Your Cheat Sheet to College Lingo

Don’t understand any of the college lingo your student is using? This list of terms will have you up to speed in no time.

ACADEMIC NOTICE: students with fewer than 30 credit hours, with a retention
GPA of 1.7 to 1.99

ACADEMIC PROBATION: students with more than 29 credit hours, with a
retention GPA lower than 2.00

ACADEMIC SUSPENSION: students on academic probation who do not achieve a
term GPA of 2.00; must sit out one semester

ACADEMIC YEAR: August through July

ADD/DROP PERIOD: period of time at the beginning of each semester when students can add or drop courses without financial or academic repercussions

ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR: part-time instructor

ADVISOR: university official who assists students in choosing appropriate coursework

ASSOCIATE DEGREE: typically requires 60-65 hours of courses to complete

ATTENDANCE: The Department of Education requires colleges and Universities to verify for all federal  financial aid recipients; including online classes; Professors must report attendance.

AUDIT: taking a course for no credit

BACHELOR DEGREE: typically requires 120-130 hours of courses to complete

BLUE BOOK: literally a blue book containing writing paper; used for essay tests

BULLETIN: university online publication, produced each academic year, that details policies, degree requirements, and course descriptions

CLOSED CLASS: the limit on the number of students allowed in a specific course has been reached

COLLEGE: contains and administers several academic departments; for example, the College of Business and Technology, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Mathematics, Science, and Health Science

COMPLETE WITHDRAWAL: withdrawing from every course in a particular semester

COMPREHENSIVE TEST: tests topics covered throughout the entire course

COURSE NUMBER: identifies the course with an abbreviation of the department and a number (ex. BIOL 1114)

CREDIT HOUR: typically referred to as an “hour”; the equivalent of one hour of class per week in a regular 16-week course

CUMULATIVE GPA: includes grades from every undergraduate course ever taken

DEAN: each college has one who is in charge

DEFICIENCY: area of academics in which students are not proficient to the college level and must enroll in zero-level courses

DEGREE CHECK/AUDIT: prior to graduation, this is completed to make sure students have completed all requirements

DEPARTMENT: contained within a college, offers academic programs; for example Business Department, Visual Arts Department, and Biology Department

DEPARTMENT HEAD: every department has one who is in charge

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid; required for students wishing to obtain financial aid

FALL SEMESTER: August through December

FEDERAL LOANS: loans awarded by the government; must be paid back

FEES: required financial charges placed on student accounts upon enrollment in courses

FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records

FINALS: last week of each semester, in which every course has a final test

FULL-TIME STUDENT: enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours per Fall or Spring, or 6 hours in Summer

GENERAL EDUCATION: courses every student is required to take, regardless of major; English, math, science, history, etc.

GPA: short for Grade Point Average; measure of student’s academic achievement; calculated by dividing total number of grade points received by total number of hours attempted

GRADUATE STUDENT: a student with a Bachelor’s degree from a University who is studying or doing research at a more advanced level

GRANTS: financial aid awarded by the government; do not have to be paid back

HILLCAT CARD: student ID card which can serve as a debit card in specific areas on campus

HONOR ROLL: for fall or spring semester, students who complete at least 12 hour and earn at least a 3.5 GPA with no grade lower than a “B” will be placed on the President’s or Dean’s honor roll, depending on specific GPAs

INTERSESSION COURSE: compacted course that meets the two weeks after a semester, but is the equivalent of taking it for one full semester

M,T,W,R,F: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

MAJOR: primary course of study a student wishes to pursue

MINOR: secondary course of study a student wishes to pursue

MyRSU: online student portal used for enrollment and other services

PART-TIME STUDENT: student who is enrolled in fewer than 12 credit hours in a fall or spring semester, or fewer than 6 hours in summer

PLAGIARISM: using another’s work, whether directly quoted or summarized, without giving credit to the author; results in serious consequences

PRE-REQUISITE: sometimes referred to as a “pre-req”; course that must be taken prior to enrolling in another course (ex. College algebra is a pre-requisite for calculus)

REGISTRAR: university official who maintains academic records for all students

RESIDENT ADVISORS (RAs): students who work for the Residential Life department and are responsible for a specific group of student apartments

RETENTION/GRADUATION GPA: used to determine students’ eligibility to remain enrolled or graduate; activity courses and forgiven course work (course that has been repeated) are not calculated in this

SCANTRON: used for multiple choice testing; has bubbles to be filled in with pencil

SCHEDULE: list of courses student is enrolled in, along with times, days, instructors, and locations

SCHOLARSHIPS: financial assistance awarded based on academics or other criteria; do not have to be paid back

SCHOOL: contains and administers several academic departments; for example, the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Professional Studies

SECTION NUMBER: identifies specific class (time, day, instructor) within a course (ex. General Biology may have section numbers of 001, 002, 003, etc)

SEMESTER: portion of the academic year; fall and spring are 16 weeks, summer is 8 weeks

STUDENT EMAIL: professors and RSU offices will contact you at this email [email protected]

STUDENT ID: a nine-digit number; you will need this number for the following: accessing your online account, contacting an office at RSU, contacting professors, and emailing

SPRING SEMESTER: January through May

SUMMER SEMESTER: June through July

SYLLABUS: outline of what is expected in each class; given to student by instructor on first day of class

TERM GPA: GPA for each individual semester

TRANSCRIPT: official academic record of every course student has taken, along with grades and GPA

TUITION: charges for classes applied to student account upon enrollment

UNDERGRADUATE: student who has not yet earned a Bachelor’s degree

UNIV 1152: The University Experience course focuses on transitioning you into university life and learning about our community and culture. It introduces students to resources and expectations, skills necessary for student success including study skills, effective communication, and initial steps in career

WITHDRAW: after the add/drop period; student receives a “W” on transcript; “W”s have no effect on a GPA; payment is still required

WORK-STUDY: eligibility determined by FAFSA results; student is employed on campus

ZERO-LEVEL COURSE: remedial course that a student with a deficiency is required to pass with a “C” or better before moving on to college level course; does not count toward hours earned; is not included in GPA calculation