College Terminology & Vocabulary | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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College Terminology

If you’re not familiar with the world of higher education as a first generation student, the terms and jargon used by your teachers and advisor may feel like a whole new language. To help you better understand college language, feel free to use the following glossary.

College Terms:

Associate Degree - 
Typically referred to as a two-year degree, normally includes a program of around 60 credit hours.

Bachelor’s Degree - Also referred to as a baccalaureate degree, and generally takes around four years to complete if attending full-time, and consists of around 120 credit hours.

Academic Advisor - A college staff member who helps a student select the correct degree plan and courses, and discusses educational goals.

Credit Hours - The number of hours per week that a course meets for a whole semester. College courses are measured in terms of credit hours. Most courses at NWACC are three credit hours but some are more or less.

Syllabus  A guide to a course and what will be expected of you in the course. Generally, it will include course policies, rules and regulations, required texts, and a schedule of assignments.

Work Study A federal student aid program for those with financial need that allows one to work part-time for the college. A student must be financial aid eligible to qualify for work study.

Academic Standing - The status determined by a student’s cumulative and/or semester grade point average at the end of the fall and spring semesters.

Grade Point Average (GPA) - This number represents the average value of the student’s accumulated final grades earned over time. NWACC uses a 4.0 scale (A=4.0, B=3.0, C=2.0, D=1.0, and F=0).

Elective - A credit course that a student chooses from a number of optional courses in a program, as opposed to a required course.

Prerequisite - A required prior condition. This could be a course that is required before you can take another course. For example, English Comp I is a prerequisite for English Comp II.

Corequisite - A course or requirement that must be completed at the same time as another course or requirement. For example, the English block.

Registration - The process of selecting and signing-up for courses. Each semester, students are informed of the opening date for registration for the following semester.

Degree Audit An analysis of a student's academic progress toward a degree. It's a helpful tool for a student to monitor where he is and what he still needs to do to complete requirements. The degree audit can be found in My NWACC on the left-hand column.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) - A federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. This is why NWACC is not able to give out information to a student's spouse or guardian. If there is a person that a student wants to be able to access this information, a student can fill out the consent to release of academic information form.

Transcript - A student’s academic record, usually includes all courses taken, grades received, and GPA.