#047 – College Lingo – Can You Talk the Talk?

So many mysterious terms and acronyms to understand when your student heads off to college! In this episode Vicki and Lynn define and discuss several of the insider terms that colleges use that may not be clear to parents. We cover topics from FERPA through disability laws, admission waitlists and various faculty roles. We’re only scratching the surface of this new language, but it should get you started being able to understand and Talk the Talk.

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We’ve often said that entering college is like entering another world – both for students and their parents. And when you enter another world, you need to learn the language!  So many college terms may be unfamiliar to parents and to students. Students often pick up many of them in their daily interactions on campus, but what about parents? What do you do when your student comes home and seems to be speaking a language you don’t understand?

In this podcast episode, we address several of these important terms. We were only able to scratch the surface, but we took the time not only to define the terms, but to explain what they are and why they matter.

Because we were only able to get started here, we recommend that you check out the Glossary of Helpful College Terms through the Resources tab on the website. We have more than 45 terms to get you started.

It was difficult to decide where to start, but in this episode we talked about the following terms:

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

Parental Notification


Admission Waitlists

Faculty ranks and positions

Academic Advisor

Even if you are familiar with many of these terms, we think you’ll learn something helpful. Follow the links above to read more about some of these terms if you want to dig a little deeper.

We also mentioned a wonderful book about the admission process.  If you have a high school student, you should read Who Gets in and Why by Jeffrey Selingo. 

Another great way to learn some of the terms specific to your student’s college is to spend time reading the College Catalog. This will explain many of the terms and policies of the institution.

Don’t forget that you can listen to all of our previous podcast episodes here or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also go to followthepodcast.com/collegeparentcentral to add our podcast so that you’ll receive each new episode as we release it.

Let us know what you’d like to hear about on future podcasts! Leave a comment here or email us at podcast@collegeparentcentral.com.

And finally, a request for your help. Podcast ratings and reviews are important to help our podcast become visible to more people who might want or need the information we share. We’ve made it even easier for you to leave us a review! Simply go to lovethepodcast.com/collegeparentcentral and leave us rating or review.

Note: Some links in our post are for affiliate products. If you use our links, College Parent Central receives a small percentage of your purchase price. This does not change the cost to you.  We think it’s only fair to let you know that.

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2 thoughts on “#047 – College Lingo – Can You Talk the Talk?”

  1. I would like insights on how to help your student/child deal with the sting that fraternity rush can bring, when cut from his first choice, his friends pledge & he didn’t, etc. Difficult when 1st semester freshmen are trying to transition from home to college and after 1 or 2 weeks on campus, IFC Rush comes along and hands most of them some rejection during the process and upends initial friendships. It’s a pretty rude awakening and can undermine their confidence at a critical time as well as distract them from other campus opportunities, right at the beginning of their college experience.

    • Rubinmt – You make some very important points here. Fraternities and sororities add such complex social layers to the already difficult transition to college. We’ll try to explore some of this in a future podcast. In the meantime, all parents can really do is help students understand that there is life beyond the fraternity (which isn’t going to be an easy job) and help them think about ways to seek out new friends. Even without fraternities and sororities, those initial friendships often shift. It’s difficult at the time, but sometimes the later friendships are the most enduring because they are based on common values. Listen a lot and allow your student to be sad for a while then talk about ways to move on.


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