Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Glossary of College Terms
 Glossary of College Terms
As you begin college there may be some words or terms unfamiliar to you. This glossary will help you understand the college language. Click to view a web page with more information.
   
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Academic Calendar A calendar of dates showing when each semester begins and ends along with college closings for holidays.

Academic Counseling Assistance with the process of planning what courses need to be taken in what sequence in order to reach your academic goal.

 

Academics   Anything directly related to the delivery of instruction.  Course descriptions, Class Schedules, Faculty Information, Graduation Requirements, etc.

 

Academic Regulations  Official policies and rules of the institution which apply to faculty, staff and students concerning matters which directly affect academic standards.  Includes such topics as grading system and standards, registration and withdrawal from classes, choosing and/or changing your curriculum, petition for graduation, and much more.

 

Accreditation   The process whereby a nationally recognized agency or organization grants recognition to a college or program within the college indicating that it meets established standards of quality.  KVCC is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as several other program accrediting agencies.

Add/Drop   Procedure through which students make a change in their schedule of classes by adding and/or dropping classes.

Admission   The process of becoming officially recognized as a student.  Once admitted to a particular institution, you do not have to go through this process again unless you step out from this institution for an extended period of time.  You must fill out and submit an admissions application form to begin the admissions process.

Advising   Assistance with the process of planning what courses need to be taken in what sequence in order to reach your academic goal.

Alumni   Anyone who has completed a class at KVCC is considered a member of the alumni.

Apprenticeship  A formal training agreement between a company and an employee (apprentice) whereby an apprentice will receive on-the-job training and an education with a minimum of 144 instructional hours (contact hours) per year to become proficient in a chosen craft.

 

Assessment   A name typically given to any tests or other instruments which might be used to help you identify your career or professional interests and goals.  They can also be used to determine which courses are best suited to your current interests and skill levels.  For example, at the time of admission, first-time college students may be required to undergo assessment of their level of skills in English, mathematics, and reading in order to ensure placement in courses that are significant to their current levels of mastery.

Associate of Applied Science (AAS)  A curriculum designed primarily for direct entry into the workplace upon completion of a minimum of 62 credit hours, although some do also provide alternatives for extension into a four-year degree.  Examples: Automotive Technology, Drafting, Graphic Design or Welding.

Associate of Arts (AA)   A program designed for transfer to a four-year college in the Education or Liberal Arts curricula.  A minimum of 62 credit hours are completed in interdisciplinary studies of liberal arts and some career courses.

Associate of Science (AS)  A program designed for transfer to a four-year college in the Pre-Engineering or Pre-Science curricula.  A minimum of 62 credit hours are completed in interdisciplinary studies and some career courses.

 

Articulation   An agreement between institutions that provides assurance of a smooth transfer of credit from one college to the other in selected programs of study.  KVCC has many formal articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities.

Audit   Enrollment in a class for information or personal enjoyment without the award of credit.  Regular attendance is expected and tuition rates are the same as for credit courses.

Cancelled   Listed for a course that will not be conducted that semester.

 

Campus   The place where all of this happens - the buildings, parking lots, athletic fields, etc.  Some courses are also offered "off-campus" which typically means that the actual classes take place in buildings that are not owned by the college, such as a local high school.  KVCC has three campuses, the main Texas Township (TTC) campus, the Groves campus and the Arcadia Commons Campus (ACC) in downtown Kalamazoo.

Certificate (CERT)  An award granted for the successful completion of a college level program which requires completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours and generally completed in one academic year.  The intent is to develop specific employment goals.

Certificate of Achievement (COA)   A certificate that requires anywhere between 3 and 29 credits of training in a specific set of job or employment skills.

Class Schedule   Information on the courses and sections to be offered in a given semester or enrollment period, including names of instructors, days, hours, room numbers, course credit hours, course descriptions, and fees.  This term can also reference your personal class schedule for a semester which shows the courses you are enrolled in for that term.

 

Closed  One section of a course being taught at a specific time which is now considered full and registration is closed because it has reached maximum seat capacity.

