College Term Glossary

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Accommodation: 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. 

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 on your student portal (student webpage). If not, there is typically a team of academic advisors that are available for appointments and walk-ins. Advisors can help you map out your classes for each semester to avoid graduating late as well as explore your options for a major, minor or certificate.

Admission: Refers to the official acceptance of a student into a college or university. Students are informed of their admission by email, post, or via their online portal.

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 confirm which style is preferred by the instructor for your projects.

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 to meet 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 (ex. 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 last page of the document. A bibliography is customary or even required in academic writing to grant legitimacy to each other’s writing. Bibliographies often require writing styles such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

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: Offered activities which can include intramural (non-competitive) sports teams, group fitness classes, swimming lessons and SCUBA certifications, personal training, outdoor adventure trips (kayaking, hiking, etc.), and more.

Career Center: A campus resource that offers professionalization services to students. These might include resume writing, job application tutorials, internship matching, helping students discover career pathways, and much more.

Capital Improvement Fee: Colleges and universities often charge students a capital improvement fee to promote campus development. 

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. 

CLEP (College-Level Examination Program): Offered by the College Board, CLEP 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: Supervised sessions outside of lecture meetings for students to participate in real-world healthcare scenarios (i.e. nursing school).

College Completion Coach: A post-secondary resource specialist 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 currently four College Completion Coaches; each covering a specific region of the state. 

Community Closet OR 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: 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. 

Degree: A degree program differs from certificates and diploma programs in that it often requires the student to take general education courses to support a more well-rounded education. There are different levels of academic degrees: the Associate (2 years), the Bachelor’s (four years), the Master’s (2-3 years beyond Bachelor’s depending on the program), and the Doctoral (usually 5-7 years, may or may not require a Masters degree be completed first).

Degree Audit: A list featuring all the requirements for your degree. An audit might list the minimum number of hours required, core requirements, minor requirements, the number of general education courses, and advanced class requirements. These are useful tools in tracking your progress through college.

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 Teaching Assistants 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. 

Entrance Counseling: You must undergo entrance counseling to receive federal student loans to be sure you understand your rights and responsibilities as a federal student loan borrower. 

Entrance Exam: Standardized tests required for admission into a college or university program. For undergraduate study, the typical entrance exams are the SAT and the ACT. For graduate program entrance exams see also: GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT

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. 

Fellowship: Funding given for research or academic development. 

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 Offices: This office helps you with accessing resources that remove barriers to college success and connecting with other first-generation students for support and leadership. 

First-Generation Student: Students whose parents did not complete college or university programs. More nuanced descriptions imply that first-generation students are those who may be lacking cultural capital that is critical to college success. 

Florida Prepaid Survey: To keep your Florida Prepaid Account active, you need to fill out a survey every year. To complete 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. 

Full-time Student: At most institutions of higher learning, a student goes to school full time if they take 12 credit hours (4 classes). 

GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test): Most MBA programs require their applicants to complete the GMAT.

Graduate Student: Current university student pursuing a degree program after the Bachelor’s level. These include Master’s programs and Doctorate 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.

Grant: Similar to scholarships, grants are an allotment of money awarded, but they are not necessarily for academic purposes. Usually, grants require a proven need for funding.

GRE (Graduate Record Exam): Also known as the “General GRE”, this standardized admissions test is required by most graduate school programs. The GRE contains three sections: two written essays (multiple-choice verbal) and multiple-choice mathematics. This is a timed and paid exam.

GRE Subject Test: A series of multiple-choice standardized exams 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 and paid tests.

Housing: Many colleges and universities offer student living opportunities. Typically these are dorms, but may also include apartments, Living Learning Communities (LLC), cooperative houses, and even fraternities and sororities often have rooms available.  

Instructor: 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 a 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 one week and as long as 12 months. 

Lab: 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 you will write a lab report.

