As you move through the college planning process, you're sure to
hear words and acronyms you've never heard before. Here are some
acronyms and phrases you're likely to encounter when preparing for
A.A. Degree: Associate in Arts degree. (see
A.A.S. Degree: Associate in Applied Science
degree. (see Associate Degree and Associate in Applied Science
Academic Adviser: The person at a college or
university who helps students decide what classes to take, what
major to pursue, etc. An adviser is similar to a high school
Academic Forgiveness: Ways for students to
recover from academic problems without forever jeopardizing
academic standing. Repeating courses, reprieving semesters and
renewing all course work prior to a certain date are types of
academic forgiveness provisions.
Academic Service Fees: Fees assessed students
for certain courses of instruction or academic services in addition
to tuition and mandatory fees. These services may include, but are
not limited to, special instruction, testing, and obtaining
laboratory supplies and materials.
Academic Term: The time duration of a course
schedule, generally a fall or spring semester consisting of 16
weeks, a summer session consisting of four or eight weeks, or an
intersession consisting of the weeks between a semester and/or
Accreditation: The process used by the Oklahoma
State Regents for Higher Education or other entities recognized by
the U.S. Department of Education to ensure postsecondary education
providers meet and maintain minimum standards of quality and
integrity regarding academics, administration and related
ACT: The college entrance exam required by more
four-year colleges than any other exam. It measures high school
students' educational development and ability to do college-level
work. The multiple test section includes English, math, reading and
science. There is also an optional writing test. It is usually
taken during the junior year of high school, but many students opt
to retake the test as seniors. Highest possible score: 36.
Admission Requirements: Certain requirements
that students wanting to attend an Oklahoma college or university
must meet, such as achieving a specified ACT or SAT score or
combination of high school GPA and rank in class, taking specified
high school courses, etc., to be considered for admission.
Advanced Placement (AP) Courses: Courses that
allow students to take college-level course work in high school and
receive credit at Oklahoma colleges and universities. Many
Oklahoma colleges and universities award college credit to
students who successfully complete these courses and pass the
corresponding AP exams.
A.S. Degree: Associate in Science degree. (see
Associate Degree: A degree given upon
completion of two years of full-time study (at least 60 credit
hours) or the equivalent. Most associate degrees are awarded by
two-year colleges, although some four-year universities also offer
associate degrees. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
recognize three types of associate degrees: Associate in Arts,
Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science. Some
associate degrees transfer to four-year universities (A.A., A.S.);
others are for career preparation (A.A.S.).
Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree:
Typically, a credential requiring two years of full-time equivalent
college work (at least 60 credit hours) that emphasizes an
occupational specialty and is designed to lead the individual
directly to employment (typically does not transfer to
Baccalaureate Degree: Alternate term for
bachelor's degree (see Bachelor's Degree).
Bachelor's Degree: Also referred to as a
baccalaureate or undergraduate degree. Given upon completion of
four years of full-time study (at least 120 credit hours) or the
equivalent. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
recognize three types of bachelor's degrees: Bachelor of Arts,
Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of (Specialty).
B.A. Degree: Bachelor of Arts degree. (see
B.Comm. Degree: Bachelor of Commerce degree.
(see Bachelor's Degree)
B.Eng. Degree: Bachelor of Engineering degree.
(see Bachelor's Degree)
B.F.A. Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
(see Bachelor's Degree)
B.S. Degree (also B.Sc.): Bachelor of Science
degree. (see Bachelor's Degree)
B.S.G.S. Degree: Bachelor of Science in General
Studies degree. (see Bachelor's Degree)
Certificate: Recognition awarded for an
organized program of study that does not lead to an academic
Class Rank: Ranking of a student within a high
school graduating class based upon his or her high school GPA.
Clock Hour: A 50- to 60-minute class, lecture,
recitation, faculty-supervised laboratory, shop training or
internship. Can also be 60 minutes of preparation in a
College: A higher education institution that
generally offers associate, or two-year, degrees but does not offer
bachelor's- or graduate-level programs.
College Catalog: An online or printed booklet
published by an individual college or university to provide
detailed descriptions of course and degree offerings, fees,
academic policies and requirements for graduation.
Community College: Also known as a "two-year
college," an institution that grants associate degrees for transfer
to universities or for career preparation. Community colleges
usually offer flexible class schedules with smaller class sizes.
They are known as open-door institutions because performance
standards (standardized test scores or combination of class rank
and GPA) are not required for admission. The public community
colleges in Oklahoma are:
- Carl Albert State College, Poteau and Sallisaw
- Connors State College, Warner and Muskogee
- Eastern Oklahoma State College, Wilburton and McAlester
- Murray State College, Tishomingo and Ardmore
- Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Miami
- Northern Oklahoma College, Tonkawa, Enid and Stillwater
- Oklahoma City Community College
- Redlands Community College, El Reno
- Rose State College, Midwest City
- Seminole State College, Seminole
- Tulsa Community College
- Western Oklahoma State College, Altus
Commuter College: A college at which students
live off campus and travel to campus for classes.
Concentration: The area of study a student is
focusing on. This term is sometimes used in place of "major;"
however, a major can include various concentrations. For example,
an English major may concentrate in literature or writing.
Concurrent Enrollment: A program that allows
eligible high school students (juniors and seniors) to take
credit-earning college courses.
Co-op Program: A program that combines
classroom learning with paid, hands-on work experience. Often,
students alternate between attending classes and working at a real
job in their field of study.
Cooperative Agreements: High school students
can complete their high school studies while earning college credit
toward an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree by
successfully completing recognized assessments, and colleges in
Oklahoma may award college credit for the successful
Course of Study: A sequentially organized
series of educational experiences designed to culminate in the
awarding of an academic degree or certificate. The terms
"instructional program," "academic program" and "course of study"
are considered synonymous.
Credit (also Credit Hour): Credit given for
attending one lecture hour of class each week for 16 weeks or
equivalent. Most college classes are three credit hours, meaning
the total meeting time for a week is three hours. To calculate the
cost for one course, multiply the number of credit hours the class
is worth by the total tuition and mandatory fees per credit
Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA): The
average of a college student's earned grades calculated by point
values assigned to letter grades that include grades for all
attempted regularly graded course work, including activity courses
and forgiven course work. This GPA may be used for financial aid or
eligibility purposes, for admission to graduate or professional
programs, or to determine eligibility for graduation honors. (see
Curricular Deficiencies: High school curricular
requirements required for college admission that have not been met
by the student in high school.
Curricular Requirements: The 15 units of high
school course work required for college admission to public
colleges and universities in the Oklahoma State System of Higher
Curriculum: Courses and classes offered by a
school comprise the curriculum.
Deferred Admission Option: Allows students to
take extra time between being accepted and beginning classes.
Students choosing this option typically wait one school term or one
calendar year before starting classes.
Degree: An academic credential conferred by a
college or university as official recognition for the successful
completion of an instructional program.
Department of Education: The federal government
agency in charge of administering several student financial aid
programs. Also referred to as USDOE (U.S. Department of
Dependent Person: One who is under the care,
custody and support of a parent or legal guardian.
Diploma: A formal document issued by an
institution that certifies a student has successfully completed an
Distance Education: Learning that normally
occurs in a different location than teaching and, as a result,
requires special techniques of course design and instruction and
special methods of communication by electronic and other
technology, as well as special organizational and administrative
Doctorate (doctoral degree): The highest level
of academic achievement in our country.
Drop Period: In general, the first one-eighth
of an academic term.
Early Admission: Allows students to enroll in
college before completing high school, generally after their junior
Early-Action Plan: Allows students to find out
if they have been accepted before other students. A student
accepted under an early-action plan is not obligated to attend that
school -- they can accept the offer under the procedures for
Early-Decision Plan: An option in which a
student can apply for admission and receive the school's decision
earlier than students applying for regular admission. If a student
applies under early decision, they must agree to accept an offer of
admission and withdraw any applications to other schools once
they've been accepted.
