College Term Glossary

Learn the lingo! We have provided a list of common terms you encounter while in college.
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  • Accomodation: An alteration to a space, assignment, or method of learning that allows an individual to gain access to content and/or complete assigned tasks.
  • Add/Drop Deadline: The last day for a student to add or remove classes on their schedule without grade penalties or late registration fees.
  • Add/Drop Week: The period of time between the first day of class in a semester and the add/drop deadline. Students may use this time to explore a multitude of classes by registering, attending, and possibly dropping the classes if they are not interested. During this period, if you add or drop a class from your schedule, there is no grade penalty. If you are curious about different courses and their lecturers this is an opportunity for you to give them a test run. 
  • Adjunct Instructor: A non-tenure track instructor that is hired on a course by course basis. 
  • Academic Advising: You might already be assigned an academic advisor, which you can check in your student portal. If not, there is typically a team of academic advisors that are welcome to appointments and walk-ins. Advisors can help you map out your classes for each semester to avoid graduating late, and explore major/minor/certificate options.
  • APA/Chicago/MLA Style: Professors often ask their college students to write papers or reports in a specific writing style. The most common of these are APA (American Psychological Association), Chicago Style, and MLA (Modern Language Association). These styles have their own formats for citing sources, formatting documents, and pagination. Be sure to refresh yourself on each style before you write a paper!
  • Area Coordinator: An on-campus housing professional, employed by the university to oversee safety and programming in a specific residence hall.
  • Assistant Professors: Individuals who have been hired on the tenure track, but have some publishing criteria before they can be considered “full professors.”
  • Associate Professor refers to mid-level professorial rank. These positions are usually tenured.
  • Award Letter: Named differently across colleges such as financial aid offer, merit letter, award letter, or financial aid package. This document includes information about how much a year of school costs, the amount you are responsible for covering, grants, scholarships, loans, and work study. 
  • Bibliography: A list of books and articles referenced in your essay or project, typically appended to the end of the document (last page). A bibliography is customary or required in academic writing to grant legitimacy to each other’s writing. 
  • Bright Futures: A state of Florida scholarship based on GPA and test scores. Maintaining eligibility for this scholarship is dependent on passing a full-time amount of courses every academic year.
  • Bursar’s Office: The role of the bursar is to be the top person responsible for financial administration within a school. You can go to the Bursar’s office when you are having an issue regarding tuition and fees, Florida Prepaid, and non-tuition charges.
  • Campus Recreation can offer intramural (non-competitive) sports teams, group fitness classes, swimming lessons and SCUBA certifications, personal training, outdoor adventure trips (kayaking, hiking, etc.) 
  • Certificates: Academic programs available to students with or without a degree that allow students to obtain a level of expertise in a field of work or study. 
  • Capital Improvement Fee: Colleges and Universities often charge students a capital improvement fee to promote campus development. 
  • CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) offered by the College Board, provides 34 exams for introductory level college courses. You take the exams at official CLEP test centers and earn college credit at a discounted price.
  • Clinicals: While in nursing school, students through clinicals in which you attend lectures and participate in supervised sessions in real-world healthcare scenarios. 
  • College Completion Coach: The College Completion Coaches are post-secondary resource specialists dedicated to servicing Take Stock collegiate scholars as they navigate college life. They do this through professional knowledge of collegiate demands, maintaining relationships with key departments and staff, and connecting Take Stock scholars to important resources and information. There are four College Completion Coaches currently, and each covers a specific region of the state. 
  • Community Closet, Career Closet: similar to a food pantry, colleges and community centers may offer a collection of business professional clothing for free or for a very discounted price.
  • Coreq (Co-requisite): Courses that must be taken at the same time as a matching course.
  • Course Number: The identification number your college or university uses to classify a course. You usually need this number in order to register for a class. See section number.
  • Credit hours: Credit hours are the units of measurement for educational credit. The general rule is that for every one credit hour, you should expect to spend 2-3 hours outside of class studying and reading. So for a 3 credit hour course, you can expect to spend around 9 hours per week: reading the texts, reviewing lecture notes, writing papers, memorizing terms, and discussing material with classmates. 
