A look at higher ed

Higher Education Glossary

By Jay Jacobs

Higher Education Glossary

By Jay Jacobs
Those of us in college settings sometimes seem to speak a different language than students who aspire to be on our campuses. Below is a list, of jargon that you might hear during your admission process or time in college.
A Academic advisora faculty member assigned to you to help select the courses/classes that you will take and ensure you meet all requirements needed to graduate.
B Bright Futuresa state-funded scholarship program available to Florida residents who attend a college/university in Florida. Many states have scholarship programs.
C curriculuma program or sequence of classes that make up a specific academic program.
D Deanthe head of a division within a college.
E Early Decision (ED)a binding application plan. If you apply EDyou are agreeing to enroll in that college and withdraw your applications from elsewhere if you are admitted. Read my blog post on ED here.
F Financial aidthe combinations of money, including loans, grants, scholarships, work-study, etc., that are offered to studentand families in order to help pay for college.
G GPA–short for grade point average. An average of all the grades in the courses that you’ve taken, usually on a 4.0 scale, meaning 4.0 is the highest that you can get.
H Holistic–when an admission officer takes into account all aspects of your application and your background while reviewing for an admission decision, that is a holistic approach. See my blog post on holistic admissions here.
I Internshipreal-world work experience for students that can add to your academic experience by helping you connect the theory you learn in the classroom to practice.
L Liberal artsacademic areas that focus on human life and ideas; includes history, philosophy, economics, foreign language, religion, art, music, and more.
M Minora small group of courses in a specific academic area. Minors are made up of fewer courses (usually between four to seven) than a major and are usually not required.
N Need-based financial aidthe financial aid awarded to you. How much need-based financial aid you receive depends largely on the University’s total cost of attendance (tuition, housing, meals, and fees combined) and your estimated family contribution (EFC)as calculated by the FAFSA and/or CSS Profile.
O Office hoursa period of time that a faculty member, teacher, or teaching assistant make themselves available to students for questions and extra help. Be sure to take advantage of this time!
P Prerequisitea course you have to take before you can enroll in a higher-level course; the first step in a series of courses.
Q Quartersome schools split their academic years into quarters (usually four 10-week periods); other types of academic calendars include semester (two equal 15-to 16-week periods) or trimesters (three 12-week periods).
R Registrationthe process of choosing and enrolling in classes/courses for a semester.
S Scholarshipfinancial aid money awarded, by the school or third party, that is earned and not required to be paid backFree money!
T Teaching assistant (TA)usually an upper-level undergraduate student and/or graduate student who assistthe professor with grading, proctoring exams, and helping students.
U Undergraduatestudents who are enrolled to earn their associate or bachelor’s degrees.
V Verificationa process where either the college/university or government ensures the accuracy of documentation of income and other information that informs your financial aid awards. This would usually happen after you are admitted and/or enroll/deposit at a school.
W Waitlistoffered to qualified applicants who could be offered admission if space becomes available between May 1 and the end of the summer. (You can also be on the waitlist to get into a course you want.)
X eXtra curricular activitiesthe clubs, organizations, groups, and activities that you do outside of the classroom; includes athletics, community service, part-time employment, cultural and religious organizations, etc.
Y yearthe academic level that you are in while in college; i.e. first-year, sophomore, junior, or senior, as in What year are you?” “I’m a junior. 
Other more complete lists can be found here, here, or here.