Elective Courses: Courses that fulfill the
"Other" high school units to meet the total of 15 required for
college admission by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher
Electronic Media: Includes courses and programs
offered through videotape, CD-ROM, telecourses, Web (online),
Interactive Television or other digital methodologies.
E-LOR: Electronic Letter of Recommendation.
Some colleges and universities allow letters of recommendation to
be sent via e-mail or fax. (see LOR)
English Learner (EL): Designation for students,
programs and courses for which English is not the primary or native
Entry-Level Assessment and Placement: An
evaluation conducted prior to enrollment that assists institutional
faculty and counselors in making decisions that give students the
best possible chance of success in attaining academic goals.
Extrainstitutional Learning: Learning attained
outside the sponsorship of legally authorized and accredited
postsecondary institutions. Applies to learning acquired from work
and life experiences, independent reading and study, the mass
media, and participation in formal courses sponsored by
associations, business, government, industry, the military and
Fall Semester: An academic term that begins
mid- to late-August or early September and ends in December.
Financial Aid: Money provided to the student
and/or parents to help pay for the student's education. Major forms
of financial aid include gift aid (grants and scholarships) and
self-help aid (loans and work-study). (see the
Financial Aid Glossary for more information.)
First-Time-Entering Student: A student with six
or fewer attempted credit hours, excluding remedial/developmental
(zero-level courses) or pre-college work and excluding credit hours
accumulated by concurrently enrolled high school students.
Full-Time Student: An undergraduate student
enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester in an
academic year or a minimum of six credit hours in a summer session
or a graduate student enrolled in a minimum of nine credit hours
per semester in an academic year or a minimum of four credit hours
in a summer session. The definition of full-time summer enrollment
for financial aid purposes may be different, so check with the
financial aid office at the college or university you're
GED: General Educational Development exam.
Composed of five tests, the GED exam can be taken by people who,
for whatever reason, were unable to graduate high school.
GPA: Grade Point Average. The GPA is calculated
based on the grades obtained in individual classes, usually on a
four-point scale. A equals four points, B equals three points, C
equals two points, D equals one point, and F equals zero points.
High school GPA is indicated on the student's school transcript,
typically covers grades 9 through 12 and is part of the evaluation
for college admission. Postsecondary GPA is used to evaluate
students transferring from one college to another.
Graduate Student: A student working toward a
master's or doctoral degree.
Half-Time Student: An undergraduate student
enrolled in at least six credit hours or a graduate student
enrolled in at least five credit hours, or the equivalent, in one
semester or academic term.
HBCU: Historically Black Colleges and
HiSET: High School Equivalency Test. In some
states, this exam can be taken by people who did not graduate from
Independent (Private) Colleges and
Universities: A private, denominational or other two-year
or four-year college or university that offers courses beyond the
12th grade for which students earn credit and that may be applied
to satisfy the requirements for an associate, bachelor's, graduate
or professional degree. Independent colleges and universities are
not supported by state taxes and are not for profit. They receive
the bulk of their revenues from tuition, donations and grants.
Independent Person: One enjoying majority
privileges (or legally emancipated from the parental domicile) and
who is responsible for his or her own care, custody and
Independent Study: An approach in which a
student designs his or her own course of study, with assistance
from an advisor or faculty member.
Intensive English Program (IEP): A program
designed to provide English instruction for non-native speakers to
adequately prepare them for collegiate-level instruction in a short
period of time.
International English Language Testing System
(IELTS): The British Council's English language assessment
primarily used by those seeking international education,
professional recognition, benchmarking to international standards
and global mobility.
Internship: Provides supervised work experience
in an area relevant to a student's career goals. Internships can be
paid or unpaid.
Intersession: Academic terms shorter than a
traditional semester or summer session, generally between semesters
or between the summer session and spring and fall semesters.
Learning Site: A site designated by the
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education with the function and
responsibility of ensuring that higher education needs are met
either through programs offered by a designated institution or
imported courses from other institutions.
Legacy: When a student applies to, or attends,
a school that a parent graduated from. Some schools give
preferential admission (see Preferential Admission) to applicants
whose parents or grandparents attended the same institution.
