense.

Net Price: Is the amount that a student pays to attend an institution in a single academic year AFTER subtracting scholarships and grants the student receives.

Admissions counselor Amanda KusterLike what you see, come visit us!


​​Story by:
Amanda Kuster, admissions counselor