College Language

The following are some college terms that you may hear around campus and in your classes that may be new or unfamiliar to you.

Academic Calendar: A period of time from the start of the fall semester usually at the end of August and continuing through the completion of the winter usually in early May.

Academic Probation: A warning to students who are not making satisfactory academic progress. For example, a student who has completed 10 credit hours or more at MCCC is placed on probation at the end of the semester when his or her cumulative Honor Point Average at MCCC falls below 1.8.

Accredited: A college or program which has been certified as fulfilling certain standards by a national and/or regional professional association.  Accredited schools enable students to qualify for admission to other accredited institutions. MCCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

Articulation: The process of evaluating courses to determine whether coursework completed at one college will meet the requirements for admission, transfer credit, general education, or major preparation at another college.

Articulation Agreement: Agreements between community and four-year colleges which indicate the acceptability of courses in transfer toward meeting specific degree requirements.

Associate Degree (AA/AS/AAS/AFA): A degree granted by MCCC to students who complete a specified program of study (minimum of 60 credit hours).  Associate degrees are sometimes called two year degrees, in contrast to the four-year or bachelor’s degree awarded by a four-year university.

Audit: To attend a class for the purpose of reviewing the information.  No grades or credits are given, but you are still required to register and pay tuition.

Bachelor’s (Baccalaureate) Degree: A level of education marked by the completion of the equivalent of four or more years of education (at least 124 semester credit hours)

Billable Contact Hour: A billable contact hour reflects an amount of time that a student spends in direct contact with an instructor, laboratory equipment or other instructional setting. 

Certificate: An award granted upon completion of a prescribed series of courses preparing students for employment in selected occupational/vocational fields which require training beyond high school.  A certificate may be earned while preparing for an associate degree.

College Catalog: A book published by a college, or available online, describing requirements for admission, degrees and services offered, and course descriptions.  

Credit Hour: Credit hours measure academic work and generally show the amount of time a class meets each week. An hour in class per week generally translates into one credit. However, some lab and technical courses have additional meeting times. Please also see Billable Contact Hour definition.

Electives: Courses that are not used to meet specific major, general education, or graduation requirements, but can be used to complete the total credit hours required for a degree.

Full-Time Student: Student enrolled for a specified minimum number of credit hours (or more) set by the college or university. 12 semester hours (Fall and Winter Semesters) and six hours (Spring and Summer) is considered full-time at MCCC.

General Education Requirements: A set of courses that provide students with a broad educational experience.  Courses typically are introductory in nature and provide students with fundamental skills and knowledge in written communication, mathematics, social sciences, arts and humanities, science, and computer skills.  MCCC and four-year universities have general education requirements. Transfer students often take these classes while attending MCCC.

Grade Point Average: The average of all grades received—also called GPA and cumulative grade-point-average.

Registration: The act of scheduling classes each term.Prerequisites: Courses that must be completed before taking a specific course.

Semester: One type of term within an academic year marking the beginning and end of classes. At MCCC, each semester is 15 weeks in length, and there are two semesters (fall and winter) in an academic year. Spring and Summer semester is eight weeks in length.

Syllabus: Course outline of material to be covered in the duration of a specific class.

Transcript: Official record of all coursework and grades from a particular college or university.

Transfer Courses: College courses giving credit which may be transferred to another college.

Tuition: A fee that is paid for instruction in a school, college, or university.

Undergraduate: An enrolled student who has not completed a baccalaureate degree.

Work Study: A federally funded program that makes part-time jobs available to students with financial need.

Some terms have been taken from College is Only The Beginning: A Student Guide to Higher Education, John N. Gardner and A. Jerome Jewler, copyright 1989, Wadsworth Inc., pages 306-320.