You’ll see many of these terms as you choose a college. The definitions may vary slightly.
For glossary terms in Spanish, please visit the Glosario page.
Your academic advisor provides support and counsel on which classes to take and when to take them.
Accreditation signals that a school adheres to certain educational standards set by state, federal and non-government agencies.
An associate degree requires two years of full-time study and is commonly offered by community colleges and vocational schools. You can also earn an associate degree at a four-year institution.
A type of online education, asynchronous learning allows students to watch lectures and complete assignments on their own time rather than having to attend classes on a specific schedule.
A bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate academic degree that usually requires four years of full-time study to complete.
Used by thousands of colleges around the country, the Common App allows students to apply to multiple schools by filling out one document rather than completing several applications.
Two-year colleges are also known as junior colleges. You can either transfer your courses to a four-year university or receive an associate degree in a certain field.
Within a degree program, core requirements refer to the classes that students must pass in order to graduate. Electives typically complement core classes.
Numbers assigned to specific courses.
Credit given for attending one lecture hour of class each week. Most college classes are three credit hours, meaning their total meeting time for a week is three hours.
A specific list of required courses and electives to be completed for a degree.
A program of study that allows a student to complete the course requirement for two majors at the same time.
In addition to tuition, students are charged fees for services such as facilities usage, technology and parking.
To qualify as a first-generation college student, you must be the first individual in your immediate family to pursue higher education. These students often qualify for additional financial aid.
A student in their first year of study at a college or university.
A full-time student must take a minimum number of credits per semester. At the undergraduate level, most schools require at least 12 credits to qualify.
Grade point average: the average of your class grades, generally based on a 4.0 scale.
A half-time student takes a minimum of six credits per semester at the undergraduate level.
Public colleges and universities allow students who reside in the same state as the institution to pay in-state tuition, a lower amount than what nonresidents pay. Most schools require that the students have lived in the state at least a year prior to enrollment.
Internships give students the opportunity to gain relevant hands-on work experience before graduating. Most internships offer college credit.
A student in their third year of study in a bachelor’s degree program.
A student’s chosen area of study, such as accounting or history.
Merit-based aid supports students who demonstrate academic and or/personal excellence but may or may not have limited finances.
A student’s secondary field of study.
Students attending a college outside of their home state.
Classes held online instead of in a traditional classroom.
Students attending public colleges or universities outside their home state typically pay out-of-state tuition, which is higher than in-state tuition.
A course that must be taken prior to enrolling in another course.
A non-state-assisted college or university that relies on private funding, tuition and fees.
A college or university that receives funding from the state, lowering costs students pay.
The college or university official responsible for registering students and keeping their academic records, such as transcripts
The process of enrolling in courses every semester.
A student who meets state residency requirements.
Rather than waiting for all applications to arrive before making admission decisions, rolling admissions allows a university to evaluate applications as they come in and send out acceptance letters as they are accepted.
A student in their fourth and final year of undergraduate study.
A student in their second year of undergraduate study.
Colleges often use student portals as a place to review assignments, check grades, register for classes and request documentation like official transcripts.
Classes offered during the summer that vary from six to ten weeks.
Costs for courses, not including certain fees.
A student at a college or university who has not yet earned a bachelor’s degree.
If a school neither approves nor rejects your application in the first round, you will be placed on a waitlist. Depending on the number of students who accept offers of admission, you may still be admitted at a later date.