1 Associate's Degree: Associate of Arts degree; often a two-year program. Associate's degrees include AA (Associate of Arts), AS (Associate of Science) and AAS (Associate of Applied Science) degrees. ACT: American College Test. This test is designed to measure skills in English, math, reading and science. Many colleges require ACT scores as part of their application process. Most students take this test in their junior or senior year. Academic Advisor: A person at a college or university who gives students advice on choosing classes and programs. Articulation Agreement: An agreement between universities and community colleges that specifies which courses will be accepted in transfer to meet university degree plan requirements. Bachelor's Degree: Also called a baccalaureate or sometimes an undergraduate degree. Most often a four-year degree, although some students complete a bachelor's degree in three years, while others take five or six years. Buckley Amendment Waiver: designed to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their education records, prevents release of educational records--even to parents Class Size: The maximum number of students allowed to take a specific class. Class sizes can range from twenty-five students to three hundred or more. College Catalog: The publication listing the programs, classes and requirements of a college or university. Typically, the catalog is available as a book or online. College Core: A required set of courses that most all college students take, regardless of major. All colleges have a standard set of core courses. Typical core classes include English Composition, algebra, history, biology, sociology, psychology, and art or music appreciation. Community College: Community colleges typically award certificates, diplomas or associate's degrees. Community colleges have university transfer programs in which students complete the first two years of a four-year degree program, then transfer to a university for the last two years. Most community college programs are two years or less in duration. Co-op: A co-op program lets a student combine academic learning with paid, hands-on work experience. Co-op programs typically combine periods of attending classes with periods of working in a job related to the student's field of study. Cost of Attendance: The estimate of how much attending a college or university will cost for one year. Cost of Attendance includes tuition, room & board, books, and additional living expenses. The typical cost of attendance for a year at Mississippi s public universities is around $20,000. Course Codes and Numbering: Course numbering is essentially the code the college associates with a specific course. Mississippi s Community Colleges have a uniform course code and numbering system. This means that all community colleges identify the same courses with the same codes. This is not true in the university system. Each university has its own unique set of codes. Community colleges have a three-letter department code followed by a four-digit course identification number. ENG 1113 is English Composition I at all of Mississippi s Community Colleges. University codesa for the same course vary. English Composition I at USM is listed as EN101. At Mississippi State, it is EN1103. The first digit of the course number indicates the year that the course is typically taken. A one (1) indicates a freshman course. A two (2) is usually a sophomore course; three (3), a junior, and four (4), a senior. Courses beginning with a 3 or 4 are usually specific to a student s major. Because
2 community colleges offer only the first two years of a four year academic degree, you will not see courses beginning with a 3 or 4 at the community college level. Course Delivery: Colleges now offer courses in a wide variety of settings. Traditional courses meet a specified amount of time on certain dates and times. Hybrid courses typically meet in the classroom for half of the required time and online the other half. This could mean one meeting per week with the instructor in the classroom and another assignment online. Online courses are taught strictly via computer. Online courses allow students the flexibility of logging in when and where they want. Most do have specific times and dates that assignments are due. Online classes typically require at least one test that is supervised on site by a college proctor. This test usually counts a minimum of 25 percent of the student s grade. Degree: An academic award that recognizes a student has completed a program of study from a school. Degree Plan: A set of courses that must be completed to obtain a specific degree. Most degree plans fall within hours. For a bachelor s degree the first two years are typically core college courses. The last two years are specialized in the student s major. Developmental Courses: Placement in developmental courses is often based on ACT subscores. These courses are designed to prepare students for college level work. They do not count toward graduation. Electives: Classes which aren't necessary for a student's major, often in another area they're interested in. The credits for electives will usually still apply to the total credits needed for a degree. The amount of electives accepted will vary by major. Expected Family Contribution (EFC): Financial aid applications may ask questions about a student's family's earnings, savings and assets. These numbers help calculate the Expected Family Contribution, which is the amount the student's family is expected to pay. Fees: Fees are charged for a variety of reasons. They are not covered in tuition. Fees are sometimes charged for submitting admissions, scholarships, and housing applications. Some colleges charge fees for schedule changes or course requirements. Financial Aid Administrator (FAA): A college or university employee who is involved in the administration of financial aid, also known as financial aid advisors, officers or counselors. Financial Aid: Money that helps a student pay for college. Financial aid can include scholarships, grants, and loans. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The first step for financial aid. In order to receive federal financial aid for education, a student must fill out a FAFSA. The FAFSA is processed for free. FAFSA should be the first step in every student s financial aid process. You can apply for a PIN number beginning in November through Grade Point Average (GPA): A student's average grade for the classes they've taken. GPA is figured by calculating an average of grades, using 4 for an A, 3 for B, 2 for a C, 1 for a D and 0 for an F. Graduate Assistant: Graduate assistants are students who are paid to teach classes for a university while working on an advanced degree. Graduate assistants typically teach freshmen and sophomore core classes. Graduate Studies: Programs for which a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite (a student must have a bachelor's degree already).