 

Contact Hours  The number of instruction hours a course will actually meet each week during the semester.

 

Continuing Education Units (CEU)  The points awarded for completion of some non-credit courses that meet specific academic content requirements.  One CEU is awarded for every ten hours of instruction.  Some professions, such as teaching and nursing, require continuous education to maintain state licensing and compliance is monitored by completion of a specified amount of credit hours or continuing education units.

 

Co-Requisite   A requirement that a course must be taken along with another related course during the same semester.  Frequently seen connecting science courses with mathematics courses, but could also be applied to a specific program where the instructional material in a biology and English class will be coordinated.

Counseling   Professional guidance related to your college success.  Assistance in many areas including course selection, financial aid application, development of better study skills or career opportunities.  We have faculty and staff with professional credentials in these fields to offer you the guidance you need. The general counseling term is most commonly used in reference to academic counseling.

 

Course  The typical unit of instruction from which students assemble their educational experience.  Traditionally, a certain number of hours per week over the span of a semester, during which a particular set of subject matter is investigated under the guidance of a single teacher.  The Class Schedule contains descriptions of all courses offered by the college including information about credits earned, pre-requisites, if any, type of instruction used, and specific content that will be studied.

 

Course Number   A number assigned to identify a course.  KVCC uses a three-digit number and an abbreviation for the subject area.  Example, within the English subject area the course number for College Writing I is ENG 110.

 

Course Reference Number (CRN)   A five-digit number the college assigns to each scheduled time a course is offered.  The same course may be offered many times during a semester; using the section number during registration will enroll the student in the course time of his/her choice.  For example, ENG 110 may have a class meeting Monday and Wednesday at 11:00a identified as CRN 11640 and a class that meets Tuesday and Thursday at 2:00p assigned CRN 11642.

 

Credit By Examination   Credit received for a course by passing a comprehensive oral or written examination rather than attending the classes.  Tuition must be paid for the credits earned.  The examination process is initiated through the Academic Counseling office.

 

Credit/Credit Hour   Unit by which the institution measures the total instructional content of each course, usually related to the total hours of instruction.  Graduation requirements are based on credit hours.
Courses which are primarily designed to earn academic credits toward a degree or certificate are often called "credit courses," as opposed to 'non-credit' courses which do not apply toward graduation and may only be awarded continuing education units.  In discussions of grade-point calculations and graduation requirements, "credit" is sometimes used to mean any course in which a passing grade was earned.

 

Curriculum   Also called "Program of Study" or "Major."  A set of required and elective courses designed to meet specific career or transfer goals, and leading to a degree or certificate upon successful completion.  Curriculum descriptions typically lay out not only the list of courses required, but also the order in which some of them should (or must) be taken (pre-requisites, and/or co-requisites).

Degree   Title given for the completion of an academic program and official confirmation by the institution signifying you have successfully completed an extended program of studies.  Minimum number of credit hours for an Associate Degree is 62.

 

Department  Faculty is typically organized into departments along academic disciplinary lines to assist with efficiency of planning and program development activities.  Depending on the size of the school, a single department might encompass just one or several disciplines.

 

Developmental Course Course that prepares students for success in subsequent college level courses.  Typically have course numbers that begin with a zero, (i.e. ENG 098).  Credits earned in a developmental course do not count toward satisfying any degree or certificate program requirement and will not transfer to another institution.

 

Discipline   Name given to a set of courses in the same subject area which are identified by a particular three or four letter prefix in the college catalog: Biology (BIO), English (ENG), or Mathematics (MATH), for example. 

 

Online Learning Any use of modern communications technology to allow interaction between instructor and students outside the scope of the traditional classroom.  Can mean television, internet, the web, or any combination of the above.  Some KVCC courses are taught entirely in online learning mode.  Others include distance components to augment more traditional face-to-face instruction.