  • CV (Curriculum Vitae): A document detailing all of your academic credentials. CVs are often required for applicants to academic grants, research opportunities, and fellowships. 
  • Disbursement: In terms of financial aid, the money from your aid source that is often paid directly to your school. 
  • Discussion: Often indicated in a course schedule under “D”, these supplemental courses are required in tandem with another course. The most common being Intro to Philosophy, where you will register for and attend a lecture multiple times per week and attend a discussion once per week. This structure may vary by college, but the important thing to remember is that if this is required for the course, you must attend. Discussions will be lead by TAs, and are usually the time where papers and assignments are explained. 
  • Elective: Courses available that are outside of your degree program requirements, best taken after satisfying requirements. An elective can be a course on basket weaving or a course that may be a requirement in a different degree program. If you have room for electives, you may want to use them towards a minor or a certificate. 
  • FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): A very long form for prospective and current college students to determine their eligibility for student financial aid. The FAFSA must be completed every year in order to receive aid. The new versions come out at the beginning of each October. It is best to fill out your FAFSA as soon as possible to ensure that you are able to correct mistakes and increase your chances of receiving more aid. 
  • Financial Aid: Funds such as scholarships, grants, and loans paid out to college students for the purpose of paying their college tuition and fees.
  • First Generation Student: Often defined as students whose parents did not complete college or university programs. More nuanced descriptions imply that first generation students are those who are lacking cultural capital that is critical to college success. 
  • First Generation Offices can help you with accessing resources that remove barriers to college success and connecting with other first generation students for support and leadership. 
  • Florida Prepaid Scholarship: The scholarship you receive from your local Take Stock program was purchased from Florida Prepaid with you as the beneficiary.
  • Florida Prepaid Survey: To keep your Florida Prepaid Account active, you need to fill out an annual survey every year. To fill out your Florida Prepaid Survey, click here.
  • Food Pantry: Many colleges will house a food pantry on campus or nearby campus to address student food insecurity. Often, they will only require that you present your student ID and maybe fill out some forms. 
  • Graduate Student: Current university student pursuing a degree program after Bachelor’s level. These include Master’s programs and doctoral programs, which typically may take longer and require more independent research. You might encounter graduate students in your dorms as Area Coordinators or in the classroom as Teaching/Teacher’s Assistants.
  • GRE (Graduate Record Exam): Also known as the “General GRE”, the GRE is a standardized admissions test required of most graduate school programs. It has three sections: two written essays, multiple choice verbal, and multiple choice mathematics. This is a timed, paid exam.
  • GRE Subject Test: The GRE subject test is a series of multiple choice standardized tests that are designed to test a graduate school applicant’s specific subject knowledge. These are only required by certain colleges/universities and by particular programs. The topics offered are: Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. These are timed, paid tests.
  • GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test): Most MBA programs require their applicants to complete the GMAT.
  • Instructor: Usually a non-tenure track person under a teaching contract at the college/university. This person usually is highly qualified and might even be a doctoral student. 
  • In-state Tuition: Given that public colleges and universities are funded through state taxes, state residents are able to attend public institutions at reduced cost. The cost to residents from other states is known as out-of-state tuition.
  • Internship: A temporary paid or unpaid position that typically consists of the organization exchanging relevant experience for the intern’s service. Internships can last as little as 1 week and as long as 12 months. 
  • Lab: Labs are supplemental courses often required alongside physical science lectures. Students attend the lecture and the lab in the same week to perform experiments detailed in the assigned lab journal. These are typically longer in duration than the lecture because the TA or GA will be walking you through each step of the lab assignment before you complete it yourself. In introductory level courses, attendance is large so expect to be put in groups when completing this work. For more intense labs you will perform the experiment, and then after you will write a lab report.
  • Lecture: Lectures are class meetings at designated times and locations, where a professor or instructor will give an oral presentation to their students on course material. Most times, the professor or instructor will use a PowerPoint to illustrate or highlight ideas. The best way to get through a lecture is to come prepared to take notes, not just on the presentation but on points made verbally. 