3 Grant: Money provided to help fund a student s college education. Grants do not have to be repaid. Hours: Colleges do not use credits to calculate classification or course load. Instead, they use the term hours. Hours are the equivalent to the number of hours a course meets each week. A three hour course meets three hours each week. Most academic courses are three hours. Courses such as labs, orientations, and fitness are usually one hour courses. At most colleges to be considered a full-time student, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of twelve semester hours (4 courses). The number required for full-time status can vary from college to college. Most full four-year degree plans require around semester hours. Internship: An internship provides supervised work experience in an area relevant to a student's career goals. An internship can be either paid or unpaid. Law School Admission Test (LSAT): The LSAT is required for admission to most law schools. Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): The MCAT is required for admission to most medical schools. Master's Degree: A degree following a bachelor's degree. A master's degree often takes two years, but it is sometimes possible to complete in one year; many people take longer than two years. Major: The field of study a student focuses on for his or her degree. Many people choose their major before starting college, but others wait until the end of first or second year. Statistics show that the majority of students change their majors at least once in their college careers. Midterms: Tests that are given in the middle of a school term to monitor a student's progress. Minor: A program of study requiring fewer courses than a major. A minor usually requires 18 to 21 hours (six/seven courses) in a specific field. Mississippi Eminent Scholars: Awarded to Mississippi students who have a composite of 29 or higher on the ACT. The Eminent Scholars Grant is typically 2500 per year. Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG): Awards financial aid to Mississippi students who receive less than a full federal Pell Grant. Students must have a 2.5 GPA and at least a 15 on the ACT. The grant is renewable each year and pays 500 for the first two years of college and 1,000 for the second two. Open Admissions: A school with an open admissions policy will admit almost all high school grads without taking grades or testing scores into account. They will also admit most students who have passed their GED. PhD: A graduate degree, often following a master's degree. These degrees typically take at least three years. Pell Grant: Money provided to the student by the Federal Government. Pell grants do not have to be paid back. The amount of money a student receives is based on FAFSA results. The current
4 maximum amount for one year is 5,750. The maximum amount awarded does not change, regardless of the costs associated with the college the student has decided to attend. Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT): The PSAT is usually taken in 10th or 11th grade and is part of a student's preparation for the SAT. It is also one of the requirements for the National Merit Scholarship program. PLUS Loans: Federal loans taken out by parents to borrow money for their college-bound student's education. Prerequisite: A course that must be successfully completed before registering in another class. College Algebra and trig are sometimes prerequisites for Calculus--depending on the student s ACT score. Refund: The amount of money that is refunded to a student once all tuition and fees have been paid. For example, if a student is awarded multiple scholarships and/or grant money that more than covers the cost incurred during the semester, that student will be refunded the amount remaining. Not all colleges refund cash for overages in scholarship amounts. Scholarship: Money offered to the student by the college. Colleges typically offer academic scholarships, leadership scholarships, competitive scholarships, and endowed scholarships. First Semester Freshman: Many academic and leadership scholarships are available only to first semester freshmen. What this means is that the student must enroll in the institution for the fall semester following high school graduation. Stacking Scholarships: Some students qualify for and are awarded scholarships in multiple areas. This is referred to as stacking. Some colleges do have a limit on how many scholarships a student can accept. Just because a student may be qualified for multiple scholarships does not mean that he or she will actually receive all of them. Scholarship Awards: This refers to how scholarship money is credited. Most scholarship are listed as a total amount for length of attendance but are not awarded in one lump sum. For instance, a $10,000 scholarship to a university would be awarded over eight semesters at $1,250 per semester. Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT): A test of mathematical, critical reading and writing skills that students take in their junior or senior year. Many colleges require SAT scores as part of their application process. Semester: A block of time indicating an academic session. Stafford Loans: Student loans from the federal government. Student Aid Report (SAR): A report that summarizes financial and other information reported on the FAFSA. The SAR is sent to students by the federal government. The student's financial aid need or eligibility is indicated by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is printed on the document. Student Loan: Money loaned to a student and their parents to pay for the student's education. This money has to be paid back, although usually not until the student finishes school. Syllabus: The program and requirements for a certain class. Transcript: A record of the classes a student has taken and their grades in those classes. Should you leave one school to attend another, you will need to send a transcript to the new institution.
5 Transfer: Leaving one college to attend another Transfer Credit: Using hours from one college to complete the degree at another. Most colleges accept hours of transfer credit from a community college or university. Tuition: The amount of money a student has to pay for classes. University: An educational institution which awards a range of academic degrees, including bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees. Most programs at a university require at least four years of study. University Transfer Programs: Programs in which students complete the first two years of a four-year degree program, then transfer to a university for the last two years. Vocational School: A school with programs that prepare students for specific careers, trades or vocations. Withdraw: Students may withdraw from individual classes or from school in general. Withdrawing from a course does not result in a final grade; however, the course will be listed on the student s permanent transcript as a withdrawal. Withdrawing from multiple courses can jeopardize scholarships and financial aid. Work-Study Programs: Programs that provide students with part-time jobs during the school year as part of their financial aid package. The jobs are often at the student's school.
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