The secret codes of the college search: FAFSA, RIC, ACT, XYZ?

GPA: Grade Point Average. For most colleges this means a cumulative grade point average. For a cumulative grade point, each grade a student is given is assigned a number value, those numbers are added, and divided by the total number of grades for an overall number. An example of a GPA on a 4.0 scale (most common) is 3.2.

RIC: Rank In Class. Many schools put students in an order based on their cumulative grade point average. Where students falls on this list in comparison to their peers (number of students in their grade) is their class rank or rank in class.

An example of a student at a school where there are 412 other students in her grade: 57/412.

CEEB Code: College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) is an organization of educational organizations (schools, college, etc) and each institution is assigned a number (or code). This number is then the CEEB Code for that school. For example, the Rock Island High School CEEB Code is 143725. College applications often ask for a high school CEEB Code.

ACT:  “a see tee” originally an abbreviation of American College Testing is a standardized test for college admissions.  ACT’s Definition.   Wikipedia’s definition.  The highest score a student can score on the ACT is a 36.

SAT: “ess a tee” first called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, then the Scholastic Assessment Test, now does not stand for anything, but is a standardized test for college admissions run by CollegeBoard.  College Board’s Definition.  Wikipedia’s definition.  Most colleges are only interested in the Math and Verbal scores.  Students can score up to 800 in each of these sections for a total possible score of 1600.

FAFSA: “faf – sa” Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form students complete to apply and find out if they qualify for student financial aid.  Wikipedia’s definition.  Each school year has a specific FAFSA form for that year and families have to complete the FAFSA

each year and for each student in their family interested in financial aid.

FAFSA PIN: Families who file the FAFSA online need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that serves as their electronic signature on the FAFSA.  Both a parent and a student each  get unique FAFSA PIN.  Learn more at Federal Student Aid PIN Website.

FERPA: The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. In short, schools are not allowed to share student records without written permission. This is particularly important for parents to recognize. Once a student is 18 years old – the school is legally not allowed to share information about a student’s school record (including grades) with parents or anyone else. There are some exceptions – see the link above for further details.

What other acronyms are second nature to admissions junkies that real world people struggle with?  Please let me know.

About meghancooley

Meghan Cooley has worked in admissions for over 15 years. She's served in a variety of roles, ranging from tour guide to admissions counselor to her most recent position as Director of Admissions and Recruitment. Through many admissions cycles - she's experienced the ebb and flow of the higher education landscape in the Midwest, become an expert on family dynamics within the college search, guided many through the details of the college search and witnessed the joy and disappointment of student college decisions.

Now, as the Director of Recruitment Communication and Manager of social media at Augustana College, Meghan and her team of talented students focus on marketing Augustana to prospective families, educating families about the college search process, and enhancing professional development opportunities in the profession. She is passionate about increasing diversity (socio-economic and ethnic) in private higher education, alleviating the fears and frustrations that often come with a college search (especially in first generation families), and above all, helping students find the best fit for them as they explore all the educational opportunities available.

Meghan often invites guest bloggers mostly including Augustana admissions staff and current students to contribute. The talented students and staff offer a perspective in the trenches of the college search and college experience.

A 1999 graduate of Augustana College, Meghan holds Bachelor's Degrees in English and Spanish. An avid international traveler, she recommends hiking the Inca Trail to Manchu Picchu in Peru, eating Gelato in Rome, Italy, and seeing an opera at the Volksoper in Vienna, Austria. She is married to Augustana graduate and Modern Woodmen project manager, Luke Cooley. They have three sons, Charles, Oliver and Bennett.

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