LOR: Letter of Recommendation. Nearly all
colleges and universities require that potential students include
one or more LORs with their applications. Good sources for LORs
include counselors, teachers, coaches, military officers, public
officials, top executives of major corporations, and officials from
charitable organizations that the student has volunteered with.
Lower-Division Course Work: Courses generally
taken in the freshman and sophomore year and numbered at the 1000
and 2000 levels.
LSAT: Law School Admission Test: The LSAT is
required for admission to most law schools.
M.A.: Master of Arts degree. This degree
follows a bachelor's degree. It generally takes two years to
complete a master's degree, but some people are able to complete it
in one year, while others take longer than two years.
Major: An academic subject area such as
economics or geology in which students take many courses and choose
to earn a degree. Some students choose a major before starting
college, while others wait until the end of their second year.
Mandatory Fees: Fees required of all students
for enrollment at an Oklahoma higher education institution and used
to support the institution and support service facilities.
Mandatory fees include, but are not limited to, library fees,
technology services fees, student activity fees and assessment
Master's Degree: A graduate degree that follows
a bachelor's degree; may be required before earning a doctoral
MCAT: Medical College Admission Test. The MCAT
is required for admission to most medical schools.
Minor: An area of interest studied at the same
time as a major. It requires fewer courses than a major.
M.S.: Master of Science degree. This degree
follows a bachelor's degree. It generally takes two years to
complete a master's degree, but some people are able to complete it
in one year, while others take longer than two years.
National Merit Scholarship Program: Program
that administers the PSAT/NMSQT exam. Students who do well on the
PSAT/NMSQT may qualify for scholarships. A few students receive
full scholarships. (see PSAT/NMSQT)
NCAA: National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The NCAA regulates and governs college and university athletics
programs. It verifies that student athletes maintain their GPA to
be eligible to play on an NCAA team.
Nonresident: Students who do not live in the
state where the school they are applying to, or attending, is
located. It also includes students who haven't lived in the state
long enough to be considered residents.
Open Admissions: A policy under which a school
admits almost all high school graduates without taking grades or
test scores into account. They also admit most students who have
earned their GED (see GED).
Part-Time Student: A student who is enrolled in
a certain number of course credits or hours which are less than
full time. For an undergraduate student, this is usually less than
12 credits or hours. For a graduate student, it is usually
less than nine credits or hours.
Ph.D.: Doctor of Philosophy degree. A Ph.D. is
a graduate degree, often following a master's degree, and also
referred to as a doctorate. Sometimes referred to as a "terminal
degree" when it's the highest degree possible in a given field.
Ph.D.s typically take three years to complete.
Preferential Admission: Gives preference to
students from certain groups, such as state residents, members of
supporting churches, or students whose parents went to the same
Prerequisite: A course which a student must
successfully complete before he or she can enroll in another
(usually more challenging) course. For instance, first-year math
might be a prerequisite for second-year math.
Professional Student: A student majoring in
what are considered the professional degrees. These include
Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), Law (J.D. or LL.B.), Medicine (M.D.),
Engineering, Business Administration (MBA), Nursing (B.Sc.N.),
Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and more.
Program: A sequentially organized series of
courses and other educational experiences designed to culminate in
an academic degree or certificate. The terms "instructional
program," "academic program" and "course of study" are considered
Proprietary/Trade School: A privately owned or
out-of-state institution offering courses in Oklahoma. This type of
school prepares students for direct entry into an occupation or
PSAT: Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test.
The PSAT is usually taken in 10th or 11th grade, and is part of a
student's preparation for the SAT.
PSAT/NMSQT: The Preliminary SAT/National Merit
Scholarship Qualifying Test. It is used to determine the recipients
of National Merit Scholarships. It is also a practice test for
freshmen, sophomores and juniors for the SAT, like the PSAT. Only
juniors may qualify for NMSQT.
Public Liberal Arts University: An institution
that grants bachelor's degrees in arts and science fields,
including humanities. A public liberal arts university tends to
have smaller class sizes that facilitate close interaction between
faculty and students. Oklahoma's public liberal arts
university is the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in
Recognized National Accrediting Agency: An
accrediting agency that is recognized by the secretary of the U.S.
