Academic Advisor:

An academic advisor is a professional at a college or university who assists a student in making choices concerning what courses to take, when to take them (sequence), how many credits it is advisable to take (course load), what major to pursue, and so forth.

Academic Calendar:

Calendar refers to the way in which a college divides an academic year for classes and grading. Calendars usually run from August to December and January to May, with an additional summer calendar.

Academic Dismissal:

Academic Dismissal means expulsion from an institution of higher education for reasons such as poor academic performance (poor grades), failure to comply with regulations, or academic dishonesty. Students may not transfer between or take courses at UMS campuses for a period of two years after the dismissal.

Academic Forgiveness:

Academic forgiveness is the removal of a portion or an entire transcript from a student’s academic record, due to failed or underachieving semester(s). Generally academic forgiveness will only be considered after a period of years has passed.

Academic Standards:

These standards are expectations and requirements, such as the requirement to
maintain a certain grade point average, that students must comply with in order to remain in good standing at an institution of higher education. Academic standards may also include the requirement to adhere to an academic code of conduct and would also typically address issues such as academic dishonesty, plagiarism, etc.

Academic Year:

Academic year refers to the annual schedule of each institution. Academic years are usually divided into quarters, semesters or trimesters. (Note: All public institutions of higher education in Maine operate on the semester system.)


When an institution of higher education is accredited, such an institution must meet specific requirements with respect to its academic programs, facilities, qualifications of faculty members, etc. to be certified by a national or regional accrediting agency. Usually, an institution must be accredited by an agency recognized for the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in order for its students to receive financial aid.

Admission Requirements:

Admission requirements refer to an institution’s specific requirements students must meet to be considered for admission. These requirements may include a student’s high school and/or college grade point average, standardized test scores, high school courses taken, etc.

Advanced Placement (AP):

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are college-level courses designed by the College Board, Inc. which are offered in high school. It may be possible for students with high scores on standardized tests given at the end of an AP course to be placed into more advanced college courses. It may also be possible for such students to receive college credit for beginning-level courses. Students should consult with each institution of higher education to find out more about an institution’s unique policies and procedures concerning AP courses.

Advanced or Early Registration:

A period of time set by colleges during which students are able to register for classes early.


A formal agreement between the UMS and Maine Community College system for students enrolled in the A.A. Liberal Studies at any one of the Maine community colleges. Details may be found at: http://www.advantageu.me.edu/ (External Site)

Application Fee:

An application fee is a sum of money charged to process a student’s application for admission to an institution. Such a sum is not normally credited toward tuition or required fees, nor is it refundable if the student is not admitted to the institution. In some cases, this fee may be waived if a student shows financial need. Whether or not a waiver is available is determined by each individual institution.

Applied Baccalaureate:

This type of degree is designed to build upon applied associate’s degrees once considered as terminal. The combination of technical and upper-division coursework prepares students for higher-level job opportunities related to their area of technical expertise. Examples of applied baccalaureates include degrees in Manufacturing Technology, Engineering Technology, and Industrial Technology.


Articulation is a process whereby one college or university compares the content of its courses and/or programs to those at another college or university and determines transferability of college credit.

Articulation Agreement:

Articulation agreements are formal agreements reached between two institutions to allow course credit which is earned at one institution to be accepted or transferred to another institution. Some articulation agreements may require a student to have a specific GPA in order for course credit to be accepted or transferred. Students should always check with the individual institution as to its specific policies and procedures.

Associate’s Degree:

This type of degree is granted after a student successfully completes a program of required courses of at least 60 credits.

Asynchronous Learning:

This form of learning is used in distance education, usually for online classes. With this form of learning, there is no time requirement for transmitting assignments and the start and end dates of a course can be assigned on an individual basis, which allows students to complete coursework and submit assignments at their own pace (see “Distance Education”)

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Bachelor’s Degree or Baccalaureate Degree:

This type of degree is granted by a college or university after a student successfully completes a program of required courses of at least 120 semester credits.

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A college or university catalog is a definitive source of information about the institution, courses, faculty, costs, admissions requirements, degree requirements, and other institution-specific information. Nearly all catalog information is available online. Some institutions no longer print hard-copy catalogs.


This type of credential is granted by colleges after completion of a specific list of courses pertaining to an occupation or focused subject specialization. The length of time and number of credits required to obtain a certificate varies according to the type of credential sought.

Class Standing:

Class standing is the official year in school based on college credits earned (i.e., