Glossary of College Terms

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1 Glossary of College Terms Academic Advisor: Member of student services who helps and advises students on what classes to take, what major to pursue, etc. He or she also assists students during the registration process. An advisor is similar to a high school guidance counselor. Add/Drop: The procedure by which you may change your class schedule by dropping or adding a course without penalty after initial enrollment. Advanced Placement: Some institutions accept AP test results, taken by high school juniors and seniors, for college credit. Policies vary from college to college. Alumni: People who have graduated from a school. Articulation Agreement: A transfer plan by a four-year institution detailing what credits need to be taken at STCC and what need to be taken at said institution. Associate Degree: A two-year degree from a community or junior college. Bachelor s Degree: A four-year degree from a college, university or professional school; usually requires at least 120 credit hours, also called a baccalaureate degree. Blackboard: Software used to administer online courses. Certificates: College certificates are generally credit hours (about classes) and concentrate on specific skills with few general education courses. Challenge Exam: STCC may award up to 45 credits to individuals who successfully complete examinations in specific subject areas given through the College Level Examination Program, or a series of challenge exams developed by the College. Credits earned through CLEP may allow the College to waive introductory courses. Only students enrolled in an STCC degree or certificate program may receive CLEP or Challenge credits. Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield (CCGS): STCC is a participating member of this eight-college consortium, including American International College, Bay Path College, Elms College, Holyoke Community College, Springfield College, Western New England College, and Westfield State College. Through cooperative planning at the presidential level and committees at different administrative levels, CCGS provides numerous benefits to students and the Greater Springfield community. Co-requisite: A class that must be taken at the same time as another class because of the relationship of materials. Core Course Requirements: Courses required for completion of certificate or degree that are specific to the program of study. Course: Another name for class.

2 Course Load: The number of credit hours you take during a semester. Course Number: Numbers assigned to courses to show the level of their difficulty or depth/breadth of study. 100-level courses are less difficult or broader in scope than 200- level courses. Course Section: The same course is offered at a variety of times, and each has its own section number (i.e. English Composition I, course that meets on Wednesday at 8:30am will be listed as "ENGL-100 D02" (D02 is the section number). Credit Hours: The amount of credit you receive for completing a specific course. For a semester, three hours of credit for one college class is common. Curriculum: A set of courses required to complete a particular program. Cumulative GPA: Your overall GPA earned over your entire time at STCC. Dean's List: Any full-time matriculating student carrying 12 college level credits or more within the semester and who earns a 3.3 quality point average is placed on the Dean's List provided that no grade is less than a "C" (2.0) or an Incomplete grade in that semester. Declare a Major: Officially tell the college your area of study. Degree: After finishing a program of study at a college, students receive an academic title, for example, an Associates of Arts degree. Department: A specific area of study in a larger college or school. For example, French is a department in the School of Arts and Sciences. Discipline: A field of study. See Major. Doctoral Degree: The highest university degree, also called a doctorate or doctor of philosophy (Ph. D.). Physicians receive a Medical Doctorate. (M. D.), while lawyers receive a Juris Doctorate (J. D.) Double Major: Meet requirements for two majors. See Major. Dual Enrollment (College Now): Option for eligible high school seniors to enroll in one STCC credit course each semester free of charge in addition to enrollment in high school classes. STCC will waive tuition and fees Electives: In some degrees you can choose from a list of course options to fulfill your requirements. This allows you to choose the courses that interest you the most.

3 Education Plan: Tool used in WebAdvisor to map out courses in which student will enroll, based on assessment, goals, requirements, and recommendations by an advisor. ESL: "English as a Second Language courses in writing, reading, grammar, and conversation are offered at STCC for non-native speakers of English who are already partly bilingual. Extracurricular Activities: Activities that occur outside the classroom. Faculty: The teachers, professors, and instructors who teach at schools. Faculty Advisor: Instructor in specific major who can assist student in developing an educational plan for courses in that major and answer questions about jobs in the field. FAFSA: This Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a federal form that must be completed over the Internet. It must be renewed each year. STCC staff is happy to assist with this process. Fee: Money charged for services provided to a student. Fees are often charged for lab materials and recreational facilities. FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 provides: Protection of a student s right to privacy of information that STCC has in its possession concerning the student; and, a guideline for release or disclosure of information as is required by federal and state law. Finals Week: A period of time at the end of the semester when classes do not meet and final tests are given. Financial Assistance or Aid: Federal, state, college, and private programs which help students pay for college costs. Financial aid can be in the form of grants and scholarships, loans, or work-study programs. Financial Aid Counselor: A college staff member who helps students and parents fill out financial aid forms and processes grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study money. Financial Aid Form (FAF): A supplement application required by some schools for school-based aid. Must be completed and mailed to the College Scholarship Service. Deadline is same as for the FAFSA. Four-year College: School offering bachelor s degrees, which usually are earned in four years. Fresh Start Status: A student who is returning to STCC after at least two years away from the College may apply for a fresh start status in order to begin a new quality point average.

