Undergraduate degree - The next level of education after high school = "college".
Graduate degree - The next level of education after college = Master's degree, PhD, etc.
The Common Application - Accepted by more than 500 colleges, this is the main application used for online filing.
"Reach" school - A college where you have less than a 50% chance of being admitted, based on admission statistics.
"Comfortable" or "Target" school - A college where your qualifications match the average admitted student's profile.
"Safety" school - A college where you have a better than 50% chance of being admitted, based on admission statistics.
"Middle 50th percentile" - The reported ranges of test scores and grade point averages (GPA) for the middle 50th percentile of the applicant pool, which infers that 25% of the pool was above and 25% was below those ranges.
Early Action deadline (EA) - Non-binding: if a student is admitted EA, they can still apply to other colleges.
Early Decision deadline (ED) - Binding: if a student is admitted ED, they must attend that college.
Regular Decision deadline - Offered by all colleges: students can apply to as many schools as they choose.
Rolling Admission - Does not have a specific deadline. It's like a glass of water - if you apply early during the period when application are being accepted, the "glass" is less full and you have a better chance for admission.
Fee waiver - Available to students for whom paying test registration and/or college application fees will be a financial hardship.
Waitlisted/Deferred - When your application is initially neither admitted or denied. This is usually an indication that the Admissions Committee feels they need additional information in order to make a fully informed decision on the application within the context of their whole applicant pool and will re-review your application at a later date to make a final decision.
SAT - Scholastic Aptitude Test
ACT - American College Testing
PSAT/NMSQT - Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
AP - Advanced Placement Test
CLEP - College Level Examination Program
TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language
FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid
CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE - A secondary financial aid form required by some colleges.