Bilingual: A person who speaks more than one language.

Individualized Education Program (IEP): This document lists the student’s strengths and needs, educational goals, how progress will be measured, transition plans, accommodations and modifications for school, and related services. The IEP is created by the student with a disability, parents, teachers, and other people in the school and is a required document for anyone receiving special education services. It is updated every year.  

Post-School: Life after high school. This includes going to college or trade school, getting a job, becoming independent, having a family, voting, etc.

Postsecondary School: A place to continue education after high school, including trade schools, community colleges, and universities.

Transition: The process of changing from one stage of life to another.  In this case, students are moving from high school into the workforce or postsecondary school.


Early Decision (ED): students who are sure they want to attend a specific school will apply to one college for Early Decision. These plans are binding, which means if you apply for early decision and are accepted, you must attend this college.   These decisions are made early.


Early Action (EA): students who reply for early action will receive a decision on their application much earlier (January or February). These plans are not binding, so if you’re accepted as an EA applicant, you do not have to commit to this school.  

Check out this helpful "Early Decision and Early Action Calendar” and more information on the difference. 


FAFSA: this stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.”  Students who think they want to go to college should fill out this form.  The FAFSA is done each year and will determine how much financial aid a student will receive from the U.S. government. 


Fill out the FAFSA on your phone! iPhone or Android


Grant vs. Scholarship vs. Student Loan: students typically apply to receive grants, loans, and/or scholarships.  Grants and scholarships are money college students receive that does not need to be paid back.  If you are awarded a grant or scholarship, you will need to follow the rules for using this money. A student loan is money you apply for that you will eventually pay back. This money is used to pay for school and school-related costs (e.g. books, housing) and will collect interest. 


Associate’s vs. Bachelor’s Degreean associate’s degree is a 2-year program that that can prepare you for a job or to go on to complete a bachelor’s degree. Classes for associate’s degrees are typically offered through a community college. Bachelor’s degree programs are usually 4-year programs that prepare students for entry into a career.  Students who complete a bachelor’s degree will receive a Bachelor of Science (BS), a Bachelor of Arts (BA), of a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts (BFA).


Community College: a community college or “junior college” is a 2-year school that awards certificates or associate’s degrees.