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Terms to Know



20 Terms to Know for Your College Application

OU admissions counselors put together a list of 20 terms to know while completing your OU application. We encourage you to use this as a resource through the application process. 




OU Application - Common Application - Apply Coalition with Scoir

When applying to OU, you have three application options to choose from: the OU ApplicationCommon Application, and Apply Coalition with Scoir. There is no preference given to one over the other. No matter the application you choose, it will be thoroughly read and evaluated holistically by an admissions counselor. You can begin your application now and submit it on August 1! Please choose only one application and continue using that application throughout the entire process.

Final Scholarship Admission Deadline vs. Final Admission Deadline

OU's final scholarship admissions deadline is December 15. We encourage students to submit their admissions application by this date to be considered for OU scholarships. OU's final admission deadline is February 1. To be considered for admission for the upcoming fall class, you must submit your application by February 1. 

Early Action Admission Deadline

Students who submit their application by November 1 will be considered for the benefits of early action admission, including priority admission, merit-based scholarships, and financial aid, and secure early access to the housing application, just to name a few. 

Holistic Admissions

There are two main types of admission that colleges use, automatic and holistic. Automatic admission guarantees admission to students with a certain GPA, test score, and/or class rank. Holistic admission admits students based on a variety of factors, including student life, letters of recommendation, etc. OU uses holistic admissions!

Admissions Counselor

Did you know that you have an OU admissions counselor assigned specifically to you? This person will serve as your go-to for all things OU as you navigate the college decision process. Find and contact your OU admissions counselor today!

Tuition Waiver vs. Cash Scholarship

Both tuition waiver scholarships and cash scholarships are forms of financial assistance that do not need to be repaid by students. A tuition waiver scholarship is an award that can only be applied to tuition charges, while cash scholarships can cover a range of costs/charges, including tuition, housing, fees, etc. Tuition waiver scholarships can be stacked with other scholarships and/or tuition waiver scholarships; however, if stacked with tuition waiver scholarships, the combined offers may not payout beyond the cost of tuition. A non-resident tuition waiver scholarship may never be applied to the resident portion of tuition.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA is the government-provided application for need-based funds to help pay for college. OU highly recommends completing the FAFSA regardless of your family's income.

First-Generation Student

A first-generation student is defined as one whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree. Even if an older sibling is pursuing a bachelor's degree or has already earned their degree, you are still considered a first-generation student. 

Letters of Recommendation

You may submit up to three letters of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, coach, or anyone who has worked with you. Letters of recommendation help us understand you from the perspective of others.


This is your opportunity to tell us things the rest of the application may not show but you feel are important. This essay is a way to express creativity and to show us who you are. View the essay prompts you may choose from.

Test Optional

OU is a test-optional institution. This means that submitting scores from the ACT or SAT is optional for admission to OU. At the time of application, students will share their plans regarding the submission or consideration of ACT or SAT as part of their application. Many students will still provide scores, and doing so allows for accurate course placement and maximizes your opportunity for scholarships at OU.  In some cases it also could improve your opportunity to gain admission. All students will have their application evaluated in a holistic manner. 

Self-Reported Test Score

As part of the initial admissions and scholarship decision making process, the University of Oklahoma now accepts self-reported ACT and/or SAT test scores from applicants. These decisions are contingent upon receipt of official test scores prior to course enrollment. Should we receive official test scores that do not match the self-reported scores, the Office of Admissions and Recruitment reserves the right to reevaluate and/or reverse an applicant’s admission or scholarship decision.


OU will superscore the ACT and the SAT, by combining your highest subsection score from different test dates to create your composite score. OU will use superscoring for admission and scholarship decisions and will retroactively superscore exams for students entering OU as freshmen in fall 2024 all the way back to tests taken in September 2016. 

Intended Major

Choosing a major can be intimidating, and you’re not nailed down to the major you choose on your application! OU’s University College is set up to help the more than 30 percent of first-year students who are undecided about a major through resources like the Center for Major & Career Exploration. Take our My Majors quiz to see the top 10 majors that fit your interests and strengths!


This part of your application allows us to get to know more of what you do outside of the classroom. Make sure to list all of your activities on your application: clubs/organizations, leadership positions, community service, academic and community programs, as well as your work experience.


Resident status is granted to financially independent adults who are permanently residing in Oklahoma and who have been physically and continuously present in the State of Oklahoma for at least one calendar year prior to the first day of class attendance at any Oklahoma institution of higher education; and who, during this one-year period, resided in Oklahoma for some reason other than primarily to attend classes at a post-secondary educational institution.

Affidavit of Intent

According to OK House Bill 1804 undocumented students who graduate from public or private high school in Oklahoma while residing in Oklahoma with a parent or guardian while attending classes for at least two years prior to high school graduation may receive in-state tuition by completing the Affidavit of Intent (PDF).

Application Fee

All schools require an application fee for your application to be processed. OU's application fee is $50.

Fee Waivers

Students can ask an OU alum for their Alumni Fee Waiver or some students may also be eligible for a fee waiver if they show financial need by meeting one of a number of criteria. Read more information about fee waivers.


A legacy student is a student whose parent(s) or grandparent(s) graduated from OU.