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Senior College Application Information

Every Hart District high school's Counseling Department works closely with its seniors during the college application process. Some of the application components require counselor, teacher, and registrar participation. Counseling Departments use email, websites, and Google Classroom to deliver information, resources, and instruction to seniors. Students should consult their high school's counseling resources when starting their application process.
Students apply to colleges and universities using online applications. Institutions may use their own application available on their websites, use an application service, or use a system-wide application or a combination of these options. Check the institution's admissions website for the type(s) of application used. When picking the application to use, students look at cost, ease of use, and components of the application. 
UC_Apply - ONLY application used by the University of California. The UC uses a central application for the system. You pay for EACH campus for which you submit an application. Campus specific components are included in the application only to students who select to apply to that campus.
CSUApply -  ONLY application used by the California State University system. The UC uses a central application for the system. You pay for EACH campus for which you submit an application. Campus specific components are included in the application only to students who select to apply to that campus.
The Common Application - Common App is a non-profit membership organization representing nearly 900 diverse institutions of higher education. They connect applicants and those who support them to a wide array of public and private colleges and universities across all 50 U.S. states, and 20 countries.
The Coalition Application - Coalition for College 150 member schools are united in their mission to support lower-income, under-resourced, and/or first-generation students; to provide responsible financial aid, and to bolster students’ success in college—and beyond.

From: University of Georgia, Undergraduate Admissions, 9/6/18

Binding: While there are many "Early" terms (early decision, early action, early notification, early admission, and EA II), the key term is for all of these is whether the offer is binding, meaning that X college is considered an applicant’s top choice, and if admitted, they will attend (thus a binding offer).


Blind/Neutral: For many colleges, there will be information that the university as a whole will need to ask for some specific reason (gender for housing, family finances for financial aid) which are not used in the admission process. If a school is need-blind, for instance, this means that the admissions office does not use (or even see, thus the word blind) the financial data of an applicant when making an admission decision. Other times, there are questions on the admission application that need to be asked for purposes other than admission (alumni information for the alumni office, gender, and ethnicity for federal reporting), but are treated as a neutral non-factor in the admission process.


Defer/Deferral: A deferral decision is generally associated with an Early decision of some kind, and the college is not able to make a decision due to wanting more information about the applicant and the overall pool of applicants and more time to review the files. This is neither a denial nor an offer of admission (or a waitlist offer), but simply a need by the college for more time and information before making a decision on the student. The student will then be placed within the other applicants waiting for a decision, and they will be treated the same as these other applicants.


Early Action (EA): This decision plan is a non-binding review of a student's application during the early part of the admission process, and it takes place in the fall of the student's senior year. The decisions can be either Admit, Deny, or Defer.


FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a federal government form that students and parents complete in OCTOBER of their senior year to apply for need-based federal assistance. This form helps to determine the student's eligibility for federal aid, including grants, loans, and student work-study aid.


Holistic Review: This is when an admissions office will do a detailed review of everything within an applicant's file, and look at things such as academics, academic trends, essays, activities, leadership, recommendations (if required), supplemental materials, the rigor of a student's coursework, etc. The readers of the file will try to get a sense of the overall applicant, and how the different areas of the file interconnect.


Interest/Demonstrated Interest: Some colleges take into account the amount of interest a prospective student has shown towards the college when making an admissions decision. If a student attends X college's program at their high school, visits the college either on special prospective student days or for a tour and information session, or keeps in contact with the admissions counselor for their area, it can show that a student is seriously interested in X college. On the flip side, there are some students who are unable to visit X college, have limited resources, or finds out about X college late in the senior year, and cannot show as much "interest". Again, some colleges use this in their process, while others do not.


Melt: After admitted freshmen send in a deposit to a college, some will change their minds about attending said college. Most admissions offices know that if they receive X deposits, about 3-5% of these students will ultimately not enroll, as they could have issues with finances, be admitted of a waitlist at another college, have academic issues, decide to delay college, etc. At times, this is also called "summer melt", as this occurs generally between May 1 and mid-August. Most colleges will build this into their projections for their freshman classes.


Prospect/Prospective Applicant: When a student contacts a college to request more information, sends an SAT/ACT score to admissions, or gives a college their contact information at a college fair, they go into the college's recruitment system as a prospective applicant so that the college can begin communicating with them. In addition, if you take the PSAT/PLAN or the SAT/ACT, you can ask to be a part of the student search process, and this will allow colleges to access your information from the testing agency to start communicating with you about the college search process.


Rigor/Rigor of Curriculum: Colleges look at what options a student has with their course options in high school, and what courses they actually then take over their four years. In an admission review, the context of a student's academic course load, and it will become a part of both the academic and overall review of an application. Colleges look at what Honors, Advanced, Accelerated, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Dual Enrollment, and other types of courses in a review of a student's rigor.


School Report/Counselor Recommendation: A majority of colleges that have competitive admission processes will ask for a letter of recommendation and/or a form from a student's high school counselor. This gives the college some detailed information about the school, the individual student, and the counselor's insights into what the student has done academically and personally.


Superscoring SAT/ACTs: A number of colleges will use the strongest subscores of standardized test (either the SAT or ACT) to make the strongest overall score within that specific test type. So, if your first SAT exam had results of SAT EBRW 600 and SAT M 700 and your second SAT exam had results of SAT EBRW 700 and SAT M 650, your overall superscore would be EBRW 700 + M 700 = 1400. The same goes for the subscores of the ACT making a super-scored ACT Composite.


Waitlist: Many colleges have a limited number of freshmen that they can enroll each year, and thus must try to come as close as possible in predicting how many admitted students will actually choose to enroll at their college. If the admissions office's prediction is low, they will go to a group of students they have not admitted or denied, called the waitlist, where if there is enough room in the freshman class, they will then consider for admission. Waitlist students are told to move forward with a plan B college, as colleges will not know if they can go to a waitlist until mid-May at the earliest, and waitlist students are given the option if they would like to stay on the list or not.


Yield: Colleges know that not all students they admit will choose to enroll, and the percentage of students who do decide to enroll is called the Yield percentage. There is a wide range of yield percentages at colleges.

Fees are required for most applications and can range from $50 to $150 per school. Students may be eligible for a fee reduction or waiver and should check the requirements for each institution or application they are using. There may also be a maximum number of fee waivers that can be used for a system or service application. 
Applications have required parts or components and some have optional components. Students can find different components when using different types of application for the same institution. For example, if using an institution's application a student may not have an essay but when using a service app, like CommonApp, the student may have to do the CommonApp essay. 
    • The Application (required) - a process used to gather student information
    • Academic History (required) - courses and grades are self-reported in the app or submitted by an official transcript
    • Test Scores - student sends SAT or ACT scores from the testing agency to the institution
    • School Report - a counselor or school staff sends to an institution or application service
    • Essay, Personal Statement, Interest Questions - can vary by type of application being used
    • Letters of Recommendation - can vary by type of application being used
    • Extracurricular Activities - can vary by type of application being used
Many institutions have temporary changes to their application requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes may be listed in a separate area of the institution's website or on the admissions website or both. Go directly to the institution's website to get current information.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the lack of availability to take the SAT and ACT, many institutions have changed their standardized test requirement.
Test-Optional -  the institution will consider SAT/ACT test scores if submitted and will not penalize students for the absence of a standardized test score.
Test-Blind - the institution will not look at SAT/ACT scores even if students submit them.