Terms to Know


2+2 Program

A program offering an associate’s degree that will transfer directly toward a bachelor’s degree in the same field of study. These programs may be within the same college or between two colleges





Associate in Arts degree

Associate in Applied Science degree

Associate in Science degree

Academic Adivsor
A counselor or designated individual who has been formally trained to assist students with academic information that will enable them to enroll in the classes related to their academic goals.

Academic Dismissal / Suspension
A student who is dismissed is no longer matriculated and may not register for any credit courses at the college for a specified period of time.

Academic Honors Diploma
A counselor or designated individual who has been formally trained to assist students with academic information that will enable them to enroll in the classes related to their academic goals.

Academic Probation 
A student will be placed on academic probation at the end of a semester in which the student’s degree grade-point average falls below that which is required.

Academic Standards 
College standards that students must maintain, such as a certain grade-point average, in order to remain in good standing with the school.

Accreditation speaks to the educational quality of the institution. Accreditation determines a school’s eligibility for participation in federal (Title IV) and state financial aid programs. Proper accreditation is also important for the acceptance and transfer of college credit. For more information see:

American Council on Education

American Council on Education College Credit Recommendation Service

One of the most common college entrance exams often required for admission to many colleges. The ACT consists of four sections including math, science, English and reading as well as an optional writing assessment and is usually taken for the first time in the spring of the junior year and again in the senior year.

Add/Drop Period 
A period of time before classes begin when schedule changes are made. A penalty may be charged for changes made after the start of classes.

Acceptance into a college after the student has submitted appropriate forms and completed the school’s admission requirements.

Advanced Credit 
Some colleges offer tests for advanced college credit. Students who receive a high score can earn credit in specific subject areas.

Advanced Placement (AP)
Advanced Placement (AP) refers to college-level classes offered by some high schools in various subject areas. Students participating in AP courses often take national AP exams prior to the end of the school year for placement purposes in college and/or for testing out of certain college requirements. Students can earn college credits at many Colleges and Universities for receiving certain scores on the AP exams.

Advanced Registration 
A period of time during which students can register early for classes. See Registration

Application Fee 
A charge to process a student’s application.

The process of equating courses from one institution to courses of another institution.

Articulation Agreement 
An agreement between two or more schools that allows course credit to be accepted or transferred and be applied toward a degree or certificate. This includes formal agreements between a 2-year institution and a baccalaureate degree-granting institution.

Arts and Sciences 
A grouping of academic studies that may include fine arts, languages, social sciences, natural sciences and humanities.

Assessment is a way of evaluating students’ present skills in English, reading and math for course placement.

Associate Degree 
Degree awarded after a student completes a specified number of course requirements and credit hours, typically requiring two full-time years of study or its part-time equivalent.

An option for class registration in which the student pays to attend class but does not want to receive credit.


Bachelor of Arts degree

Baccalaureate or Bachelor’s Degree
The degree granted by a college after students have satisfactorily completed a four or Degree five year, full-time program of required courses, or its part-time equivalent.

See Catalog


Career Plan 
A set of steps to be followed over a period of time to get a desired job.

A school’s official publication containing course descriptions, major/minor and general education requirements, college policies, procedures and standards, and student rights and responsibilities. It may also be referred to as a bulletin. 

Competency-Based Education

College Entrance Examination Board

Certificates may be awarded for successful completion of a specialized program of study and are typically not designed for transfer.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
A series of examinations in undergraduate college courses that provides students the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement and earn college credit.

A school offering studies that lead to an academic degree. A college can be independent or part of a larger university system.

Community College 
College that offers programs (usually two years or less for full-time students) leading to certificates or associate’s degrees. These programs prepare students for immediate employment, or for transfer to a four-year college.

Competitive Admission Policy
An admission policy where a school only admits students who meet certain Policy requirements.

Concurrent Enrollment
The term concurrent enrollment is also sometimes used to describe high school students who enroll in course that generate dual credit.

Conditional Admission 
A college may admit students who have not met all admission requirements. To remain, these students must fulfill specified requirements before or during their enrollment.

Continuing Education 
Continuing Education is designed to offer students an alternative to the traditional full-time college degree.

Continuous Enrollment 
The process of registering for and completing courses during consecutive semesters, which may include summer sessions. It may determine catalog year for graduation.

Cooperative Education (Co-op Education)
A program in which a student combines employment and study in a career field.  

One of the three diploma types offered by the State of Indiana. The CORE 40 diploma reflects a curriculum that exceeds the General diploma requirements and requires students to complete additional credits in various subject areas. The CORE 40 is considered the minimum college-track diploma.

