Admissions Vocabulary

If you have started the college search, you can see that admissions may seem to have its unique language! There’s an acronym for nearly everything. To aid in eliminating the confusion, here are some common admissions terms:


Application Fee Waiver allows students with limited financial resources to apply for college.

Brag Sheet – very similar to a student resume – it highlights your accomplishments, key experiences, leadership skills and employment throughout your high school career

College Board College Board is a nonprofit organization founded in 1899 with a mission to promote the growth of higher education. It owns and administers the SAT®, PSAT, AP®, & CLEP® exams, among many other college admissions tools

College Interview:  Provides a college with an opportunity to give you more information about the school and answer any questions. In addition, the interview gives the college a chance to learn more about you, your interests, and how you’ll be able to contribute to the school. I have many sample questions, just ask.

CTCL Colleges That Change Lives: 44 small liberal arts colleges touted for their approach and lifelong impact

Demonstrated Interest

An action that demonstrates you have a strong interest in attending a particular college. Several admissions committees consider this factor in making their decisions. Some of the ways you can demonstrate an interest in attending include a campus visit or virtual tour participation, having an initial interview, conversations with admission representatives, and applying for early admission.

IMPACTED PROGRAM: A college degree program that may be closed to new students due to heavy enrollment or may require supplementary paperwork and/or screening of student records.

IPEDS Integrated Post Secondary Data Statistics  IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs.

“Reach” school – A college where you have less than a 50% chance of being admitted, based on admission statistics.Many of the reach schools are accepting less than 10%. Focus on fit, not prestige

“Comfortable” or “Target” school – A college where your qualifications match the average admitted student’s profile.

“Safety” school – A college where you have a better than 50% chance of being admitted, based on admission statistics

Student Aid Index This used to be EFC or Estimated Family Contribution. SAI is only an eligibility index for aid.

SLAC Small Liberal Arts College: Almost all SLACs are private. They center around the undergraduate experience.

A few should be on your list, even if you haven’t heard of them. 



Gerene Keesler

Gerene Keesler

Enthusiastic, Student Affairs and College Counseling professional providing over 20+ years of superior customer service and academic advising, admissions, and career coaching.

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