Terms and Definitions
Definitions of College Terms
Academic record - provided by the college, this document lists all courses attempted and completed, as well as other academic information.
Academic year - usually refers to the fall and spring semesters combined (September - May).
Associate's degree - degree earned after completing 60-70 credits, or 15-20 college level courses in a specific subject area.
Audit - to take a course for no credit/no grade.
Bachelor's degree - degree earned after completing 120-130 credits, or 40-45 college level courses in a specific subject area. Most commonly awarded at 4-year schools.
Career program - a course of study that prepares a student for entry level work upon degree completion.
Credit (vs. non-credit) - credits are assigned to a course based on how many hours a week it meets. (i.e. a 3 credit course meets for 3 hour a week). A specific amount of credits are required to graduate. Non-credit courses do not count toward a degree but offer training in a specific subject area.
Curriculum - the subject and content area that is taught in a specific course or major.
Developmental/remedial - pre-college level course that may be required as indicated by the placement test. These courses are taken as "pass/fail" and do not apply toward a degree.
Distance learning - independent study courses that are taught by an instructor and presented in a television or Internet format.
Doctorate degree - degree earned after completing approximately 120 credits beyond a bachelor's degree in a specific subject area. Programs that offer doctorate degrees are usually highly competitive and require research and practical experience in addition to coursework.
Elective - a course taken by choice, not by requirement.
Early Action (EA) - Students apply early and receive a decision well in advance of the institutions' regular response date. Non-Binding Commitment.
Early Decision (ED) - Students make a commitment to a first-choice institution where, if admitted they must enroll. Binding Commitment.
FAFSA - stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid". This form is a financial "needs assessment" and is required to be completed by the student to determine eligibility for grants and loans from the state, local, or federal government.
Grade report - a report sent to a student that indicates the final grade earned in a course.
Graduate school - school that offers advanced study in specific area. These schools will usually only take applications from students who have already completed a bachelor's degree.
GPA (grade point average)- a mathematical calculation which is the average of all final grades earned in each course.
Individualized (course)- a course (usually in math) in which a student works at his or her own pace rather than in a traditional classroom to prepare for and take exams.
Major - a student's primary area or concentration of coursework. (i.e. Education, Business)
Master's degree - degree earned after completing 30-45 credits beyond a bachelor's degree in a specific subject area.
Minor - a student's secondary area or concentration of coursework.
Placement test - a test given to a student prior to enrolling in any courses which determines his/her skills in English, reading and math.
Plagiarism - to take another person's ideas and present them (written or orally) as your own without giving proper credit. This is a serious issue that can result in dismissal from a college.
Prerequisite - a course that must be completed prior to taking another course, i.e. Spanish I is a prerequisite for Spanish II.
Postsecondary education - courses taken beyond the high school level (post secondary school).
Registration - the process through which a student enrolls in a course.
Semester - the scheduled time period in which a course is completed.
Syllabus - an outline of expectations, assignments, and academic goals of a course.
Transfer program - a course of study that prepares a student to transfer to a 4-year school after completing associates degree.
Transcript - an official list of coursework completed and final grades earned at a high school or college.
Tuition - the cost of a course. This does not usually include the cost for books or fees for other services.
Workshop - a meeting in which information is provided and questions can be answered on a specific topic of interest.