Drop  The procedure for removing yourself from a class by officially dropping the class on the web or submitting a form.  Dropping a course qualifies you for a refund and the class will not appear on your transcript.  Discontinuing class attendance or notifying the instructor is not an official drop.  Reference the Refund and Withdrawal Deadline chart on the web.

 

Elective   Each degree requires completion of both program specific courses and elective courses.  A list of courses is provided for each category and students can elect to take any of those listed to meet that elective requirement.  For example, a program may require a minimum of six credits in the Social Sciences category.  You would then choose two courses from a list of Economics, History, Political Science, and Sociology department classes.

Enrollment   This term refers to both the act of registering for classes and actually being enrolled in classes.  There are steps to be followed to enroll in classes each semester.  Once a semester begins you may be asked by someone such as an insurance provider, bank or apartment complex to verify your enrollment at the college by having KVCC complete a form or write a letter stipulating your enrollment status.

Faculty   Those directly responsible to plan and deliver the academic program.  Full-time faculty are assigned many regular duties above and beyond hours devoted to individual courses, including responsibilities for program development and service on a wide variety of committees and task forces within the college.  Part-time faculty are generally assigned to teach only one or two courses in any given semester, with no formal duties outside the scope of those courses.

 

Fee   A charge for special items, services, or course materials not covered by tuition.  Only some courses require an additional fee that will be listed in the class schedule or available in the course detail information when registering on the web.

Financial Aid   Money made available to students who demonstrate eligibility, which may include financial need.  The term covers grants, scholarships, jobs, and loans.

 

Freshman   Traditional name for first-year college students.  At KVCC, a freshman is any student who has earned fewer than 28 credit hours.

 

Full-time (FT)   A full-time student is anyone enrolled in at least 12 credit hours for the Fall and Winter semesters or 9 credit hours during the Summer semester.

 

General Education   Core courses required in all college degree programs including such areas as English, mathematics, science, and social science.

Grade Point Average   A unit of measure representing a student's combined academic achievement in courses completed.  KVCC utilizes credit hours, numeric grades and quality points to calculate grade point averages.  It is a simple formula that multiplies each course?s credit hour value by the grade earned to award quality points.  The total quality points awarded is then divided by the number of credit hours attempted to arrive at the GPA.

Hold  A hold restricting services may be applied to a student's record for a variety of reasons.  Once the hold requirements have been satisfied, the hold will be inactivated and services will be accessible once again.

 

Honor Points  A unit of measure used to assign value to academic achievement based on course content for application in determining grade point averages.  The number of honor points earned in a course is determined by multiplying the grade point value by the number of credits for the particular course.  Thus you will earn more honor points by receiving higher grades and by taking courses worth more credit.  For example a 3.0 grade in a 3 credit course is worth 9 honor points but will accumulate 12 honor points for 4 credit hours.  Similarly, you will earn 12 honor points for a 4.0 but only 6 points for a 2.0 grade.

Internship   A course that some programs require or offer as an elective to provide valuable on-the-job training.  Internships are an  opportunity to receive supervised work experience performing tasks with learning objectives appropriate to your field of study.  You must complete 48 hours of paid or unpaid work per credit hour.

 

Instructor Permission Required   Some courses require permission from a department or instructor before registering for the class.  These are generally higher level or specialized courses for which they must screen for a skill set necessary to be successful or enrollment in a particular program.  Each semester class schedule identifies these courses with a code and includes a legend listing people to contact.

Major   Shorthand for "major subject."  Also called "Curriculum" or "Program of Study."  A set of required and elective courses designed to meet specific career or transfer goals, and leading to a degree or certificate upon successful completion.  Curriculum descriptions typically lay out not only the list of courses required, but also the order in which some of them should (or must) be taken (pre-requisites, and/or co-requisites).

 

Matriculate  To be formally admitted and enrolled into a college or degree program.

 

Orientation   A session designed to introduce you to the college or a specific course.  New students attend a college orientation to learn about services available to them, what to expect from their college experience and what is expected of them.  Some programs or courses such as independent study classes will conduct orientations to inform you of course content and requirements.

