College Lingo for College Parents: Talk the Talk!

Every profession, activity, or area of interest has its own jargon or set of specialized vocabulary.  College is no different.  College administrators, faculty members and students develop a set of short-hand terms that can be confusing to those not familiar with them.  As a college parent, you may be surprised at how quickly your college student will pick up the appropriate lingo.

If your college student slips into “college-speak” and you don’t understand what she is talking about – ask!  She may express impatience, but she’ll probably explain.  However, if you want to be able to at least begin to talk-the-talk, here are five terms to get you started.  Please remember that there may be some variation in the use of these terms at various institutions.

Academic Advisor

The student’s Academic Advisor is a faculty or staff member assigned to assist the student with her academic planning.  This faculty or staff member can help the student navigate the often confusing requirements and procedures for completing her degree, registering for classes, choosing a major, and choosing appropriate courses.  Students who work closely with their advisors often avoid costly mistakes.

FAFSA

If your child is already in college, or has been accepted to college, you are probably already familiar with this term.  It is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  This is the starting point for almost all financial aid.  Even if you will not be applying for federal aid, most colleges require that you complete this form in order to apply for any financial aid, scholarships, or grants.

FERPA

The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law which protects the privacy of student educational records.  This gives parents certain rights regarding their child’s educational records.  It is important for parents to realize, however, that these rights transfer to the student once he turns eighteen or attends a school beyond high school.  This means that, without written permission from your son or daughter, you will probably not have access to his academic records – including his grades.  It also means that, without that written permission, faculty members and administrators of the college are legally prohibited from discussing your child’s progress with you.

GPA

Sometimes referred to as the Cumulative Grade Point Average (sometimes also called a “cum”), this is a way of calculating the college student’s overall grade average.  Most often, colleges will calculate grades on a 4 point scale with 4 being equal to an A.  Therefore, a 4.0 is an A+, a 3.5 a B+, 3.0 a B and so forth.

Pre-Req.

Pre-requisites are courses that students are required to take prior to registering for an upper level course.  Some courses may have no pre-requisites and some courses may have several introductory level courses required before the student may take them.

Don’t be intimidated by college terminology or “lingo”.  If you’re not sure what something means, ask!  You’ll be “talking college” before you know it.

We address additional lingo in other posts.  Be sure to read College Lingo – Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.  Yes, there’s lots of lingo!

1 thought on “College Lingo for College Parents: Talk the Talk!”

  1. The FERPA information is really valuable. It runs dramatically counter to the educational “contract” reinforced from kindergarten through high school where the expectation is that the school will be in close contact with the parents, and that academic and social issues will be shared. It’s good to know that this policy does NOT automatically extend into the college experience.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Log In

or

Log In to Favorite articles and Post listings

Enter College Name to See Local Results

Log In

Contact Us

Forgot your password?

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

Find Your School

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
OR
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Please enter First Name Please enter Last Name Please enter Phone
Please enter Email
Please enter Message

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

Please enter Email

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Success, your registration has been submitted

An email has been sent to you with a link to verify your registration
Image not available.
By clicking Get Started or Sign In you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service
%d bloggers like this: