Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts & Technology | College Prep
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College Prep


There are many things that parents and students can do to prepare for college and university studies. At Ellington an early focus on literacy sets a firm foundation for future learning. Reading is a key skill that parents can start early, reading with their artists daily.

The integration of arts allows our student artists access to both local and global culture, giving them a broad experiential base. Enrichment programming in the afternoon and evenings as well as summer opportunities also prepare our students to be productive, successful, generous members of society. See our enrichment page to check out some of the options Ellington can help facilitate for your artist.

Discovering and understanding the way your student artist learns best can be helpful as they develop study skills and habits for lifelong learning.

Successful students manage their time and resources effectively, planning for major assignments and setting goals to reach accomplishments. Study Guides  and time managment tips and tools can be found here:

ACT: American College Testing. The ACT Program is a standardized, multiple-choice aptitude test, which measures English, mathematics, reading, and science aptitude. All colleges and universities in the U.S. will accept scores from either the SAT or the ACT.

AP: Advanced Placement (AP) refers to college-level courses (designed by the College Board) that are offered in high school. Students may take an AP test upon completion of these courses. Students with high scores on these tests can be placed in upper-level college courses and may receive college credit for beginning-level courses.

Applicant Reply Deadline: May 1 is the universal National Candidates Reply Date for students to make a commitment to the college of their choice. This date is also the national deadline for submitting a deposit to one college.

College Board ( A not-for-profit organization offering the SAT. Test descriptions and preparation materials can be found on its website. The web site also has information on many colleges in the U.S.

College Essay: Sometimes called a personal statement, many colleges require that students write an essay as part of the application. The topics and guidelines for the essay vary depending on the college.

Common Application ( A standard application form accepted by OVER 450 colleges. However, please note that many colleges have additional unique application requirements.

Deferral: An admissions decision that means the applicant has not yet been admitted or denied, but that the application will be reviewed again and decided on in March or April. A deferral may be received if a student has applied under an Early Decision or Early Action plan. This is different than being put on a wait list, which indicates that a student will only be accepted if enough currently accepted students choose not to attend.

Early Action: A phase of the admissions process in which students receive an application decision earlier during their senior year. November 1 and November 15 are the most common application deadlines for students applying under Early Action Plans. Colleges generally inform students of a final admissions decision by mid-December. Students often will not receive any other information from the school at this time, such as information about financial aid. Students typically have until the Candidates Reply Date on May 1 to choose whether to enroll.

Early Decision: Early Decision is a binding agreement between a student and a college. If a student applies under an early decision plan, they will sign an agreement that if admitted, they will attend that college and will withdraw all other applications.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The amount of money a family is expected to contribute towards a student’s college expenses. The EFC is calculated using the information provided on the FAFSA, and takes into consideration income, assets, family size, and number of family members in college. Typically, the lower the EFC, the more financial aid a student will receive.

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This free form is used by colleges to determine a student’s eligibility for Federal financial aid.

Fee Waiver: Students who can show substantial financial need may be permitted to submit college applications and test registration forms without the normally required fees.

Financial Aid: Funding that enables students to attend college. Both academic merit and financial need may be considered, depending on the college. Students receive these financial awards in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and campus employment opportunities. Need is determined through a combination of forms from the College Board CSS PROFILE, the FAFSA, and sometimes the college itself.

Gapping: A term used when a financial aid package does not meet a student’s need requirements. There is a “gap” between a student’s need and financial assistance requirements.

GPA: Grade Point Average. Represents the average grade maintained by a student when all countable/completed units are considered in combination. For example, an “A” average equals a score of 4.0, “B” equals 3.0, “C” equals 2.0.

Match School: A college where your academic credentials fall well within (or even exceed) the school’s range for the average freshman. There are no guarantees, but it’s not unreasonable to be accepted to several of your match schools, and it is highly recommended to apply to several.

Matriculate: To register or enroll in a college.

PROFILE or CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE: A financial aid application service offered by the College Board. Some colleges use this in addition to the FAFSA to figure out a student’s financial aid needs. Please refer to the College Board website for the most up-to-date list of colleges using the CSS PROFILE system.

PSAT: The PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a program co-sponsored by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. It assesses skills developed through years of study in a wide range of courses. The PSAT/NMSQT has three parts: Verbal, Math and Writing Skills, and is taken by students during their sophomore and junior years.

Reach School: A college where your academic credentials fall below the school’s range for the average freshman. Reach schools are long–shots, but they should still be possible. Students should apply to a few reach schools that they like, but be realistic about their chances of getting in.

Regular Decision: This is the most common timeframe in which students apply for college and colleges make their acceptance decisions. Most application deadlines for regular decisions are in January or February, although some colleges and universities may have an earlier deadline (for example the University of California system).

Rolling Admissions: The policy used by many colleges to evaluate applications as soon as they arrive in the admissions office, making ‘admit’, ‘deny’ or ‘waiting list’ decisions within a few weeks of receiving the application.

Safety Schools: A college where your academic credentials fall above the school’s range for the average freshman. You can be reasonably certain that you will be admitted to your safety schools, so even if they aren’t necessarily your first choice, it is good to apply to a few as a back-up.

SAT Test: Standard Aptitude Test. Administered by the College Board, it is the most widely used college admissions test. The SAT uses multiple-choice questions to assess verbal and mathematical reasoning ability, along with a short essay and multiple choice questions to test grammar and writing skills. College-bound high school students take the SAT during their junior and/or senior years.

SAT Subject Tests: Formerly called the SAT IIs, these are individual subject tests (such as Spanish, Biology, and Math) which may be required by particular colleges for admission.

School Code: A six digit number assigned by national testing agencies to each secondary school for identification purposes. Envision Academy’s school code is 054255.

Student Aid Report (SAR): An applicant’s Student Aid Report summarizes all of the information included on his or her FAFSA application and will be sent to the student once the FAFSA is received and processed. It includes the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Wait List: Rather than deny a student admission from the start, a college may put him or her on a wait list. If the college does not fill all spaces from its first round of acceptances, it will offer admission to some of the students on the wait list.

Yield: The percentage of accepted students in a college who enroll in the same college. If a yield is high, the competition is usually greater.

The following websites also have tips and resources for parents and student artists:



College Sign up for the SAT, send your scores to colleges, search for colleges that meet your criteria, and find helpful information on colleges, scholarships and financial aid.
ACT Sign up for the ACT and send your scores to colleges.
AP Exams
Free Test
List of “SAT Optional”

Scholarships and Financial Aid

FAFSA www.fafsa.ed.go
Fast Web Search over 600,000 scholarships that are available.
Financial Aid/
CSS – College Scholarship Service –

Other Colleges/Universities

Colleges of Small colleges that provide an excellent education.
Colleges That Change 40 colleges focusing on cooperative learning with devoted faculty.
College Navigator College search; information on financial aid, retention rates, campus crime rates and more.
College Information on graduation rates of individual colleges overall and broken down by race, gender, etc.
HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Mentor – Provides career and college planning information, and a matching assistant to help you find HBCU colleges that meet your criteria.
Black Excel Great site for information on black colleges and scholarships.
Common Apply to over 450 colleges using one application. Search for colleges that meet your criteria that use the Common Application.
Black Common Apply to 36 black colleges with one application and one application fee.
Online College
Video college tours from your computer –

Career Information

• To explore possible career paths and jobs, complete this survey:
Naviance Career and college planning tool.


NCAA Eligibility Center Register with the clearinghouse if you would like to be eligible to play Division I or II sports in college.