Tuesday, June 28, 2011

College Terminology

Going to college sometimes means learning a new language. Read the rest of our post to learn some of the new vocab before you hit your campus this fall!

Major: A major is a field that you will be studying. Your classes and career will be based around your major so make sure you pick something that you are passionate about.

Minor: A minor will make your major more specific. Fewer classes are required for a minor. You can also have a minor that is unrelated to your major. A minor simply specifies a course of study. Sometimes it is referred to as a focus or concentration.

Add/Drop: In college the terms that are referred to when signing up for your classes are adding and dropping. When you add a class, you are simply adding it to your schedule and when you drop it you are eliminating it. There is a certain time frame for adding and dropping classes and after that period you are unable to add and drop classes throughout the semester.

Withdraw: Withdraw also known as dropping with a W. It is the process that occurs when you drop a class after the add/drop time slot. Dropping with a W is usually a process used when someone is not doing well in a class because when you drop with a W, your grade point average is not affected. Be careful before dropping with a W because when it is seen on a transcript by employers or scholarship committees, they have to explain to them why they dropped the class and didn’t follow through and complete the class.

Work Study: Work study is a program where you work usually somewhere on campus and the money goes towards your college tuition. It is a really good program and it helps you pay off your college fees. Sometimes work study money can even go towards your personal expenses.

Academic advisor: Your academic advisor is your counselor. They are there to guide you through the college process by helping you pick classes and stay on track for graduation.Your counselors are also there to help you maneuver around campus and they can also help you with personal issues that you may have.

Unit: Units are similar to what you called credits in high school. Each class is usually 3 units. Some schools have 4, 5 and 6 units. If you are enrolled for 12 units, you are considered a full time student. But you can always take more than 12 units (the maximum is usually 18 units). Make sure you don’t overload with classes, they take more time and studying than the classes in high school. Remember you are going to have a lot of other college activities going on and that will take up all the spare time that you think you are going to have.

Transferable units: Transferable units are units that are able to transfer from one school to another. If you are going to a community college your first two years or if you are planning to transfer schools, make sure your units/classes are transferable so that you will receive credit for all the work you’ve done after moving locations. Also check your AP units to make sure you do not repeat classes that you have already received credit for.

General Education Classes: General Education classes also known as GE classes are the courses that you will be taking your first two years of college. These classes will teach you the basic skills you need to know before moving into your major classes which are usually taken the last two years of college. The general education classes also introduce you to different fields and help you to develop a sense of passion in the various subjects available.

Prerequisites: Prerequisites are class requirements that need to be met before taking a higher ranked class. Usually an introduction class is needed before moving on to the advanced class. Also, some of the prerequisites test skills.

Upper Division standing: After completing your general education classes you are considered to be in upper division standing.

Catalog: The college catalog is a booklet where you can find all the classes available at your school. The catalog will give you a brief description on the class and will tell you what requirement that the class will fulfill.

Syllabus: The syllabus, sometimes referred to as the green sheet is a sheet of paper with a list of dates and deadlines that you will have to meet throughout the school year. The syllabus is very important. It will tell you when your papers and assignments are due so make sure you keep track of it.

In college, you will come across many of these words. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any other unknown words that you come across. If there are important words that we have not included here, please share with our readers in the comments section!

Contributed by: Alicia Moore, SJSU mentor and Strive Operations Team Member

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