International Terms to Know
There can be many new words and concepts to learn when you start considering studying abroad. Here is a comprehensive list of terms that might help you as you apply to Baylor.
International Student - At Baylor University, we consider any student who is on (or will need to be on) a nonimmigrant visa to be an international student.
International Applicant - Students currently applying to Baylor University from a school that is located outside of the United States, even if they have a U.S. passport or Permanent Residency (considered “international” for admissions & application processes only).
Types of International Students and Degrees
- Bachelor's degree - An undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course of study that generally requires four years of work, split into semesters. At U.S. universities, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS) are the most common types of undergraduate degrees. Students can also choose to pursue a more specialized degree, such as the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
- Graduate degree - A degree earned in addition to a bachelor's degree, such as a master's degree or doctoral degree.
- Graduate student - A student who has already completed a bachelor's degree and is working toward a master's or doctoral degree.
- High school - School attended after elementary school or primary school and usually consisting of grades nine through 12. Also known as secondary school.
- Non-degree seeking student - Students who are taking classes at a university, but who are not actively seeking a degree. At Baylor, these students must go through the regular admissions process.
- Post-baccalaureate student - A student who has received a bachelor's degree and is taking additional undergraduate classes.
- Transfer Student: A student who has attempted college coursework after graduating high school (excluding the summer immediately after high school graduation).
- Undergraduate student - A first-level university student working toward a bachelor's degree.
General Admissions Terms
- Academic Tracks: An academic track, or concentration, is a group of courses that focus on a specific subdiscipline within a major. It can be tailored to suit your specific interests, such as the Cybersecurity concentration within the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BSCS) at Baylor.
- ACT - One of two standardized achievement tests (the other is the SAT) taken by U.S. high school students and international students interested in studying at a university in the United States. For more information, visit the official ACT website.
- Admissions counselor - A prospective student's direct Baylor contact for questions about the admission process. Anis Qourzal is Baylor's Director of International Admissions. Contact him at International_Admissions@baylor.edu.
- ApplyTexas: An online portal for prospective students from Texas and other states to apply for admission to Baylor University. Learn more and apply here.
- Baylor ID number - All Baylor University students are assigned a nine-digit identification number that they can use to access their grades and other information.
- Credit hour - A unit counted toward completion of an academic program. Each course is worth a number of credit hours (also known as "credits"). The number of credits reflects the number of hours a student spends in class for that course per week. These classes also carry the expectation of two hours of out-of-class student work for every hour in class. A typical course offers three credits. Students typically take 12-15 credit hours per semester. A bachelor's degree typically requires a total of 120-124 credit hours.
- CommonApp: An online portal where you can access Baylor’s free online application. Learn more and apply here.
- Core Curriculum: Also known as “general education” courses, core curriculum provide the foundation for your degree. All undergraduate students take core courses in subjects including mathematics, humanities, physical sciences and social sciences.
- Early Action: Designed for students who want to complete the admissions process early in their senior year. Applicants must complete their application and submit materials by November 1. They will receive an admission decision by January 15 and, if accepted, have until May 1 to make their final decision.
- Early Decision: A binding agreement for students who will commit to Baylor, if accepted. This is a decision plan for those that have Baylor as their first choice for college and is ideal for students who are confident Baylor is the right academic, social and financial fit for them and their family. With this agreement, the student, a parent and a high school counselor must sign a contract stating that the student will deposit and enroll at Baylor upon acceptance. Those applying Early Decision may still apply to other institutions with a non-binding application. However, if accepted to Baylor under an Early Decision plan, they must withdraw all other schools' applications. Students applying Early Decision must complete their online application for Baylor as well as send in a high school transcript, test scores (optional), essay and a short answer response by November 1. They will receive a decision back no later than December 15 and have a deposit deadline of February 15.
- Enrollment Deposit: Once accepted, an enrollment deposit is a payment made by a student to secure their spot at Baylor University. This deposit serves as confirmation of the student’s intention to enroll and is required by the specific deadline stated in their acceptance letter and the student’s goBAYLOR account. Once the deposit is processed, applicants will unlock their Enrollment Guide checklist of next steps in goBAYLOR (like the Housing Application, Orientation and Baylor Line Camp). Applicants who do not pay their deposit by the deadline may not be assured a space in the entering class. The enrollment deposit is non-refundable for prospective freshman. The enrollment deposit is refundable for transfer students if a request for a refund is submitted by the student’s specific deadline through the applicant’s goBAYLOR account. Deposits are not transferable to future semesters. Learn more about our Deposit Policies.
- Final High School Transcript: A final, official record of a student’s coursework and grades that includes an official graduation date. An official transcript includes the school's official seal or the signature of a school administrator and is either sent directly from the school or submitted in an envelope sealed by the school.
- goBAYLOR: An online portal where you can access Baylor’s free online application. It will also guide you through each step of the admissions process. goBAYLOR will provide regular updates, checklists and deadlines, so check often! Learn more and apply here.
- GPA - Grade Point Average. This is the average of grades earned, weighted by the number of credit hours earned. Baylor calculates GPA on a 4.0 scale.
- Honors College: The Honors College unites four innovative programs committed to helping undergraduates pursue questions that often fall between the cracks of the specialized disciplines, by exploring the writings of scientists along with the writings of poets, historians, and philosophers.
- Major: A student’s main field of study and degree plan during their undergraduate studies. You will be required to take specific subject area courses for your major (usually beginning in your third year). You will also choose from other subject options related to your major.
- Minor: A minimum of 18 credit hours of coursework that can be added to complement a major. A minor is generally not required, although certain majors require a minor. Students usually take a minor either for personal interest or to specialize within a major.
