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Let's dive in to understand all these college admissions ACRONYMS!

Now that you know what the letters themselves actually stand for, let's expand your knowledge a little and take a look at the overall BRIEF meaning of each of them.

Refer back to this post as often as you need to. No need to memorize them all now. You're just getting started, so read up and hold on for the ride!

On to your test......The Acronyms - The ANSWERS & What Each one means!

Let us know how you did! Do you know any other acronyms that are important to the college admissions process? Email me at

ED: Early Decision

If your daughter has her heart set on one particular college (and you are sure this college "fits" your family financially), she can apply as an ED applicant. You are only allowed to apply to ONE college under this agreement. If she is accepted, then she MUST attend. If she is not accepted, then she is free to apply to other colleges (including the second round of ED at a few other colleges) and you have no ties to that first ED college at all.

REA: Restrictive Early Action

Some colleges (think - Yale, Stanford, harvard) offer this application choice. It is "restrictive" because, similiar to Early Decision (ED), you can only apply to ONE of these colleges using this method, but, unlike ED, you don't have to attend that college. You have until the usual May 1st to decide if that school is for you. So, once you're admitted, you can choose to enroll immediately or you can choose to apply to other colleges and see which one you like more!

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid

This is the paperwork that every family should fill out so that the government and colleges can determine if and how much financial aid your student can receive.

SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test

Who isn't familiar with this lovely test!?! Although many colleges went to test optional, this test still remains a way for colleges to gauge a student's test taking abilities for those who choose to take it and submit scores.

PSAT: Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test

Just as the "P" suggests, this test is taken before the SAT - generally during a student's Junior year of high school. Taking this test helps students understand and become familiar with standardized testing for college admissions and if a student scores above a certain level (each state and each year has a different cut-off, top score), they will be identified as "National Merit Scholars".

IB: International Baccalaureate

Growing in popularity in the US, the IB program offers students an opportunity to also earn an IB Diploma if they meet the testing and course requirements. You may hear IB used when speaking of academic rigor in high schools. Some schools offer AP courses, others may offer IB courses, while others offer neither or even give students options of taking both throughout their 4 years of high school. IB, however, is officially coursework offered for 11th and 12th grade students.

LOR: Letter of Recommendation

This one is one of the easier ones to grasp. Letters of recommendations typically come from teachers, counselors, or other mentors. This is a document sent directly to schools to describe a student to try to help colleges understand a student on a bit of a deeper level. Students should choose who they are going to ask to write these letters of recommendations with great thought.

HBCU: Historically Black Colleges & Universities

HBCU's are colleges and universities in the United States that were founded to educate students of African descent. HBCU's exist because black students had not been able to attend other institutions that were predominantly white.

PLUS: Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students

These are loans that parents of undergraduate students can apply for in order to assist their students in paying for college or a career school. Parents themselves will be responsible for repaying these loans.

SRAR: Self-Reported Academic Record

The SRAR is a list a classes and the grades a student earned for each class. "Self-reported" means just that - the student herself sends her grades in to the college, rather than sending in an official transcript from their high school.

With a personal goal of not wanting to overwhelm you, I will reserve our next group of acronyms for tomorrow's blog! We'll take a look at what each of the following acronyms mean in terms of college admissions.

  1. EA: Early Action

  2. RD: Regular Decision

  3. CSS: College Scholarship Service

  4. ACT: American College Test

  5. AP: Advanced Placement

  6. GPA: Grade Point Average

  7. OOS: Out Of State

  8. SCEA: Single Choice Early Action

  9. SAR: Student Aid Report

  10. WL: Waitlist

If you have any questions on the terms above, or even just want to share your frustration on the need to understand so many!!!!, reach out to me via email - I'm at

Until tomorrow, Momma!!


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