Academic Advising: Process whereby students are provided with information regarding degree requirements, recommended coursework, programs of study, academic support services, and policies and procedures defining academic progress.

Academic year: The school year begins with autumn classes. The academic year at most US colleges and universities starts in August or September.

ACT and SAT: These letters are acronyms for the American College Test and the Scholastic Aptitude 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.

Advisor: School official, usually assigned by your college or university, who can help choose your classes and make sure you are taking the right courses to graduate.

Alumni: people who have graduated from the institution.

Application: Application is the process by which a prospective student submits the required forms and credentials to his/her chosen institution. Application criteria may include one or more of the following: previous academic records, test scores, interviews, recommendations, and other information provided by the applicant.

Admission: Admission is the status granted to an applicant who meets the prescribed entrance requirements of the institution. Check the college catalog for specific requirements of the schools you are considering.

Admissions Office: The college office where information and admissions applications are available. The Admissions Office is often the first point of contact for prospective students.

Associate's Degree: The Associate Degree is granted upon completion of a program of at least two, but less than four years of college work. Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees are conferred upon students who successfully complete programs designed for transfer to a senior college. The Associate Degree requires completion of a minimum of 60 credit hours, exclusive of physical education activity courses or military science courses, with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 (a "C" average).

Audit: To attend a class without receiving academic credit.

Bachelor's Degree: This is the undergraduate degree offered by four-year colleges and universities. The Bachelor of Arts degree requires that a significant portion of the student's studies be dedicated to the arts - literature, language, music, etc. The Bachelor of Science degree requires that a significant portion of the studies be in the sciences - chemistry, biology, math, etc.  

Bookstore: All colleges have bookstores. It will generally stock all the books and other materials required in all the courses offered at the institution as well as providing basic sundries and clothing items.

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.

College: A College is an institution of higher education that grants degrees and certificates. The term is also used to designate the organizational units of a university such as the College of Education or the College of Engineering.

Commencement: Day of graduation.

Concurrent Enrollment: A student can enroll and attend two educational institutions at the same time provided that certain criteria are met. For example: In Oklahoma, a high school senior can concurrently enroll in high school and in college provided he/she meets established criteria.

Course Load: Total number of semester credit hours for which a student registered during any semester.

Course Numbers - The number your college or university uses to classify a course. You usually need this number in order to register for a class.

Course Withdrawal: Process by which a student removes a course(s) from his/her schedule.

Credit Hour: The number of hours assigned to a specific class. This is usually the number of hours per week you are in the class. The number of credit hours you enroll in determines whether you are a full-time student or a part-time student.

Curriculum: A curriculum is composed of those classes prescribed or outlined by an institution for completion of a program of study leading to a degree or certificate

Degree Requirements: Those requirements prescribed by other institutions for completion of a program of study are generally termed degree requirements. Requirements may include a minimum number of hours, required GPA, prerequisite and elective courses within the specified major, and/or minor areas of study.

Doctorate: Highest academic degree. 

Drop and Add: Students are generally permitted to drop courses from their class schedules and/or add other courses. Colleges allow varying lengths of time for students to add and drop classes.

E: Failed the course/class.

Elective: A class you can take that is not specifically required by your major or minor.

Enrollment: This is the procedure by which students choose classes each semester. It also includes the assessment and collection of fees. 

Extracurricular activities: Groups you belong to outside of class, such as sporting teams, clubs and organizations.

Faculty: The faculty is composed of all persons who teach classes for colleges.

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The almost universal application for financial aid, including loans, grants, college work-study and other federal and state programs.

Fees: Fees are additional charges not included in the tuition. Fees may be charged to cover the cost of materials and equipment needed in certain courses, and they may be assessed for student events, programs, and publications.

FERPA: FERPA is the acronym for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This is a federal law that protects the privacy of student records.

Final Exams (Finals): These exams are usually given during the last week of classes each semester. The type of final administered in a course is left to the discretion of the instructor. Final exams are given on specified dates that may be different than the regular class time, and are usually listed in each semester’s class schedule.

Freshman: First-year college student.

Full-time student: A student who enrolls in at least a minimum number (determined by your college or university) of credit hours of courses.

GED(General Education Diploma): A group of five subject tests which, when passed, certify that you have high school level academic skills.

General education classes: Classes that give students basic knowledge of a variety of topics. Students often must take general education classes in order to graduate. This set of classes includes different courses and is called by different names at various colleges and universities.

Grade point average: The average of all of the course grades you have received, on a four-point scale.

Grant: A form of financial aid from a non-profit organization (such as the government) that you do not have to repay.

Humanities Courses: Humanities courses are classes covering subjects such as literature, philosophy, and the fine arts. Most undergraduate degrees require a certain number of humanities credit hours.

Incomplete: An incomplete grade is assigned if students have not completed some portion of assigned work during the regular semester due to extenuating circumstances.

Junior: Third-year college student.

Lecture/Laboratory/Discussion Classes: In lecture classes, students attend class on a regular basis, and the instructor lectures on class material. Laboratory classes require students to perform certain functions in controlled situations that help them test and understand what is being taught in the lecture. Discussion classes offer students the opportunity to talk about the material being taught, ask questions, and discuss the material with their classmates. Discussion classes are often taught by Master's or Doctoral students and are becoming more common on college campuses. 

Loan: A form of financial aid that you must repay.

Major: Your primary area of study. Your college major is the field you plan to get a job in after you graduate (for example: business, linguistics, anthropology, psychology).

Master’s degree: A degree awarded to graduate students. The awarding of a master’s degree requires at least one year of study (and often more, depending on the field) after a student earns a bachelor’s degree.

Mid-Term Exams (Midterms): During the middle of each semester, instructors may give mid-term exams that test students on the material
covered during the first half of the semester. Some classes have only two tests, a midterm and a final.

Minor: Your secondary area of study. Fewer classes are required for a college minor than for a major. Colleges and universities usually don’t require students to have a minor. Many students’ minors are a specialization of their major field. For example, students who want to become science reporters might major in journalism and minor in biology.

Non-Credit Courses: These are classes or courses that do not meet the requirements for a certificate of degree at a given institution.  Non-credit courses may serve one of several purposes: to explore new fields of study, increase proficiency in a particular profession, and develop potential or enrich life experiences through cultural and/or recreational studies.

Non-resident: A student who isn’t an official resident of the state where a public university is located. Tuition at public universities is less expensive for residents.

Office hours: Time set aside by professors or teaching assistants for students to visit their office and ask questions or discuss the course they teach. Your professor or teaching assistant will tell you at the beginning of the term when and where office hours will be every week.

Online classes: Courses you take by computer instead of in a traditional classroom.

Part-time student: A student who doesn’t enroll in enough credit hours to become a full-time student, as defined by your college or university. Part-time students often take only one or two classes at one time.

Pass/Fail Courses: Pass/fail courses do not earn letter grades or grade points for students. If a student passes a pass/fail a course, he/she receives a "P" (pass) or "S" (satisfactory) on the transcript and the credit hours. If the student does not pass the course, they will receive an "F" (fail) or a "U" (unsatisfactory) on the transcript and no credit hours. The evaluation for the pass/fail course is not figured into the student’s GPA. 

Petition: A petition is both the process and the form a student fills out to request consideration of special circumstances. For example, if a student is denied admission, they may petition for admission based on extenuating circumstances. 

Prerequisite: A class that must be taken before you can take a different class. (For example, Astronomy 100 may be a prerequisite for Astronomy 200.)

Quarter: Type of academic term. A school with this system generally will have a fall quarter, winter quarter, and spring quarter (each about 10 weeks long), along with a summer term.

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.

Resident: A student who lives in and meets the residency requirements for the state where a public university is located. Tuition at public universities often is more expensive for non-residents.

Schedule of Classes: Colleges publish and distribute a Class Schedule book for each semester, during the previous semester. With the help of academic advisors and/or faculty members, students make up their own individual class schedules for each semester they are enrolled. Courses are designated in the Class Schedule by course department, course number, time and days the course meets, the room number and building name, and the instructor’s name. A class schedule is also simply a list of classes a student is taking, which includes course name and number, time and location of the class, and possibly the instructor. 

Scholarship: A form of financial aid that you do not have to repay.

Semester: Type of academic term. A school with this system generally will have a fall semester and a spring semester (each about 15 weeks long), along with a summer term.

Senior: Fourth-year college student. You are a senior when you graduate from college.

Sophomore: Second-year college student.

Student Identification Card (I.D.): A student ID is usually required in college. It is similar to a driver’s license and generally includes a photograph of the student, a student number (ID number), the student’s name, the name of the college, and possibly the semester enrolled.  The card is often required for admittance to functions sponsored by the college or for identification when cashing checks or for other purposes, and to receive student benefits.

Syllabus: A description of a course that also lists the dates of major exams, assignments, and projects.

Term: The length of time that you take a college class.

Textbooks: Books required of students enrolled in college classes. Professors notify students which books they must purchase (and sometimes additional, optional textbooks) at the beginning of each semester/class.  Students can purchase new or used textbooks or rent textbooks. 

Transcript: An official academic record from a specific school. It lists the courses you have completed, grades, and information such as when you attended.

Tuition: Tuition is the amount paid for each credit hour of enrollment. Tuition does not include the cost of books, fees, or room and board. Tuition charges vary from college to college and are dependent on such factors as a resident or out-of-state status, level of classes enrolled in (lower, upper or graduate division), and whether the institution is publicly or privately financed.

Tutor: A tutor is a person, generally another student, who has completed and/or demonstrated proficiency in a course or subject and is able to provide instruction to another student. Tutors usually help students better understand course material and make better grades. 

Undergraduate: An undergraduate is a student who is pursuing either a one-, two-, or four-year degree. 

University: A university is composed of undergraduate, graduate, and professional colleges and offers degrees in each. 

UW (Unofficial Withdrawal): Indicates the student stopped attending the course without officially withdrawing. Note: UW's are calculated as failing grades in the student's semester and cumulative grade point averages.

Withdrawal: Students may withdraw from courses during a semester, but there are established procedures for doing so. The college catalog and/or class schedule generally specify the procedures. Written approval from a university official must be secured and some fees must be paid.

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