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College Terminology
College Terms

Academic Advising  Process in which student interacts with college staff/faculty advisors in decision-making, problem-solving, and long-range planning related to the student's academic goals.

Academic Year
Divided into fall, spring, and a summer semester with one to three summer terms.

Academic Integrity  Students are responsible for the academic integrity of all work completed for a given course. All reports, papers, projects, and examinations must represent the student's own work.

ACT and SAT  These letters are acronyms for the American College Test and the Scholastic Assessment Test. Both tests are designed to measure a student's level of knowledge in basic areas such as math, science, English and social studies. Colleges may require the results of either the ACT or SAT before granting admission.

Assessment  A method to determine a student's preparation for college-level coursework.

Associate Degree  A degree granted by a two-year college upon successful completion of the undergraduate's course of study.

Attempted Hours  The number of hours a student is enrolled, including college-level and developmental coursework.

Audit (AU)  To attend a class for information only; no grade or credit given.

Bachelors Degree  An academic degree conferred on someone who has successfully completed undergraduate studies from a four-year institution of higher education.

Blue Book  Paper booklet available in the college bookstore that is used for essay tests.

Catalog  College catalogs provide all types of information parents and students need to know about a school. It lists, for example: the institution's history and philosophy, policies and procedures, its accreditation status, courses of study, degrees and certificates offered, physical facilities, admission and enrollment procedures, financial aid, student life activities, etc.

Certificates  Awarded to students who complete a specified group of courses. Certificates of Proficiency indicate a proficiency of material.

CLEP  The College Level Examination Program can be administered to students who desire to obtain college credit by taking proficiency tests in selected courses. If the student scores high enough on the test, college credit can be awarded. There is a charge for each test taken. Information concerning an individual institution's policies toward CLEP Tests can be found in the institution's catalog.

Cooperative  A method of instruction between a sponsoring company and the student that provides the student training and experience in the workplace. Students work toward reaching established learning objectives as outlined in a formal plan developed by college staff.

Core Curriculum  Courses that all students are required to successfully complete (in addition to other requirements) before receiving an Associate of Arts, Science, Applied Science, or Bachelor degree.

Co-requisite  Refers to courses that must be taken simultaneously during the same semester.

Course Load  The number of semester hours for which a student enrolls in a given term.

Credit Hours  A unit of measurement that is used to fulfill the requirements for a college diploma or certificate. Varies by course, but generally refers to the number of hours you will spend in a specific course each week. Upon successful completion of a course, the credit hours earned are applied to the student's academic transcript. Students need to earn a specific number of credit hours to complete their degree.

Curriculum  A stated list of courses required to complete a major, certificate, diploma, or degree.

Dean/Director  The administrative head of a division or department.

Degree Plan  An official plan drawn up by a counselor, academic advisor, registrar, or program advisor, which outlines coursework already taken and courses needed to complete a degree most appropriate to the student's academic / vocational goals.

Department  A department is the basic organizational unit in a higher education institution, and is responsible for the academic functions in a field of study. It may also be used in the broader sense to indicate an administrative or service unit of an institution.

Drop  Formally drop one or more class(es) prior to census.

Earned Hours  The number of hours a student successfully completes including college-level, developmental, non-traditional, and transfer work.

Elective  A course that is chosen and may or may not be a required part of the curriculum.

Freshman  A student with less than 30 semester hours of credit.

Full-Time Student  A student enrolled for 12 or more semester hours in a semester (Fall or Spring), or for 6 or more hours in a summer session.

Grade Points  The number of points assigned to the letter grade you earned in a course.

Grade Point  Total grade points earned divided by total credit semester hours attempted, Average (GPA) regardless of whether passed or failed. GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of quality grade points by the total number of quality credit hours attempted in a given semester.

Junior  The classification used for students who have earned between 60 and 89 credit hours.

Labs  A teaching component that occurs inside and/or outside the classroom to add to the learning experience.

Learning Community  Combines two or more courses around a common interdisciplinary theme to form one integrated class where students and faculty develop into a community of learners.

Major/Minor  A major is a student's chosen field of study. It usually requires the successful completion of a specified number of credit hours. A minor is designated as a specific number of credit hours in a secondary field of study.

Non-credit Courses A course for which no credit can be earned.

Part-Time Student  A student enrolled for less than 12 semester hours in a long semester (Fall or Spring) or for less than 6 hours in a summer session.

Prerequisite  A requirement that must be met before another particular course is taken.

Probation  Warning that a student's average of all grades drops below a "C" (2.0). (Academic)

Quality Hours  The number of college-level hours a student completes, excluding developmental, non-traditional, and transfer work.

Registrar  The registrar of an institution is responsible for the maintenance of all academic records and may include such duties as: maintenance of class enrollments, providing statistical information on student enrollment, certification of athletic eligibility and student eligibility for honor rolls, certification of the eligibility of veterans, administering probation and retention policies, and verification of the completion of degree requirements for graduation.

Registration  Enrollment prior to the beginning of a semester, including selection of classes and payment of fees and tuition.

Residential College  Many colleges have on-campus housing for students, called dormitories or residence halls. Each college will have a policy with regard to whether students are required to live on campus.

Section  A number used during registration to differentiate between days, times, room numbers, and professors of the same course.

Senior  The classification used for students who have earned 90 credit hours or more.

Service Learning  Academically based volunteer service.

Sophomore  The classification used for students who have earned between 30 and 59 credit hours.

Syllabus  An outline, usually presented on the first day of class, covering course topics and assignments, required textbooks, attendance, grading policies and professor contact information and office hours.

TSI (Texas Success Initiative)  A state-mandated testing component designed to ensure that all students attending public institutions of higher education in Texas have the reading, mathematics, and writing skills necessary to perform college-level work.

Transcript  The official record of all coursework at a particular institution.

Transfer Agreement  A formal agreement between 2 institutions of higher education that provides the framework for acceptance of specific courses and/or programs by the receiving college or university.

Transfer Courses  Courses that transfer to other colleges and universities.

Withdraw (W)  Indicates withdrawal from one or more courses in a particular semester after the census date (official date for college enrollment). A "W" will show on a college transcript.