Part-time (PT)   A part-time student is anyone enrolled in at fewer than 12 credit hours for the Fall and Winter semesters or less than 9 credit hours during the Summer semester.

Pre-Requisite   A requirement that a specific skill level be achieved prior to enrollment to be successful in a course.  These are generally higher level or specialized courses for which you must achieve a minimum assessment test score or successfully complete the equivalent preparatory course.  Prerequisites are identified in course descriptions and semester class schedules.

Prior Learning Credit   Learning that has occurred since high school can be recognized for college credit if it is determined to be at college level, comparable to specific courses in the student's program, and fully documented indicating where and how the learning took place.  Consult with the Prior Learning Assessment Office for the process in earning prior learning credit.

Program of Study   Also called "Curriculum" or "Major."  A set of required and elective courses designed to meet specific career or transfer goals, and leading to a degree or certificate upon successful completion.  Curriculum descriptions typically lay out not only the list of courses required, but also the order in which some of them should (or must) be taken (pre-requisites, and/or co-requisites).

Registration   The process of enrolling in specific available courses by notifying the college of the course number, time, and days you wish to attend.  You must register for each semester you wish to attend classes during the registration period.  The registration process at KVCC can be accomplished on the web or in person and is not complete until you have paid your tuition and fees in full.

Residency Status   The tuition rate classification of a student determined by the school district in which the student resides.

Schedule  Information on the courses and sections to be offered in a given semester or enrollment period, including names of instructors, days, hours, room numbers, course credit hours, course descriptions, and fees.  This term can also reference your personal class schedule for a semester which shows the courses you are enrolled in for that term.

Semester   Period of time within which courses will be conducted. KVCC conducts three 15 week semesters each year, Fall, Winter and Summer. A majority of the classes offered are taught for the entire period, however, there are also many classes offered for shorter time periods throughout each semester such as 7, 8, 12 and 14 week classes.

 

Sophomore  Traditional name for second-year college students.  At KVCC, a sophomore is any student who has earned at least 28 credit hours.

Student Services  Services provided that are not explicitly "academic."  i.e. Counseling, Career Centers, Financial Aid, Admissions, Records and Registration, etc.

 

Syllabus/Course Outline   A summary document prepared by the instructor that states basic information about plans for a particular course in a particular enrollment period.  Can include such things as textbook lists, office hours, test dates, required assignments, learning objectives, etc.

TBA   To be announced - seen in the schedule of classes when exact instructor, or sometimes exact classroom, has not yet been determined or was not known at the time the schedule was sent to the printer.

Transfer Program   A curriculum or program of study that is specifically designed to prepare for transfer as the first half of a bachelor's degree program.  KVCC has many curricula articulated for smooth transfer to four-year programs.

Transcript  A formal record of all classes attempted by a student indicating program of study, grades and credits earned as well as degrees awarded.  Free unofficial copies are available to students, and official copies on secure college paper can be purchased for a minimal fee.  The students signature releasing the information is required before this confidential information is shared.  The two most common uses for a transcript are to transfer credits to another academic institution or to prove educational training for an employer.

 

Transcript Evaluation  The procedure for awarding transfer credit for KVCC equivalent courses completed at another college, university, or the military service.  A transcript evaluation must be completed in order for previous credits to apply toward a degree.  Official transcripts should be submitted to the Degree Auditor direct from the other institution.

Tuition  Amount of money charged for each course in which the student enrolls based on total number of contact hours.  Current tuition rate is listed in the class schedule and on our website.

Withdrawal  The procedure for removing yourself from a class by officially dropping the class on the web or submitting a form.  Withdrawing from a course occurs after the refund period but approximately two weeks before the end of the class.  The course will appear on your transcript with a grade of W but will not impact your KVCC grade point average.  Discontinuing class attendance or notifying the instructor is not an official withdrawal.

Work Study   A financial aid program which provides jobs for students either on- or off-campus.  A student must demonstrate financial need by completing the Financial Aid Application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid-FAFSA) through the Financial Aid Office.

   
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