Core Classes 
Classes that all students in a major, minor or general education program are required to take.

Course which must be taken the same semester as the course that specifies the corequisite.

Core Transfer Library (CTL)
A list of courses approved by all public institutions which will transfer among all public colleges and universities, assuming adequate grades. 

Correspondence Course 
A class where students receive lessons in the mail and return completed assignments to instructors. Correspondence is a form of independent study or distance education. See Independent Study and/or Distance Learning

A professionally trained staff member who helps students with educational, career, or personal concerns.

Course Withdrawal 
Process a student follows to terminate enrollment in a specific course; process varies from institution to institution.

College Proficiency Exam

A certificate, diploma, or other type of evidence that a person has completed specific requirements determined by a provider.

The numerical unit earned for the completion of a specific course.

Credit Transfer 
The acknowledgement by a college or university of student credit earned at a different institution.

A planned sequence of courses aimed at an academic or occupational goal; also referred to as a program of study.


Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support

Declare a Major 
Student officially tells a college their major or area of study. See Major

Deferred Admission 
A college may accept a student but then allow him/her to delay coming to the school for a specified period of time.

After finishing a program of study at a college, students receive an academic title.

Degree Audit 
A personalized report that lists the courses taken and requirements needed for completion of a student’s chosen major(s), minor(s), and certification(s).

A field of study. See Major

Students can be dismissed or expelled for consistently poor grades or breaking rules.

Distance Education 
Classes taught by means other than traditional classroom attendance such as: via satellite or television, through the Internet, by video tape or CD ROM, and by correspondence. Describes instruction and learning that occur when the instructor and learner do not physically meet.  Distributive Requirements See General Education/General Studies Requirements

Distributive Requirements
See General Education/General Studies Requirements

Discontinuing a class within the drop/add period. A drop is not usually recorded in the student’s transcript.

Dual Credit
Dual credit courses are defined as course that are taken by high school students and that can satisfy requirements for earning both a high school diploma and a college degree. Dual credit courses are taught by regular high school faculty or by regular or adjunct college faculty. The term “concurrent enrollment” is also sometimes used to describe high school students who enroll in course that generate dual credit.


English Language Proficiency (ELPT)
An SAT II Subject Test designed for students with English as a second language or limited (ELPT) English proficiency, who have had at least two years of English-language study in a U.S. high school.

A course from one college may be equivalent or equal to a similar course at another college.

A course or graduation requirement which is fulfilled by means other than traditional class room work.


See Free Application For Federal Student Aid

Federal Pell Grant 
A college federal financial aid grant program. Students apply by filling out the FAFSA.

Federal Perkins Student Loan 
A low interest loan for students who show financial need. It must be repaid after graduation. Students apply by filling out the FAFSA.

Federal PLUS (Parent Loans or Undergraduate Students) And/or Federal Direct Plus
Financial aid processed through a bank, other lending agency, or college or university to help pay for college. These loans must be repaid with interest and are not deferred.
and/or Federal Direct PLUS

Federal Stafford Loan and Direct Ford Loan  
Student financial aid processed through a bank and/or a college. A student must be enrolled in a college degree program at least part- time to receive a Stafford Loan. Loans must be paid back with interest after a student leaves school. This was formerly college Guaranteed Student Loan; it requires a completed FAFSA.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
Federal grant for students with exceptional need.  Apply by filling out a FAFSA.  

Federal Unsubsidized Stafford / Direct Unsubsidized Ford Loan
Similar to a Federal Stafford Loan, except interest is paid by the student during college.

Federal Work-Study Program
A student work program on college campuses that enables students to work during the school year to earn money to help cover their expenses. Federal work-study jobs are awarded to students based on financial need.

Final Exams 
Tests or exercises given at the end of a term that are often comprehensive; that is, they may include all material covered during the semester.

Financial Aid 
Federal, state, college and private programs which help students pay for college costs. Financial aid can be in the form of grants, loans, or work-study programs.

Financial Aid Counselor 
A college staff member who helps students and parents fill out financial aid forms and processes financial aid money.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The required application for federal, state, and institutional financial aid. Students must file their application between January 1 and March 1 of the year the student plans to attend college.

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.


General Education / General Studies Requirements
Many colleges 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, Requirements and math.

General Educational Development Test (GED Test)
Tests which measure the knowledge and skills usually learned in high school. A person who passes the GED test has the equivalent of a high school diploma.

Gift Aid 
Financial aid which is not repaid, such as grants and scholarships.

Grade-Point Average (GPA)
Grade-point average is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of credit hours attempted.

