Preparing for College

What do college admissions terms mean?

Question: Could you discuss some college admission concepts, explaining what they mean?

The language of college admissions can be confusing. Here's an explanation of some of the more common terms:

Early Admission. As the name implies, this program allows gifted high school juniors to skip their senior year and enroll at a college or university. This is conditional, however, on the junior having successfully satisfied all of his or her high school's graduation requirements as well as the desired college's entrance requirements. It's a good plan for motivated students to speed up the cycle of higher education. It's not for everyone, though.

Early Decision. The applicant pledges to enroll if accepted early (assuming the financial aid package meets the family's needs). Deadlines are in early November for applications and notification of decision is pre-Christmas. Students with strong credentials may find Early Decision to their advantage because colleges are looking to enroll the best student candidates as early as possible.

Need Blind. This is when a college or university makes its admission decision totally independently of the student's family's ability to pay. Due to the relentlessly rising cost of providing financial aid, the number of schools offering need-blind admission is, unfortunately, dwindling.

Yield. A college's yield is the percentage derived by dividing the total number of enrollees by the total number of students offered admission. For example, if a college sends out 2,000 offers of admission and 500 enroll, their yield is 25 percent.

If you're still confused, check out some of the many good books on college admission in your library or go to the Internet web site of some of your favorite colleges. You'll find answers there.