Academic Advisor
Need help choosing your courses or determining what the course requirements are for your major? Your academic advisor is there to assist you to make sure you’re meeting your degree requirements.

If you’re interested in the subject and want to take a class, you can do so without the pressure of a grade. With the approval of the instructor, you can audit the class and enjoy the content without worrying about how it might affect your GPA. Just remember, you can’t ask for course credit later just because it turns out to be easy!

Class Standing
The credits you take, not the amount of time you’ve spent at a college dictates your class standing. For example, you may be in your third year but unless you’ve earned 60-89 credits, you may still be considered a sophomore.
Course Prefixes and Numbers
Take a look at a college course catalog and see if you can crack the code. Courses are identified by a prefix of letters that is an abbreviation for a subject—e.g., BIO for biology. The prefix is combined with a three- or four-digit number, such as BIO 100, CALC 121 or PS 220. The first digit indicates the class year in which the course is usually taken. The other two digits identify the subject field.

Credit Hours
College courses are measured in credit hours, usually ranging in one to four hour increments per week for the semester. Most students carry 15 credits per semester, which is often referred to as a “Full Load”.  In order to graduate with a Bachelors degree, most colleges require the completion of 120 credits or more that include specific coursework in a major area.


Curriculum is the set of courses, and their content, offered at collegel or university. Within the curriculum, students will need to take core requirements, major requirements and electives.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
A very important term to know - this standard application for financial aid includes grants, loans and work-study. It’s usually required for scholarships as well. Pay close attention to the deadlines for this and make sure you’ve filed it in time to qualify. 

Most undergraduate degrees require a number of these courses, which include literature, arts, history, languages, literature, religion and philosophy.

Intramural Sports
Most colleges offer a variety of intramural teams in which anyone can play. These teams compete in intramural leagues, and playoff tournaments award prizes to the champions. There are also club sports, which play full schedules against fellow club squads from other institutions and include competition at both the regional and national level should they qualify.

Liberal Arts
Many private colleges are referred to as liberal arts, which encompasses the humanities (the arts, philosophy and literature), history, foreign languages, math, natural and social sciences.  A liberal arts program is ideal for students who want to explore their options before selecting a career. 

Meal Plans
A pre-paid college dining plan that allows students, both residents and commuters, to pick the number of meals that best suit their needs. 

Natural Sciences
Natural sciences refers to a rational approach to the study of the universe and includes biology, chemistry, environmental science, neuroscience. There is also the applied sciences, such as mathematics, computer science and statistics, that provide many tools and frameworks used within the natural sciences.

The registrar is the office at a college or university that sets the rules about athletic eligibility, honor roll, degree requirements for graduation... and is the official keeper of your academic records.

Resident Advisor/Assistant (RA)
Each residence hall has an upper class student who lives on the floor with younger students to provide support, guidance and comfort.  

Social Sciences
Social sciences study the human aspects of the world, including psychology, geography, economics, history, anthropology, political science…

A professor’s outline of the class highlighting assignments, test dates, policies and textbooks. It is usually handed out on the first day of class and is a guideline of what is needed in order to obtain a good grade in the course.

As part of your financial aid package, students may receive work-study aid that allows them to work, often on campus, for a certain number of hours per semester.