4 Full-Time Student: A student who carries a minimum number of credits or hours to be considered full-time by a college. The number of credits considered to be a full-time load can vary from college to college, but is usually 12 to 15 credit hours. General Education Requirements: Many schools require students to take a variety of classes in different academic areas. For example, they may require a certain number of courses in science, foreign language, and math. Gift Aid: Financial aid which is not repaid, such as grants and scholarships. Grade Point Average (GPA): The average of your class grades, generally based on a 4.0 scale. Grant: Financial aid based on student need that does not require repayment. Humanities: The branches of learning concerned with human thought and relations, especially literature, philosophy, fine arts, and history. Hold: Any registration hold is any restriction that prevents registration. Honors Status: Recognition received when 12 or more letter-graded credits have been completed in one semester with a 3.0 or better GPA. Hybrid Courses: A class in which a part of the class is conducted online while also meeting regularly in a classroom at the College. Incomplete (I): Grade received if student has not completed a course because of illness or other sufficient reason. All coursework must be completed within 30 days of the following semester start. Independent Study: Studying a subject for credit but not in an organized class. This can involve distance education courses, video or computer instruction, or meetings between the student and instructor. In-State Student: An in-state student is defined as an American citizen or a permanent resident alien who has resided in Massachusetts, for purposes other than attending an educational institution, for at least six months immediately preceding the student's entry or re-entry as a student. Interdisciplinary: Programs or courses using knowledge from two or more academic areas, such as psychology and anatomy. Internship: Class credit given to students who work at jobs on or off campus. The jobs give them practical experience in their majors.

5 Joint Admission: STCC participates in the Joint Admission program with the Massachusetts public colleges and universities. This program guarantees participating students admission to the Massachusetts public institution of their choice, provided they graduate from an approved major at STCC with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher. Liberal Arts: A school or course of study which focuses on developing students general knowledge and reasoning instead of a specific career; the result is often considered to be a well-rounded, general education in the arts and sciences. Loans: Financial assistance that must be repaid. Major: A student s concentrated field of study. Subject areas such as Early Childhood, Nursing, or Accounting in which students take many classes; an area of interest in which students earn a degree. MassTransfer: Program designed to streamline the transfer process for community college students who wish to complete designated associate degree programs and to continue their education at a Massachusetts state college or university. Master s Degree: An advanced college degree earned after a bachelor s degree, usually taking two years to complete. Minor: A student s secondary field of study. Nonresident: Any STCC student who lives outside of Massachusetts. Non-Transferable Course does not transfer to 4-year colleges. Online Courses: Classes held on the Internet instead of in a traditional classroom, also called distance learning courses. Part-Time Student: Anyone taking 11 credit hours or less during the fall and spring semesters or five credit hours or less during the summer semester. Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society: The Alpha Psi Sigma chapter of the international honor society for two-year colleges offers membership to any student who has earned 18 graduation credits with a quality point average of 3.5. Placement Test: An assessment used to test a student s academic ability so that he or she may be placed in the appropriate courses. Prerequisite: A course that must be taken prior to enrollment in another course. Priority Registration: Period of time designated for currently enrolled students to register for classes.

6 Private School: A college or school which is not supported by a state. Some privates schools in Massachusetts have a religion affiliation or are single sex schools. Program of study: The degree or certificate you are working toward is your program of study. Public School: Schools supported by the state to pay part of its operation costs. Quality Point Average (QPA): The average of your class grades, generally based on a 4.0 scale. Registration: Period of time designated for enrollment in classes for a specific semester. Requirements: A set of conditions that must be met in order to do something, such as be accepted to a college, complete a degree, etc. Scholarships: Financial assistance based on merit that does not require repayment. Semester: Calendar system used by some schools. Classes and grade reports are divided into two periods, each lasting about 15 weeks. The 16th week is devoted to final exams. Standardized Admissions Tests (SAT I, ACT, etc.): These tests are designed to measure verbal and mathematical knowledge or skills and are used to predict achievement in college. The test score may be considered along with other factors for admission to the college. Summer Session: Short-term session in June and July in which semester-length courses are offered in an intensive period, usually 6 weeks. Transferable Course: Course accepted for credit at a 4-year college. Transfer Student: A student who changes from one school to another. Grades and credits from the first school may or may not be counted at the second. Schools may not accept ALL the credits earned at another school. Syllabus: An outline of topics to be covered in an academic course. Transfer Programs: Curriculum that can be applied toward bachelor's degree programs at four-year colleges and universities. Transcript: A student s legal and historical record of courses completed and attempted, along with all grades. Tuition: Costs for courses, not including fees.

7 Tutor: Tutors are experienced adults or students who help others study a specific subject. Some schools provide free tutors. At others, students pay for tutors. Undergraduate: Student working toward a bachelor s degree. University: A Postsecondary institution which has several colleges or schools, grants graduate degrees, and may have research facilities. Vocational/Technical: A school or college where students get hands-on training in a specific career area. These colleges usually offer two-year and shorter programs. Waiver: A requirement which is not enforced, such as class waiver or fee waiver. WebAdvisor: An online service for students, faculty and staff. Students use WebAdvisor to view grades, class schedules, and financial information; online transactions for students include course registration, schedule changes, bill payment, and address changes. Web-Assisted Courses: A class in which certain components and activities of the class will only be available online. Winter Session: A three-week session held between the fall and spring semesters designed to help students stay on track for graduation. (Winter Session courses not offered at STCC) Withdrawal: The process of discontinuing enrollment in a course or courses. A grade of "W" is recorded on the student transcript. No refund of tuition is given. A withdrawal will not affect your GPA (grade point average). Work-study program: A federal financial aid program that allows students to work on campus.

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