GCU’s Glossary of Terms: Understanding the College Application and Enrollment Process

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GCU understands that the college application and enrollment process can be complicated for parents and students. The following GCU glossary of common terms and acronyms can help your family navigate this process, as well as become familiarized with Grand Canyon University and the unique GCU college experience.

Academic Calendar: GCU’s academic calendar notes important dates and deadlines that students need to be aware of, such as semester move-in dates, semester and holiday breaks and commencement.

Academic Programs: Academic programs include our extensive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, emphases and certifications students can earn within various majors and GCU colleges.

Accreditation: Accreditations speak to the quality of the university and its academic programs, representing acknowledgment by peer institutions. As an accredited university, GCU holds regional, college and program-specific accreditations. Learn more about our regional accreditation, additional accreditation and accrediting bodies.

ACT and SAT: The ACT and SAT are standardized college entrance exams that colleges and universities use during the admission process to determine a student’s eligibility.

Admissions Representative (AdmR): The admissions representative advocates the value of education and recruits qualified high school students to attend GCU. These representatives provide outreach services to students, as well as build relationships with teachers and staff in local school districts.

Advanced Standing Credit: An advanced standing credit is a student credit awarded for competency in a subject matter achieved through previous academic study or employment. Advanced standing is also known as a transfer credit earned through courses taken at another institution or through other educational experiences.

Application/Acceptance/Admission: College application and acceptance make up the college admissions process. A student applies and the college admissions department either accepts or denies the student based on eligibility requirements.

Award Letter: The award letter shows your student the estimated cost to attend GCU, including cost, scholarships, federal aid and estimated remaining balance.

Canyon Meet Up: Canyon Meet Up invites incoming students to meet other future Lopes who are starting college in the fall. Students also get the inside scoop on campus updates and upcoming events.

Discover GCU: This free overnight event invites prospective students to GCU to experience firsthand what it means to be a Lope. Your student stays overnight in a suite-style residence hall, meets other future Lopes, tours campus, attends a campus event and more.

FAFSA: FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is used to determine the amount of a money a family is expected to pay for attending college. FAFSA is also used to determine scholarships, grants, work study and loan amounts.

Final Transcripts: The final transcript includes your student’s high school graduation date and unweighted GPA used for admissibility and awarding final institutional aid. The final, official transcript represents all completed coursework and confirms the high school diploma is earned.

Financial Clearance: Financial clearance serves as an audit of your student’s college account, ensuring that the account has been billed all applicable charges and no unpaid balances exist.

Higher Learning Commission (HLC): HLC is an independent corporation and serves a regional institutional accreditor in the U.S. to assure and advance the quality of higher learning. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions, including GCU, in Arizona.

Housing Plan: GCU’s housing plan includes your student’s housing reservations as an academic yearlong lease and all housing charges, including room and board.

Impaction: Major impaction means that the number of applications from fully eligible students to a designated major far exceeds the number of spaces available in that major. Campus impaction means the campus has exceeded enrollment capacity and received more eligible applications during the initial admission process than can be accommodated. Thus, enrollment is restricted.

Lope Launch Send Off: This event occurs in the summer and is intended to help prepare the whole family for college life. Your student meets other new students as you connect with fellow GCU parents—developing a support system. You and your child will learn all about the transition to college life and participate in fun activities.

Master Promissory Note (MPO): MPO is a legal document stating that your student promises to repay student loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. This document also explains the terms and conditions of the loan(s).

Meal Plan: GCU’s meal plans let students load Dining Dollars onto campus IDs for on-campus dining facilities. Your student can choose from various plans set at different price ranges.

NCAA Division 1: DI is the highest level of intercollegiate athletes sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the U.S. GCU has 21 Division I sports teams.

New Student Orientation (NSO): New Student Orientation occurs during GCU’s annual Welcome Week, which is a weeklong move-in full of events and activities. Orientation sessions are mandatory and provide important information for students, including campus policies and procedures.

Parent Portal: GCU’s Parent Portal provides you with electronic access to your student’s information. Your student must give you access by submitting the Student Information Release Form (SIRF). You can view financial updates, make arrangements for payment, see important GCU announcements online and more.

Placement Exams: College placement exams test students in subject areas like math and English to determine the academic skill levels of new students. Based on results students are placed in classes at the appropriate learning level.

Preview GCU: At Preview GCU, you and your student visit GCU to tour the campus, learn about scholarship opportunities, explore degree programs, and gain all important information from the registration process and admissions deadlines to financial aid and FAFSA pointers.

Registration Packet: The registration packet includes all information needed for your student to register for GCU. Your student’s enrollment counselor can help with completing this packet.

Student Portal: The student portal at GCU serves as the personal online hub for each student’s personal information (e.g. student ID number). Students can make payments, access LoudCloud, check final grades and more.

Student Services Advisor (SSA): Your student’s SSA provides personalized assistance throughout the academic journey. The SSA advises on university policy and procedures, registration, progression requirements, payment options and ensures academic progress to successfully meet graduation.

Unofficial/Official Transcripts: An unofficial transcript serves as the student’s academic record without a signature, seal, date or sealed envelope. The official transcript is formally sealed in an envelope and marked as “official.”

To start the application and enrollment process at Grand Canyon University, Arizona’s premier private Christian college, visit our website or contact us today!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.