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College Lingo

The college environment presents many changes for incoming students, including different expectations, responsibilities, and schedules. It is important to realize too, however, that the vocabulary of the college environment is also a change and can be filled with a lot of jargon, lingo, and specialized words you might not be familiar with. We have provided an easy to reference list of some of the words you might overhear from faculty, staff, and other students below.

AA-Corequisite  Course Number-Orientation  PELL Grant-Withdraw

AA – Associate of Arts, a degree program designed for transfer to a four-year institution

AAS – Associate of Applied Science, a degree program that does not contain as many core courses as an AA or AS and is not designed for transfer but is intended for students who will enter the workforce after graduation

Adjunct Faculty - Visiting or part-time instructors

AOS - Associate of Occupational Studies, a degree program that does not contain as many core courses as an AA or AS and is not designed for transfer but is intended for students who will enter the workforce after graduation, typically in a technical field

AS – Associate of Science, a degree program designed for transfer to a four-year institution

Associate's Degree - The degree received after completing a two-year program

A-Term - The first half of a fall or spring semester

B-Term - The second half of a fall or spring semester

Bachelor's Degree - The degree received after completing a four-year program

Billing Hours - Refers to the number of hours that you are billed for to calculate tuition/fee charges and is also what MVCC uses to determine full or part-time status (12 or more is considered full-time, below 12 is considered part-time)

Blackboard - The "e-learning" program used in all classroom and online courses at MVCC (http://mvcc.blackboard.com/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp)

Certificate - A credential awarded after completing a one-year program

Closed sections - A section or course that has been filled completely and has no seats left

Commencement - The graduation ceremonies held at the end of a semester

Convocation - The ceremony held during orientation that officially welcomes new students to the college and starts the academic year

Corequisite – A course that must be taken at the same time as another course

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Course Number - Identifies a specific class, including subject (represented by two letters) and general level of the class (represented by three numbers), an example being "Introduction to General Psychology" listed as PY101

Credit Hours - Refers to the number of hours a class meets each week, a typical class meets for 3 hours a week although most science, engineering and art classes meet for a longer time

CRN (Course Reference Number) - Identifies a particular section of a class, an example being that PY101 with the CRN of 87654 meets on Wednesday nights from 6:00pm to 8:45pm

Degree Plan – A list of classes that you must complete successfully in order to be awarded a certificate or degree, officially listed in the college catalog

DegreeWorks – A degree audit system, accessible through SIRS, that allows you to track the progress you're making toward completion of your academic program

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) - A form that is used by students applying for federal and other types of financial aid (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/)

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) – A federal law that regulates the communication and dissemination of your educational records

GPA (Grade Point Average) – Each earned grade is awarded grade points that are multiplied by the number of credit hours taken, dividing the total grade points (quality points) by total credit hours results in your GPA

Intersession - A short term between the fall or spring semesters, usually lasting from mid-December until mid-January

Matriculated - A status given to students who are admitted to a degree or certificate program

Major - A subject or career field that serves as the focus of study in a degree program

Office Hours - Scheduled times when faculty are in their offices and able to talk with students

Orientation - A integral part of the college experience with activities designed to help new students adjust and familiarize themselves with the college

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PELL Grant - A grant from the federal government to students in financial need

Prerequisite – A course that must be taken prior to enrolling in an advanced course

Quality Points – The points determined by a grade point multiplied by the credit hours for a course; for example, an A (4 grade points) in a writing class (3 credit hours) will equal 12 quality point, which is used to calculate a GPA

Re-matriculation - The process that re-admits students to a degree or certificate program after a long absence of two or more years from school

Semester - The length of time a student will be enrolled in one set of classes, most commonly the fall semester from August until December and the spring semester from January until May

SIRS (Student Information Registration System) - An online account where students can register for classes, see grades, and pay their bill (https://banner.mvcc.edu/)

Syllabus - A contract between an instructor and a student, providing a course outline of the topics and assignments expected to be covered in a course along with grading criteria and course policies

TAP Grant - A grant from the New York State government to students in financial need (https://www.tapweb.org/totw/)

Transcript - A record of all courses taken, credits earned, and graded received

Transfer - Acceptance by a new college of the credits earned in a previous college

Tuition - The charge for academic instruction

Waitlist - A formal list on SIRS of students interested in joining a closed section or class

Withdraw - To formally remove yourself from a class (through the Registration’s office) or from all classes for a semester (through the Counseling Center)

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Lizabeth Doherty
Coordinator of the First Year Experience


Alumni College Center 208

Phone: (315) 792-5377

Email: ldoherty@mvcc.edu


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