Department of Education as a reliable authority as to the quality
of higher education institutions under Code of Federal Regulations
34 CFR, Part 602. The secretary periodically publishes in the
Federal Register a list of recognized accrediting agencies and the
scope of each agency's recognition, i.e., the types of institutions
the agency may accredit, the degrees and certificates awarded, the
geographic area, and the preaccreditation status(es) that the
secretary has approved for recognition.
Regional Accrediting Agency: A nationally
recognized accrediting agency whose geographic scope has been
defined by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education to
include at least three states that are contiguous or in close
proximity to one another. Regional accreditation is a voluntary,
nongovernmental organization that establishes criteria for
educational quality in the geographic region. The Higher Learning
Commission (HLC) accredits public and private institutions in
Oklahoma. The HLC evaluates institutions based on Eligibility
Requirements and the Criteria for Accreditation and accredits those
institutions that meet these requirements.
Regional University: A university that offers
bachelor's and master's degrees, and in some instances, associate
or professional degrees. While regional universities focus
primarily on instruction, they are also responsible for extension
and public service, as well as some research. They tend to have
mid-sized student populations and campuses. The public regional
universities in Oklahoma are:
- Cameron University, Lawton and Duncan
- East Central University, Ada
- Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa
- Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Broken Arrow and
- Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva, Enid and
- Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Goodwell
- Rogers State University, Bartlesville, Claremore and Pryor
- Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant and Idabel
- Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford and
- University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond
Remedial/Developmental Courses: Zero-level
courses that do not carry college credit and are designed to raise
students' competency in the subject area to the collegiate
Research University: A university that grants
bachelor's, graduate and professional degrees and offers a wide
variety of courses and degree programs. Along with instruction,
research institutions also focus on research, extension and public
service. Research universities usually have large student bodies
and expansive campuses. Oklahoma's two research universities are
Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma.
Resident: One who has lived continuously in a
state for at least 12 months duration and whose domicile is in that
state. A person's domicile is his or her true, fixed, permanent
home or habitation. It is the place where he or she intends to
remain and to which he or she expects to return. A person can have
more than one residence, but only one domicile. Domicile has two
components: residence and the intention to remain. When these two
occur, domicile is established.
Residential College: A college at which
students may live on campus in dormitories or apartments.
Retention/Graduation Grade Point Average (GPA):
The average of a college student's earned grades calculated by
point values assigned to letter grades that is used to determine a
student's eligibility to remain enrolled or graduate from an
institution. Activity courses and forgiven course work are not
calculated in the retention/graduation GPA. This GPA may be used
for financial aid or eligibility purposes, admission to graduate or
professional programs, or to determine eligibility for graduation
honors. (see Cumulative GPA)
ROTC: Reserve Officers Training Corps. This is
a program in which the military pays a student's tuition or other
expenses. The student takes part in summer training while in
college and commits to military service after college.
SAT: Scholastic Assessment Test. The SAT
measures mathematical, critical reading and writing skills.
Students take this test during their junior or senior year. Many
colleges require SAT scores as part of their application
Semester: Calendar system used by colleges and
universities. The standard and traditional academic calendar unit
which consists of a minimum of 16 weeks, excluding enrollment,
orientation and scheduled breaks.
Specialty Accrediting Agency: An agency,
recognized by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education,
that conducts accrediting activities to evaluate the quality of
academic programs in specific programmatic areas.
Spring Semester: An academic term that begins
in January and ends prior to the first of June.
Standardized Test (ACT or SAT): Test used by
colleges and universities to evaluate an applicant's academic
skills and abilities. The standardized tests most widely used by
colleges and universities are the ACT and SAT. Oklahoma state
colleges and universities rely primarily on the ACT.
State (Public) Colleges and Universities:
Colleges and universities that receive funding from state taxes to
pay part of operating costs.
Subject Area Test: Standardized tests given by
the ACT program in math, science, reading and English. Public
colleges and universities look at these test scores when helping
students enroll in courses.
