Sometimes when students start researching colleges, they feel as if they are being spoken to in a foreign language! Here is a list of common college terms that will make the college search process a little easier to understand.
Accredited colleges — Colleges that have been endorsed by an organization that reviews educational qualifications; students should look to attend colleges that have been given regional accreditation.
Open admission colleges — Colleges that have no admission criteria which students must meet in order to enroll in classes.
Selective admission colleges — Colleges that have select admission criteria which students must meet in order to enroll in classes.
Admission requirements — Criteria which students must meet in order to enroll in classes at selective admission colleges. Colleges often require certain grade point averages, ACT or SAT scores, core curriculum classes taken in high school, and even essays when making admission decisions for students.
Degree — A certificate earned upon completion of a course of study at a college or university.
Associates Degree — A degree that is most frequently earned from a community or junior college; associates degrees often take two years to complete.
Bachelor’s Degree — A degree that is most frequently earned from a college, university, or professional school; bachelor’s degrees often take four years to complete.
Master’s Degree — A degree that students usually earn two or more years after they complete a bachelor’s degree.
Doctoral Degree — The highest level of degree that a student can earn.
Degree Requirements — A list of required courses a student needs to complete in order to earn an associates, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.
Credit Hours — College students are typically awarded credit based on the number of “credit hours” they complete each semester; most college classes are three credit hours, which means that classes meet for a total of three hours each week of the semester.
Major — A student’s main area of study. Different colleges will offer different types and numbers of majors. For instance, some colleges might offer majors in history, education, music, etc.
Minor — A student’s secondary area of study. Like with majors, colleges will offer varying types and numbers of minors for students to study.
Prerequisite courses — Courses which students must take before they can enroll in other classes. For instance, a Writing I class is a prerequisite class for a Writing II class.
Syllabus — An outline or summary of a college class that professors give to students; a syllabus often includes information such as class assignments for a semester and grading rubrics.
Fees — Costs related to attending college.
Tuition — Costs for academic classes; tuition prices will vary among different colleges.
Student fees — Costs associated with non-academic parts of college (i.e. using computer labs on campus, attending athletic events, doing laundry, etc.); prices and items included under student fees will vary from college to college.
Room and board — Costs for living on campus and eating on campus; room and board prices will vary depending on the type of housing in which a student lives as well as depending on what college a student attends.