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Common College Lingo

This page is here to help you understand some of the "college lingo" that you may encounter as you are exploring how you may further your education. Keep in mind that some terms may not be used at every college or university, but the links and terms below are meant to give you a good overview.

Terms from Maryville College

Terms from BigFuture (The College Board)

Terms from University Language

Terms from AboutEducation

Terms from CollegePrep101


Important terms:

FERPA: Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) gives students the right to access their academic records. FERPA requires that the college or university protects the confidentiality of student records. This includes being unable to disclose permission to parents of college students. Learn more about FERPA

Syllabus: A document written by the professor of the course that is given to students in the course at the beginning of the term. A syllabus commonly includes the professor's contact information, a class description, objectives and expectations of the course, a course timeline for the duration of the term, and other University policies.

Unofficial transcript vs. Official transcript: All transcripts will contain information about your academic history, such as previous classes and grades, your GPA, and credits completed. Unofficial transcripts are usually used for things like student academic advising. An official transcript is issued from the registrar's office of your school and has the official school seal on it. Official transcripts are used to send information about your academic history to other schools that you are applying to.

Prerequisite: A prerequisite is a course that must be completed before taking another class. For example, Calculus I is a prerequisite for Calculus II.

Concurrent enrollment: A student can enroll and attend two educational institutions at the same time provided that certain criteria are met, known as dual enrollment. For example: high school students may concurrently enroll in high school and in college provided he/she meets established criteria. Concurrent enrollment is when a high school teacher is approved by the University to teach the college course in the high school during the school day. This is a specific type of dual enrollment where the student earns both high school and college credit for the course. CAPP is a concurrent enrollment program.

Registrar: This a college official who is responsible for registering students as well as maintaining student records.

Course Catalog: A detailed list of all courses available at a particular college or university. A course catalog also contains school policies and other important information.

Credit hours: One credit hour is equal to one hour of class per week. For example, a class which meets for 3 hours per week is worth 3 credit hours, and students will be granted 3 credits for completing the course.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is especially serious at a college level. Plagiarism may occur when you reference text or ideas from a different source without acknowledging the original source. Each school has a formal policy regarding plagiarism and students who are found plagiarizing will suffer consequences that may range from a 0 on the assignment or test, to academic probation or suspension, or in severe cases, expulsion from the college or university. Read more about plagiarism here.

UW Oshkosh policies of academic integrity and academic misconduct


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