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College Preparation Vocabulary

En Español

Q: What does GPA stand for?

A: Grade Point Average

Q: What are extra-curricular activities?

A: Non-classroom activities or after school activities like: sports, clubs, and student government.

Q: What is an elective?

A: Classes that you can choose to take. A certain number will be required to graduate. Music, art, drafting, and welding are examples.

Q: What is a core class?

A: These classes include: math, English, science, and history.

Q: What are A.P. classes?

A: A.P. stands for Advancement Placement Classes. A.P. classes are more challenging. After taking a high school A.P. class, you can take a test. If you get a high enough grade, the A.P. class can count for college credit.

Q: What is a vocational class?

A: Vocational classes (or vo-tech) are business and job skill classes like: business education, mechanics, computer technology, and agricultural education.

Q: What does Tech-Prep mean?

A: Tech-prep is a program at many high schools that starts in the 11th grade (or Junior year). Students can take classes that count for college credit, which is usually provided by a community college.

Q: What is a credit?

A: In high school, a credit is a measurement of the length of a class. Half credit is half a year long. One credit is a full year. Colleges and universities also use credits. Some classes are more hours, so are more credits. Credits are what tuition is based on at college.

Q: Besides grades, what do colleges look for?

A: They look for well-rounded students with clubs, sports and work experience.

Q: What does the term "higher education" mean?

A: Higher education is any schooling you receive after high school.

Q: Is it better to take easy classes and get A's or take more difficult classes and get B's?

A: It is better to take more difficult classes since that shows colleges that you can do well with more difficult material.

Q: What is a semester?

A: It is half of a year of high school and often college.

Q: What is the SAT?

A: The Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT is a college entrance test. It tests your verbal and math reasoning skills. It is usually taken in 11th and 12th grades.

Q: What is the ACT?

A: The American College Test or ACT is a college entrance test that measures educational development and critical thinking skills.

Q: What does the term "income" mean?

A: The amount of money you make.

Q: What is the difference between a salary and an hourly wage?

A: A salary is a certain amount of money you earn monthly or yearly, no matter the number of hours you work. An hourly wage the rate of pay that you receive each hour that you work.

Q: What is the FAFSA?

A: FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is a form that must be filled out when you are a senior in high school. It tells the government how much money you or your family has, so colleges know how much need-based aid you can receive.

Q: What is financial aid?

A: Financial aid is money for college from scholarships, grants, and loans.

Q: What is merit-based financial aid?

A: This is usually scholarship money given to students for high academic achievement, talent, or athletic ability.

Q: In financial aid, what is work study?

A: Money for college you earn in a part-time job usually arranged by the school.

Q: In financial aid, what is a grant?

A: A grant is money from the government that you do not have to pay back. It is based on how much you need the money-called "need based" financial aid.

Q: What is tuition?

A: The cost of classes at a college or university. It does not include books, supplies, or room and board.

Q: What do the terms: in-state and out-of-state tuition mean?

A: For colleges and universities: in-state means you have lived in the state for at least one year. Out-of-state means your residence is from another state. Out-of-state tuition is usually more expensive.

Q: What does room and board mean?

A: Room and board are the costs of living and eating at a college or university. For instance, when you live in a dorm on campus, that is covered by room and board.

Q: Are high school requirements the same as college entrance requirements?

A: No. Often colleges and universities require more classes. For instance, many require a foreign language and more core classes.


Q: What is your high school's culminating project?

A: Culminating projects differ at every high school. Washington state has mandated them to better prepare students for education and work after high school.

Q: When applying for college, what is a letter of recommendation?

A: This is a letter that is needed for admittance to many 4-year colleges and universities. They are written by teachers, counselors, a boss or somewher you do volunteer work.

Q: What is meant by "occupational education" class?

A: These are work-related classes(sometimes called vo-tech or vocational classes). They include: bookkeeping, keyboarding, and business technology.

Q: Put these degrees in order. Which would you earn first and then? BA, PhD, AA, Masters.

A: AA, BA, Masters, PhD

Q: What is a vocational college?

A: It is another name for a 2-year institution, similar to a community college.

Q: What is a community (or technical) college?

A: This is usually a 2-year school of higher learning. They offer work related technical courses and 2-year programs that transfer to 4-year colleges and universities.

Q: What is the difference between a college and a university?

A: Universities offer undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. Usually colleges only offer 2-year or 4-year degrees.

Q: What is the difference between a state university/college and a private university/college?

A: A state university is run by the state; for instance Washington State University is run by the state of Washington. A private college or university is not connected to the state. Private institutions are usually more expensive and often smaller (Gonzaga is a private university).

Q: What is an A.A.?

A: An Associates of Arts degree. It is generally a 2-year degree from a community college that can be transferred to a 4-year college or university.

Q: What is a B.A.?

A: A four year degree called a bachelor's degree; sometimes referred to as a baccalaureate.

Q: What is a transfer degree?

A: A transfer degree is an Associate's Degree that is usually earned at a community college but counts for credit at a 4-year institution college or university.

Q: What does baccalaureate mean?

A: It is another name for a Bachelor's degree.

Q: What does "Graduate degree" mean?

A: A graduate degree is earned after you earn a bachelor's degree. A Master's degrees is one kind of a graduate degree.

Q: What is a M.A.?

A: MA stands for master of arts. It is usually a 2-year graduate degree you take after you receive a bachelor's degree.

Q: Name two types of Masters degrees.


Master of Arts = MA
Master of Science = MS
Master of Business Administration = MBA

Q: What is an 'Honors College' at a university or college?

A: In colleges and universities: Honors College is a program for high achieving high school students. If you qualify, you can take smaller classes and often participate in special activities.

Q: What is a J.D.?

A: A J.D. stands for Juris Doctor. This is a professional degree earned by lawyers.

Q: What is a M.D.?

A: A Medical Degree or a professional degree earned by doctors.

Q: What is a Ph.D.?

A: Ph.D stands for Philosophiae Doctor (doctor of philosophy). A PhD is a doctorate degree. It is the highest degree awarded by universities and can take up to 6 years or more to earn. People who earn Ph.D.'s are called doctors, but they are not medical doctors. A doctorate can be earned in many areas, not just philosophy.

Access translations for Glossary of Education Terms HERE.