  • LLC (Living Learning Community): An LLC is a group of students living on the same floor of a residence hall on the basis of common major, interest, or affiliation. Students living in an LLC enjoy the bonds of commonality among their neighbors and often have access to additional, exclusive resources and events.
  • LSAT: The Law School Admission Test is created to specifically examine the skills needed for success in law school. This is a timed, paid exam that is required in a law school application. 
  • MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test): The MCAT is the multiple choice, standardized test required by almost all medical schools.  This is a timed, paid exam designed to test your critical thinking, problem solving, and concept knowledge.
  • Meal Plan: Most colleges offer meal plans for purchase. This allows a student to pay wholesale prices for a number of meals per week. This allows students to budget for food.
  • Minor: A secondary academic discipline which can be an interest complementary or different from the major
  • Multicultural Affairs: Multicultural Affairs offices work across campuses to support intercultural dialogue, awareness, advocacy, and a respect for diversity. They provide bystander intervention training, zone training, Ally training, etc. 
  • Office Hours: These are the times that your professors and instructors are required to be available to you outside of class. The days, times, and locations are almost always listed on the syllabus given to you during the first week of class. Go to your professors office hours if you are having trouble understanding the material, if you are looking for feedback on an important paper, or just drop by to be friendly with them. Professors and instructors appreciate genuine positive feedback on their lectures and for people to actually show up to their office hours. 
  • Ombudsperson: Also known as an ombudsman or an ombud, the ombudsperson is an advocate for fairness and equality. The ombud is an independent, neutral, and confidential office for students, staff, and faculty to register complaints and concerns.
  • Out-of-State Tuition: Given that public colleges and universities are funded through state taxes, state residents are able to attend public institutions at reduced cost. The cost to residents from other states is known as out-of-state tuition.
  • Parking Decal: In order to park on campus without getting ticketed, booted, or towed, visit your college’s department of parking and transportation to get a parking decal. 
  • Pell Grant: A federal grant that provides aid for students that need to pay for college. These are offered to students with financial aid that are earning their first bachelor’s degree. You must fill out a FAFSA to be considered for a Pell Grant.
  • Plagiarism: Using another person’s ideas, words, or research without proper and honest citation. Plagiarism is a serious offense that can lead to failing assignments, flunking classes, being placed on academic probation, or in repeat cases, expulsion.
  • Postsecondary: A term for any college, university, or certificate study undertaken after high school.
  • Practicums: Graduate level classes that are designed to give students an opportunity to engage in practical or applied learning opportunities. Education majors, Social Workers, Nurses, Speech Pathologists, and others often require the completion of practicums.
  • Pre-req (Prerequisite): In order to take certain classes or to enroll in certain college programs, you must have satisfied certain prior requirements or Pre-reqs. For instance, in order to take Organic Chemistry II, you must first take Organic Chemistry I. In order to apply for Nursing school, you must attain a passing grade in a number of courses such as Anatomy, Biology, and Chemistry.
  • Professors: Often referred to as “full professors,” this designation means the professor is tenured and has exhausted all promotions beyond those of special distinctions.Not all college/university teachers are “Professors” this title is given to individuals who have earned their doctorate degree and have been hired onto the prestigious “tenure track” jobs. These positions offer job security and promote the publication of research. The road to tenure involves different benchmarks along the way. See also Associate Professor and Assistant Professor.
  • Provost: Occasionally referred to as the Chief Academic Officer or Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Provost is the senior academic administrator at colleges and universities in charge of overseeing academic, research, and curriculum affairs at the institution.
  • Recommendation Letter: Many college programs, scholarships, and jobs require applicants to provide recommendation letters. These letters should be provided by a respected superior such as a professor, work superior, or person otherwise in excellent standing. Some programs prefer the applicant not to have access to the letter’s contents prior to submission, so be sure to stay abreast of these expectations prior to asking for a letter!
  • Registrar: A campus office responsible for managing course registration, student registration, student matriculation requirements, and creating master schedules/course offerings. 