Lecture(s): 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): A group of students living on the same floor of a residence hall on based on 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): This exam is to specifically examine the skills needed for success in law school. This is a timed and paid exam that is required in a law school application. 

Major: The area of study a student will specialize in. About half of the classes you will take will be classes to develop your learning in this area. Each major program has its own requirements for a student to finish the program. For instance, literature majors are typically required to take one Shakespeare class, and biology majors have to take Organic Chemistry 1 and 2 in order to graduate. It is typically possible to have two majors or to design your own major. 

MBA (Master of Business Administration): A common graduate degree for those seeking to distinguish themselves in the business field. It is also commonly referred to as “Business School”.

MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test): The multiple-choice standardized test required by most medical schools. This is a timed and 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.

Mid-term(s): Tests given at the midpoint in a semester. Usually cumulative tests covering everything prior, these often make up a large percentage of your grade.

Minor: A set of courses that a student takes to complement or enhance the value of his or her major.

Multicultural Affairs: These offices work across campuses to support intercultural dialogue, awareness, advocacy, and respect for diversity. They provide bystander intervention training, zone training, ally training, etc. 

Office Hours: The times that your professors and instructors are required to be available to you outside of class. The days, times and locations are usually listed on the syllabus given to you during the first week of class. Go to your professor’s office hours if you are having trouble understanding the material, if you are looking for feedback on an important paper or just dropping by to be friendly with them. Professors and instructors appreciate genuine, positive feedback on their lectures and for people to 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, in-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 and costs more than in-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 (sticker).

Part-time Student: A student can attend school part-time or full time. Part-time students usually take fewer than 12 credit hours or 4 classes per semester. Part-time students have to pay per credit.

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 required courses or pre-reqs. For instance, 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 before 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: Part-time employees (often graduate students) paid to assist the tenure-track professor staff with performing 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 the essay’s topic. Voices from the field of study illustrate how informed you are 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 in their hall.

Scantron: An examination form that teachers often require students to use while answering multiple-choice tests. These “fill-in-the-bubble” style responses save instructors time, as they are graded by machine.

Scholarly Resource: Credible materials that have been written by experts in their 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” web addresses instead. Your campus library is your touchpoint for scholarly resources.

Scholarship: A grant made to support a student’s education costs. These are usually awarded due to academic achievement, on the basis of financial need, or to promote diversity in a given field. 

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, this space is 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 Abroad: Many colleges and universities offer opportunities for their students to take a course or semester of courses in a different country. 

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 led by a Teacher’s Assistant. 

Syllabus: Every college course has a syllabus which outlines the subjects of studies for the semester. Usually the syllabus outlines the course objectives, policies, grade breakdown required texts, test dates, and assignment calendar. 

Take Stock Connect: 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, learn about Take Stock events happening on their campus, and have access to 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.

Take Stock Project STARS Scholarship: The scholarship you receive from your local Take Stock program that was purchased from Florida Prepaid with you as the beneficiary.

Teacher’s Assistants (TAs): 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. TAs 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 due to legal cause.

Term(s): A generic word that is used in educational institutions to describe the duration of an academic calendar. It is often used interchangeably with “semester”.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): This exam is often taken by students aspiring to demonstrate their English language proficiency at the university level. This exam is typically used instead of the SAT/ACT exams by students for whom English is their second language. 

TRiO (The Federal TRiO Programs): Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Services may vary at each institution, but their offerings include specialized tutoring, financial aid and academic advising, and other opportunities for academic development.

Tuition: The cost 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: At universities, this cost 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.

Tuition Reimbursement: A type of financial aid usually provided by an employer. Here, an employer pays tuition costs for a certain amount of credit hours per semester. Occasionally, this benefit may be extended to family members as well. Check with your employer to see if they offer tuition reimbursement, and to find out what the rules and regulations are.

Undergraduate Student: Freshman to Senior level students working toward their Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree.

Work-Study: A federal 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 program, indicate this on your FAFSA form and visit your campus Financial Aid Office.