Accreditation: Accreditation is a voluntary process of higher education oversight that serves to assure the public of the institution’s quality and to promote continuous institutional improvement. In Massachusetts, the organization that oversees the accreditation process is the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. An institution that has gone through the accreditation process is called an accredited institution.
Admissions: Being accepted into an institution, college, or program once the entrance requirements are met. Some admissions are limited by spaces available, and by selection criteria. The basis of admission is the evidence, primarily academic, on which your admission decision is based, for example your high school record, college credits, GPA, etc.
Advanced placement courses (AP): College-level courses taught in high school. Students may take an examination at the completion of the course; some colleges accept certain scores as college credit or advanced standing.
Applied Degree: A degree in an applied subject such as allied health and computer information systems. Applied degrees are career-focused, and coursework is directed at occupational training and development.
Basis of Admission: See Admissions.
Core Requirements: See General Education Courses.
Credit: The value given to a course. May be related to the number of hours of instruction. The majority of academic courses are worth three credits. Associate degrees generally require 60 or more credits and bachelor’s degrees require 120 or more credits.
Developmental Coursework: Instructional courses designed for students who need additional coursework to meet an instutition's required subject knowledge. This is sometimes referred to as Remedial Coursework.
Distribution Requirements: See General Education Courses.
Dual Enrollment: A program through which high school students may enroll in college courses while still enrolled in high school. Students are not required to apply for admission to the college in order to participate.
Exemption: The waiving of a prerequisite or required course for students who have proven they have comparable learning. The student may be required to replace the prerequisite course with an alternate course.
Financial Aid: Grants, loans, assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, tuition waivers, tuition discounts, veteran's benefits, employer aid (tuition reimbursement) and other monies (other than from relatives/friends) provided to students to meet expenses.
FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the form used by the U.S. Department of Education and most all colleges and universities to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid. The form may be completed electronically. Note: Deadlines for completing the FAFSA may differ from the institution’s admissions deadline.
GPA or Grade Point Average: The average overall grade for all courses taken for credit in a particular semester, year or institution. A cumulative GPA is the average of all grades for courses taken to date at one institution. Note: During the transfer process, you may have two GPAs: one calculated by your current institution, and your GPA as re-calculated by the transfer institution. The calculation by the institution you are applying to is called the admission GPA, and this number may be different than what your current institution reports as your GPA.
General Education Courses: Courses designed to introduce students to the fundamental knowledge, skills and values essential to the study of academic disciplines; in some instances any prerequisite or supporting course requirements for the major can be taken and counted as general education requirements. Also referred to as Core Requirements or Distribution Requirements.
Non-credit Course: A course taken for learning value rather than for credit. A grade may be assigned, but the course is not usually applicable to degree requirements.
Native Student: A student is native to the institution where they begin their college career.
Registration: The process of enrolling in individual courses after completion of all required admission procedures.
Remedial Coursework: See Developmental Coursework.
Syllabus (Syllabi): A description of the main content, organization and expected outcomes of a course, normally including the number of credits awarded, hours of class time, how students are evaluated, assignments, and texts.
Transcript: An official record of student performance showing all schoolwork completed at a given school and the final mark or other evaluation received in each portion of the instruction. Transcripts often include an explanation of the marking scale used by the school.
Upper Division (or Upper Level): Courses at the 300-level or above, usually taken during the later portion of a bachelor’s degree. Institutions and programs have requirements for how many upper division/upper level courses you need to take.