Summer Session: An academic term that begins
about the last week in May or the first week in June and ends late
July or early August.
Syllabus: The program and requirements for a
TASC: Test Assessing Secondary Completion. In
some states, this exam can be taken by people who did not graduate
from high school.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
(TESOL): An academic discipline for preparation of
teachers who will teach English to non-native English speakers.
Technical Branch: Institution that has a
special emphasis on education and training in technical fields.
Some technical branches offer academic courses and programs, but
not all institutions offer two-year programs (nontechnical) that
lead to an associate degree that transfers to universities.
Oklahoma's two technical branches are Oklahoma State University
Institute of Technology in Okmulgee and OSU-Oklahoma City.
Vocational-education program offered by an institution of higher
education with curricular patterns designed to focus on a specific
career and lead to direct employment in that career field.
Technology Center: A school that prepares
students to enter a specialized career, trade or vocation.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):
The Educational Testing Service's exam that measures the ability of
non-native speakers of English to use and understand North American
English as it is spoken, written and heard in college and
university settings. Many schools require students whose main
language is not English to take this test. The test covers all
aspects of English-language ability, including spoken English and
Traditional Off-Campus Courses and Programs:
Courses taught for credit at a location that is remote from the
main campus of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education
college or university and is not considered part of the college's
or university's physical plant.
Transcript: Official document, issued by an
institution, with student information that is a complete and
accurate reflection of a student's academic career. Includes
information such as cumulative and retention/graduation GPAs,
semesters of attendance, courses taken, grades and credit hours
earned, degrees received, academic standing, academic honors and
transfer information. Students may need to include a copy of their
high school transcripts with college applications. Copies of
college transcripts may be needed when transferring to different
colleges or universities.
Transfer Credit: Credits earned by students at
institutions accredited by a regional accrediting agency or by the
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education are accepted for
transfer at face value into like programs at institutions in the
Oklahoma State System of Higher Education (and on a voluntary basis
by private/independent institutions) consistent with the State
Regents' Undergraduate Transfer and Articulation Policy. Credits
earned by a student at an institution accredited by a recognized
national accrediting agency may be reviewed on a course-by-course
basis for possible transfer to an institution in the State System
(and on a voluntary basis by private/independent institutions).
Transfer Student: Any undergraduate student
with greater than six attempted credit hours, excluding
remedial/developmental (zero-level courses) or pre-college work and
excluding credit hours accumulated by concurrently enrolled high
Tribal College: A college controlled and
operated by a Native American tribe that provides accredited
degrees and/or vocational training for both Native American and
non-Native American students. Tribal colleges include Native
American culture, language and/or traditions in their course
Trimester: Calendar system used primarily by
the state's technical branches. Classes and grade reports are
divided into three periods, each lasting about 10 weeks.
Tuition: Payment that students make to cover
costs of their classes at public and private colleges and
universities. Other fees may be also required.
Two-Year College: See Community College.
Undergraduate Student: A student working toward
an associate or a bachelor's degree or a certificate.
University: A higher education institution that
usually offers bachelor's degrees, as well as degrees beyond the
baccalaureate level (i.e. graduate and professional degrees). They
may also offer associate degrees.
University Center: Institution with flexible
admission standards that provides higher education opportunities to
citizens in the areas surrounding the center. The center works with
various colleges and universities to provide undergraduate and
graduate courses, and students can earn associate, bachelor's or
master's degrees. Oklahoma's university center is University Center
at Ponca City.
University Transfer Program: A program in which
students complete the first two years of a four-year degree program
at a two-year college, and then transfer to a four-year college for
the last two years of the degree program.
Upper-Division Course Work: Courses generally
taken in the junior and senior year and numbered at the 3000 and
Vocational School: Offers programs that prepare
students for specific careers, trades or vocations.
Waitlist: A list of remaining qualified
applicants who could take the place of students who have been
offered admission to a college but decide not to attend.
Work-Study Programs: Provide students with
part-time jobs during the school year as part of their financial
aid package. The jobs are often located on campus.