Financial aid based on student need; it is not repaid. Grants are often described as “free money” and are awarded by the state and federal governments based on criteria met by the student.

Graduate Record Examination

Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL)
See Federal Stafford Loan

Guest Student 
A guest student, or visiting student, is currently enrolled and in good standing at one college but wants to take courses at another college to fulfill the home institution’s degree requirements.


Hours, credit hours and credits are terms used interchangeably.

The branches of learning concerned with human thought and relations, especially literature, philosophy, fine arts, and history.


A student doing satisfactory work, but forced by illness or other emergency to miss the final exam or a major assignment, arranges with the instructor to receive an incomplete (I) grade.

Independent College 
A college or other school which is not supported by a state. Some independent colleges have a religious affiliation or are single-sex schools.

Independent Study 
Studying a subject for credit but not in an organized class. Examples are correspondence courses, video or computer instruction, and student-instructor meetings. See Correspondence Course

Immigration and Naturalization Service. An agency of the Department of Justice which administers and enforces immigration related provisions and statutes within the United States. 

Programs or courses using knowledge from two or more academic areas.

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)
The IB diploma is awarded to students who pursue rigorous pre-college coursework and successfully complete required examinations. It is based on a curriculum that involves languages, sciences, humanities and mathematics and is intended to be an academically challenging program for highly motivated students. The IB diploma is offered at a very limited number of high schools.

Class credit given to students who work at jobs on or off campus. The jobs give them practical experience in their major.


Liberal Arts 
A school or course of study which focuses on developing students’ general knowledge and reasoning ability instead of a specific career; the result is often considered to be a well-rounded, general education in the arts and sciences.

The total number of credit hours taken in a term. Also called academic load.

Financial aid that must be repaid with interest after a student leaves school.

Lower Division 
Normally freshman- and sophomore-level courses offered by a college. Community colleges offer ONLY lower division courses. Four-year institutions offer lower division courses and upper division courses, which are junior-level and senior-level courses.  Traditionally these are numbered as 100- or 200-level courses.


Subject areas in which students may take classes; an area of interest in which students earn a degree.

Matriculated Student 
A matriculated student has been accepted for admission to the college, has registered in a curriculum and is taking courses toward a degree or certificate.

An area of interest studied at the same time as the major. It is rarely in the same department as a major and requires fewer classes than a major.


National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students 
A scholarship program for African-Americans only, similar to the National Merit Scholarships and based on junior year PSAT scores.

National Direct Student Loan (NDSL)
See Federal Perkins Student Loan

National Merit Scholarships
Scholarships These competitive scholarships are limited in number and are offered by corporations and colleges. Winners are determined by PSAT scores and other criteria.

Native Student 
A student who began college at the institution and has not transferred to another institution since his/her initial enrollment.

Need Analysis Form 
A form, filled out by the student and/or family members, used to determine the amount of financial aid the student can receive. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a need analysis form. See FAFSA.

See National Merit Scholarships, Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT)

Non-Traditional Student 
A student older than the typical college age of about 18-25 years.

Nontransferable Degree 
A degree, usually an associate’s degree, that cannot be counted as credit toward more education, like a bachelor’s degree, at the same time or a different college. See Transferable Degree


Official Transcript
An official transcript is the only document receiving institutions will accept to determine transfer courses.

In education, a person who acts on behalf of students and others in the school community who have difficulties with the school.


Part-time Student 
A student enrolled in a number of course credits or hours which are less than full-time.

Pass / Fail 
An option for class registration in which students choose to receive a grade of Pass or Fail in lieu of a letter grade (A, B, C, D). Students can earn credits toward graduation by passing these courses but the grades will not count in their GPAs. It is best to check with advisor to make sure that Pass/Fail grades will transfer to another college or university.

Proficiency Examination Program

Placement Test
Test See Assessment

Often referred to as the “pre-ACT”, it is a practice test for the ACT assessment exam. The PLAN test is offered in the sophomore year in high school.

A file of materials created by a student which displays and explains skills, talents, experiences, and knowledge gained throughout life.

Postsecondary Education 
Education after high school at a public, private, vocational, technical, proprietary, trade, or business college or university.

Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test / National Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT)
A high school test which measures verbal and math skills and prepares students for the SAT I.  It determines eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship. See Scholastic Assessment Test

Beginning class that prepares students for a more difficult class.

Private Institution 
See Independent College

A warning that a student is not in good academic standing. It may be accompanied by restricted credit hour enrollment.

Set of required courses for a degree in a major area of study. See Curriculum

Proprietary Schools 
Colleges that are run as profit-making institutions. These colleges provide students with practical training in specific fields.

See Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT)

Public College 
College or other school supported by the state; the state pays part of the schools operation costs.


Receiving Institution 
The institution to which a course will be transferred and accepted.

Person in a school who manages class schedules and academic records.

Actual enrollment of a student into specific courses after the student has been admitted to the college.

Remedial Course 
A course that teaches skills that are needed to succeed in college. Many students learn these skills in high school. These skills are in the areas of math, writing, reading, etc.

Required Course
A course that a student must complete to meet certain goals or to complete a specific curriculum.

Residency Requirements 
1) Most colleges require that students spend a certain amount of time on campus or complete a minimum number of hours through their institution. 2) The minimum amount of time a student must live in the state to be eligible for in-state tuition, which (for public institutions) is lower than the fee paid by out-of-state students.

Rolling Admission 
Schools with this admission practice accept applications throughout the year and decide whether or not to admit students as soon as they receive the required materials.


See Scholastic Assessment Test

SAT II: Subject Tests 
See Subject Area Test

Scholarships are awarded for academic and other achievements (music, athletics, etc.) and do not have to be paid back.

Scholastic Assessment Test I (SAT I)
A standardized admission test published by the College Entrance Examination Board (SAT I) (CEEB). See Standardized Admission Tests

Self-paced Courses 
Self-study courses permit students to set flexible schedules. Self-paced courses are recommended for students who are self-motivated, are strong readers, have good problem solving skills, can manage time well, and set their own deadlines.

Sending Institution 
The institution where a transfered course was taken.

Service Learning 
Combines community service with classroom instruction, focusing on critical thinking, value clarification and social responsibility. The key components of Service Learning are linkage to course competencies or objectives, a relevant experience and a meaningful contribution to the community.

Serviceperson’s Opportunity College

Standardized Admissions (SAT I, ACT, etc.)
These tests are designed to measure verbal and mathematical knowledge or skills and (SAT I, ACT, etc.) are used to predict achievement in college. The test score may be considered along with other factors for admission to the college.

Student-designed Major 
At some schools, students can plan an individualized major. Such programs must be approved by appropriate school administrators.

Study Abroad 
Programs where students go to school for some time in another country while making regular progress toward their diplomas or degrees.

Subject Area Tests 
Standardized tests given by the American College Testing Program or College Board in specific high school subjects, such as biology, a foreign language, etc. Colleges look at these tests scores when making decisions about course placement or admission to a specific program.

Support Services 
Services provided by most colleges to help students in areas such as academics, veterans affairs, adult, and special-needs.

Because of poor academic performance, the student is not allowed to enroll in classes for a specified number of semesters, usually one academic year.

An outline and/or statement of policies for a given course section. Typically issued in the first week of classes, the syllabus often contains required reading, grading scales, attendance policies, and/or descriptions of major assignments. The syllabus will introduce a student to the structure and expectations of the course.


Total Withdrawal 
When a student withdraws from all of his/her courses. Most schools have deadlines to process a total withdrawal.

An official record of a student’s college coursework that is maintained by the college registrar. Courses taken, grades, GPA, and graduation information are included on a transcript. Official transcripts are requested by the student from the originating institution.

Transfer Credit 
Course credit that is accepted from or by another college or university to meet requirements in a major or as general education.

Transfer Program 
College program that prepares students to complete the degree at another school. Often two-year colleges have transfer programs to prepare students for four-year colleges. These programs usually award associate’s degrees.

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 credits earned at another institution.

Transferable Degree 
A degree, usually an associate’s degree, that can be counted as credit toward another degree, like a bachelor’s degree, at the same or different college. See Nontransferable Degree and/or Transfer Program

Transient Student 
A student who is taking course at an institution with the intention of transferring them back to the school where they are earning a degree.

Twenty First Century Scholars
Scholarship program offered by the State of Indiana to students who enroll in the 7th or 8th grade year of school and fulfill the program requirements. The program guarantees college tuition at a public, in-state college/university. There is a one-time financial eligibility requirement that must be met in order to qualify for the program.


u.select (formerly CAS)
A free online tool that enables students to view course equivalencies, program requirements, enter and store course work, and request an evaluation of transfer work towards a program.

Student who is a junior or senior but has not yet received an undergraduate degree.

Upper Division 
Normally junior- and senior-level courses offered by a four-year institution.  Traditionally numbered as 300- or 400-level courses.


An exemption from normal policies, procedures or requirements.

Officially dropping any or all courses during a school term.

A form of financial aid in which students earn money by working part-time at their college. Students apply for work-study by submitting the FAFSA.