  • Research Assistant: Often graduate students, research assistants are part time employees paid to assist the tenure-track professor staff perform research key to their scholarly projects. Research Assistants sometimes lead labs or instruct students as part of their duties.
  • Research Paper: An essay that argues your own interpretation or analysis through the examination of scholarly resources related to this topic. Voices from the field illustrate how informed you on on the topic, and give strength to your own insights.These papers are more than a report on what scholars have to say on your subject, these resources should be used to support or contrast your own point of view. 
  • RA (Resident Assistant): A student employee who lives in the resident hall. Your RA is in charge of supervising, supporting, and building communities within the students living on their hall.
  • Scantron: Teachers often require students to answer multiple choice test answers on the scantron sheet. These “fill in the bubble” style responses save instructors time, as they are graded by machine.
  • Scholarly Resource: Scholarly resources are the most credible resources available. Scholarly resources are those that have been written by experts in the field and have also been published in peer-reviewed journals, books, or websites. As a rule, websites that end in “.com” are not scholarly. Look for “.edu” or “.org” addresses instead. You campus library is your touchpoint for scholarly resources.
  • Section Number: While course numbers refer to the names of classes offered, section numbers correspond to the exact time, day, and instructor you are taking this class. Take for example WRIT101-89. Here the course number is “WRIT 101.” The section number is “89.” It is important to use these numbers to identify yourself when you email professors, turn in assignments, or take exams.
  • Student Ambassador: Take Stock in College recruited 40 student ambassadors as peer mentors for college enrolled Take Stock college scholars. There is a student ambassador at all of Florida’s public colleges and universities. Student Ambassadors are college students who host club meetings and help connect scholars with resources. To reach out to your Student Ambassador, check out your college group page on Take Stock Connect.
  • Student Union: Typically located in the front or middle of campus, the Student Union is a space for students to meet and hold events, use the game room and study spaces, or visit the information desk for general campus questions. Many offices are typically housed in the student union.
  • Study Groups: A group of students that meets outside of class to review information, compare notes, and study for exams together. These can be informal groups of students or they might be lead by a Teacher’s Assistant. 
  • Take Stock Connect: Take Stock Connect is the online networking platform created just for Take Stock in Children scholarship recipients while they are in college and after college graduation. Here scholars can connect with other Take Stock collegiate scholars and young professionals, can learn about Take Stock events happening on their campus, and have access to a lot of great information on how to best leverage campus resources. Take Stock Connect is also a great place to connect with your College Completion Coach and your Student Ambassador.
  • Teacher’s Assistants (TAs): These are graduate students employed by the college or university to directly assist professors. Depending on the size of the class, a professor may have multiple TAs. TAs are usually current graduate students taking courses and working for the university at the same time. These folks will often have office hours or you may ask them questions during the labs or discussions they instruct. 
  • Tenure: A tenured professor has achieved a level of expertise and publication that has secured their academic appointment indefinitely. Tenure can only be rescinded do to legal cause.
  • TOEFL Test of English as a Foreign Language: This exam is often taken by students wishing to demonstrate their English language proficiency at the university level. This exam is typically used in lieu of the SAT/ACT exams by students for whom English is their second language. 
  • TRiO: The Federal TRiO Programs (TRiO) are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Services may vary at each institution of higher learning, but their offerings include specialized tutoring, financial aid and academic advising, and other opportunities for academic development.
  • Tuition: Tuition is the fee charged for taking college classes. These are often charged per credit hour. For example, a college might charge $300 per credit hour, which means you will be charged $900 for a standard three credit hour class.
  • Tuition Differential Fee: A fee charged by universities, this fee is added to tuition fund academic development and undergraduate services. Some universities have waived this fee for Florida Prepaid students. To find out what fees your college/university applies to their students, visit your campus Financial Aid office.
  • Undergraduate Student: Freshman to Senior level students working toward their Associates or Bachelor’s level degree
  • Work Study: Work Study is a federally or state funded program that provides part-time jobs to college students with financial need. These jobs are usually on-campus, and occasionally are related to your course of study. If you are interested in a Work Study, indicate this on your FAFSA, and visit your campus Financial Aid Office.