- Regular Admission: Regular Admission is our latest and final application deadline. This is designed for students who would like a non-binding decision and do not complete their application by the Early Decision or Early Action plans under the November 1 deadline. With this decision plan, students must complete their application and submit required materials by February 1, and they will receive a decision by April 10. They have until May 1 to make their final decision.
- SAT - The Scholastic Assessment Test is one of two standardized achievement tests (the other is the ACT) taken by U.S. high school students and international students interested in university study in the United States. For more information, visit the official SAT website.
- Test Optional: With our test optional policy, you have the choice of whether or not to submit your SAT or ACT scores as part of your application. We holistically review students, including the recommended items you share with us, and have no minimum GPA or SAT/ACT requirements for admission. (Although some majors have academic requirements.) Learn more about our test optional process here.
- TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language; a test that measures and scores the ability of non-native speakers of English to use and understand North American English. For more information, visit the official TOEFL website.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
- Academic standards - Measure of scholastic excellence held by a university; most require that students maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) to continue their studies.
- Merit-based scholarship - Money awarded to students to attend college based on a student's academic achievements on standardized tests (SAT and ACT) and high school performance.
- CSS Profile - Form submitted through College Board to begin the process of being considered for Need-Based Aid. Students can submit their request during their initial application for admission or after completing their application. Students may waive this if they do not want to be considered for Financial Aid.
- Financial documentation - Proof that a student has the necessary funds to study in the United States, often in the form of bank statements or certificates of deposit. Baylor University requires international students to submit financial documentation before an I-20 or DS-2019 can be issued.
- Financial statement - A document issued by a bank or credit company that tracks a person's finances, including credits and debits.
- Mandatory fees - Required costs charged by the university in addition to tuition. Examples include student activity fee, student health fee, technology fee and transportation fee.
- Miscellaneous fees - Extra costs charged by the university for services such as providing an official transcript.
- Tuition - The cost of college instruction based on the number of hours taken. At Baylor University there is a flat rate as long as you are enrolled as a full-time student (at least 12 hours).
- Fall - The fall semester generally begins in August and ends in early December. Fall also refers to one of the four seasons (weather-based divisions of the year) experienced in Texas. Fall, also called autumn, is comprised of the transition months of September, October and November when the weather begins to cool and winter approaches.
- Minimester - Between the spring semester and the summer session, Baylor offers a minimester, a short and intense semester during which students can earn credits.
- Spring - The spring semester generally begins in January and ends in May. Spring also refers to one of our four seasons (weather-based divisions of the year) experienced in Texas. Spring is comprised of the transition months of March, April and May when the weather begins to warm and summer approaches.
- Summer - There are classes during two smaller summer terms (First Summer Term: early June-early July; Second Summer Term: mid July-mid August). Summer also refers to one of the four seasons (weather-based divisions of the year) experienced in Texas. Summer is comprised of the months June, July and August when the weather is at its warmest.
- Winter - Occasionally, Baylor offers a winter minimester term between the fall and spring semesters. Winter also refers to one of the four seasons (weather-based divisions of the year) experienced in Texas. Winter is comprised of the months December, January and February when the weather is at its coldest.
- Freshman - Usually a student's first year at a university. In Baylor's system these students have less than 30 credit hours.
- Sophomore - Usually a student's second year at a university. In Baylor's system these students have more than 30 hours, but less than 60 hours.
- Junior - Usually a student's third year at a university. In Baylor's system these students have more than 60 hours, but less than 90 hours.
- Senior -Usually a student's fourth and final year at a university. In Baylor's system these students have more than 90 hours.
- Designated School Official (DSO): Designated School Officials (DSOs) act as intermediaries between international students, Baylor University and the U.S. government. They issue necessary immigration forms, guide students through the process of studying in the U.S., maintain records in the Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and more.
- DS-2019 - An immigration document used by students to obtain a J-1 visa. You can download the form here.
- F-1 Student Visa: An F-1 visa is for people who want to study at an accredited U.S. university or to study English at a university or intensive English language institute.
- I-20 - An immigration document used by students to obtain an F-1 visa. You can download the form here.
- Immigration - The act of coming into a country to live where one is not a native resident.
- Proof of English Proficiency: This requirement is for individuals who are non-native English speakers to demonstrate their English ability when applying for enrollment at Baylor. These tests assess an individual’s proficiency in reading, listening, speaking and writing in the English language. To meet this requirement, students must submit one of the following items directly from the testing agency.
- SEVIS - The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a database used by universities and colleges to record information about all students who will need an F, M, or J student visa to enter the United States. It is also used by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to send information about admitted students electronically to consulates and embassies in preparation for interviews.
- SSN - Social Security Number is a number assigned by the government to United States residents at birth.
- International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) – This office provides guidance and support to those at Baylor who have an F-1 Visa or J-1 Visa, helping them with their initial transition to Baylor and their connection to the Baylor experience. Email: ISSS_Support@baylor.edu.
- Alumni - graduates or former students of a particular university. Students can visit the Alumni Network's webpage to learn more about Baylor's graduates.
- Campus housing - Apartments and residence halls (dorms) located on campus property and owned by the university. Students can visit Campus Living & Learning's webpage to see all of Baylor's living options.
- Dorm - Shortened form of "dormitory"; also known as "residence hall." A university building where students live while going to school, often with shared rooms. Baylor offers several dorms across the campus.
- Mascot - A person, animal, or object believed to bring good luck, especially one kept as the symbol of an organization such as a sports team. Baylor's mascot is a bear. We even have live bears, Indy and Belle, who live on campus.
- Off-campus housing - Apartments and houses not located on campus property and owned by someone other than the university. To find off-campus housing, students can view Baylor's Off-Campus Housing Guide.
- Student Activities- A department of the university that oversees student organizations and events connected with the university, such as sports teams, clubs and volunteer activities. Visit Student Activities' webpage to see all of Baylor's activities.