An organisation checks and assesses the quality of education. Usually the accreditation is valid for a certain period. In some countries, accreditation is compulsory, in others it is voluntary. The government of a country often appoints one or more organisations responsible for accrediting institutions and/or study programmes. In addition, there are also private accreditation organisations. We only mention and (in the case of diploma evaluations) consult accreditation organisations appointed by the government of that country. Read more about accreditation in the EAR manual.


A standardised college readiness test, which measures aptitude for mathematics and English language skills (and science and history).


Advanced Placement, a programme of the College Board that offers high school students subjects at college level.

Certificate programme

A (short) programme, usually at a community college, that does not lead to a degree, but to a certificate.

College preparatory program

A programme that prepares students for American higher education during high school. They can take advanced courses, such as AP or ‘honors’. This is not mandatory, but it is recommended for selection at a university or college with strict admission requirements.


The official length of the full-time programme (not part-time) without study delay.


European Qualifications Framework (EQF). Read more on the website of the European Union.


Graduate Management Admission Test, a standardised test that measures basic verbal, mathematical and analytical skills. Read more about the GMAT exam.


Grade point average is the student’s average of the grades in all years and/or per year, based on a scale of 0 to 4.0.

Graduate programme

A programme leading to an advanced academic degree (i.e. master's or doctoral degree).

Graduate school

A school that offers graduate programmes (i.e. master's and doctoral programmes). Graduate schools are part of a university or college; they are usually not separate schools.


Graduate Record Examinations, a test that is used as an admission requirement for students who want to pursue a master's degree in the United States. The GRE is based on 3 elements: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. The GRE test score is also often asked by students who want to pursue a master's degree abroad. Read more about the GRE on The GRE Tests.


Senior general secondary education (hoger algemeen voortgezet onderwijs, HAVO). A HAVO diploma is awarded upon successful completion of a 5-year programme of general secondary education.


Higher professional education (hoger beroepsonderwijs, HBO). Dutch higher education distinguishes between research-oriented higher education (wetenschappelijk onderwijs, WO) and higher professional education (hoger beroepsonderwijs, HBO). HBO is oriented more towards professions in specific areas than WO, and has traditionally been offered at universities of applied sciences (hogescholen).

'Honors' subjects

Subjects at a higher level than the core subjects of the high school; more material is offered at a faster pace. Especially for students who can handle more challenges. The more ‘honors’ subjects the student takes, the greater the chance of admission to a selective institution. ‘Honors’ subjects are often seen as less challenging (‘academically rigorous’) than AP subjects.


The Law School Admission Test is part of the admission to degree programmes in law. Read more about the LSAT in the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) Guide.


Secondary vocational education (middelbaar beroepsonderwijs, MBO). MBO prepares pupils for the professional practice or further study. This type of education follows on from VMBO; its duration will depend on the chosen qualification. MBO comprises 4 levels (I-IV). Read more on the website of SBB.


The Medical College Admission Test is an exam that is used as a condition for admission to degree programmes in medicine. Read more about taking the MCAT exam.


Dutch Qualifications Framework (NLQF). Read more on the Nationaal Coördinatiepunt NLQF.

Official transcript

An official (personal) document with an overview of the subjects taken, exam results and credits obtained.


The government of a country grants an official status to an educational institution and/or study programme. Usually, if the government recognises an educational institution, all its study programmes are also recognised. However recognition may also be arranged at the programme level. This means that the government must recognise not only the educational institution, but also its study programmes. We only evaluate diplomas from recognised institutions and recognised study programmes. Read more about recognition in the EAR manual.


Scholastic Assessment Test, a standardised admission test for colleges and universities in the US. Read more about SAT on the CollegeBoard website.

Transfer program

A liberal arts curriculum offered by a community college. Students who complete a ‘transfer program’ may continue their studies in the 3rd year of a bachelor’s programme at a higher education institution in the same state.

Undergraduate programme

A programme in the 1st cycle of higher education, such as a bachelor’s degree programme.


Preparatory vocational secondary education – theoretical programme (voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs - theoretische leerweg, VMBO-T). A VMBO-T diploma is awarded upon successful completion of a 4-year programme of vocational secondary education (theoretical programme).


Pre-university education (voorbereidend wetenschappelijk onderwijs, VWO). A VWO diploma is awarded upon successful completion of a 6-year programme of pre-university education. VWO is the highest level of general secondary education available in the Netherlands.


Research-oriented higher education (wetenschappelijk onderwijs, WO). Dutch higher education distinguishes between research-oriented higher education (wetenschappelijk onderwijs, WO) and higher professional education (hoger beroepsonderwijs, HBO). WO is oriented more towards theory and research than HBO, and has traditionally been offered at research universities (universiteiten).