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A.A.: This stands for “Associate of Arts” degree, which can be earned at most two-year colleges.

A.A.S.: This stands for “Associate of Applied Science” degree, which can be earned at most two-year colleges.

Academic Advisor: Academic advisor helps develop meaningful educational goals that are consistent with the student’s personal interests, values and abilities.

Acceptance: This is a decision by an admission’s officer or committee to offer the opportunity for enrollment as a student at a particular institution.

Applicant: Anyone who completed a college application.

Award Letter: This is a letter from the school stating the type and amount of financial aid the school is willing to provide the student, if accepted for admission and registers as a student.

B.A. or B.S.: This is a “bachelor of arts” and “bachelor of science.” Both degrees can be earned at four-year colleges.

Catalog: A comprehensive publication that provides detailed overviews of the institution, including its mission, programs, costs, admission requirements, degree requirements, faculty and administration.

Certificate: Courses, consisting of 5 to 6 classes for credit that last from a few months to a couple of years.

College: An institution of higher learning.   Commonly referred to as a “four-year” institution, which grants the bachelor degrees in liberal arts or science or both.

Common Application: The Common Application (informally known as the Common App) makes it possible for students to use one admission application to apply to member colleges and universities.

Community College: Community colleges, sometimes called junior college, technical college, or city college.  These are primarily two-year public institutions providing higher education and lower-level courses, granting certificates, diplomas, and associate’s degrees.

Cost of Attending College: The total cost of attending college; tuition, room and board, books, transportation, fees, and personal expenses.

Credit (or Semester) Hours: Credit given for attending a lecture hour of class per week.

Demonstrated Need: This is the difference between the cost of attending a college and expected family contribution.

Developmental Education: Instructional learning designed to prepare students for college level work and to help improve basic skills.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The EFC is the amount of money a student and/or family is expected to pay towards college costs, based on the data gathered from the FAFSA.

Extracurricular: Activities done outside school or not during instructional time at school such as yearbook, band or football. Most community activities are also called “extracurricular.”

Faculty Advisor: Serve as the student’s resource for planning major requirements for graduation, exploring research programs, post-graduate and career planning opportunities once deciding a major or minor.

Faculty Office Hours: A list of weekly scheduled times a faculty member is available to meet with students outside of class instructional time.

FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is an application from all students who wish to apply for financial aid, including grants, loans and work-study awards.

Federal Pell Grant: This grant is a form of financial aid provided by the Federal government to students whose FAFSA indicates a high level of financial need.

Fees: These are charges not associated with the student’s course load, such as athletic activities, clubs, special events, health insurance, or parking passes.

Financial Aid Package: The total amount of financial aid received in federal and non-federal aid—such as grants, loans, or work-study to help pay for college.

First-Generation Student: A student whose parents did not graduate from a four-year college.

GPA: (Grade Point Average) The GPA is calculated by averaging the numerical value of a student’s grades.

Graduate Degrees: These degrees are earned beyond the bachelor’s degree when the student completes graduate school curriculum requirements.  

Graduate School: These schools offer degree programs beyond the bachelor’s degree.

Grants: This is money provided by federal or state governments, an institution, a foundation, or some other funding source to help pay for college.   No Repayment Necessary.

Instate (Resident) Student: The permanent residence is in the same state as the college or university the student hopes to attend. In-state students pay lower tuition than out-of-state students.

Institutional Grant: This is money provided by the institution and offered to students whose families are unable to pay the full cost of college. No Repayment Necessary.

Liberal Arts College: A degree-granting institution where the academic focus is on developing the intellect and instruction in the humanities and sciences.

Loan: Money borrowed to pay for college.  Loans are available to students and parents. Repayment Required.

Matriculation: The payment of deposits, tuition, fees, and other charges to enroll into college.

Major: A student’s concentrated field of study.

Merit-Based Grant: A form of money based on grade point average, academic excellence and extracurricular involvements.   No Repayment Necessary.

Minor: A student’s secondary field of study.

Need-Based Grant: This is money offered when a student or families do not earn a lot of money and are unable to pay the full cost of attending an institution. No Repayment Necessary.

Placement Tests: Examinations used to place students in mathematics, English or foreign languages courses.  SAT and ACT scores may be used in place of this test at some colleges/universities.

Prerequisite: A course that must be taken prior to enrollment in another course.

Private Institution: A college or university funded by private sources without any control by a government agency.

Proprietary Institution: Postsecondary schools that are private and are legally permitted to make a profit.

Public Institution: A college or university that receives public funding, primarily from a local, state, or national government that oversees and regulates its school.

Residence Halls: Dormitories, apartments, houses, and other living quarters provided for students by the college or university in which they are enrolled.

Scholarship: Money awarded to a student to assist paying for college. No Repayment Necessary.

Student Persistence: This is the progressing and earning credits towards graduation.

Transcript: This is the official document containing the record of a student’s academic performance and testing history.

Tuition: This is the amount of money colleges charge for classroom, instruction and the library.

University: A “post-secondary institution” that consists of a liberal arts college, and offers professional schools or faculties, and that confer degrees in masters and higher.

Vocational or Technical School: An institution similar to a community college but offers specific career-oriented programs that last from a few months to a couple of years.

WORK-STUDY PROGRAMS: This allows students to work part time during the school year as part of their financial aid package. The jobs are usually on campus and the money earned is used to pay for tuition or other college charges.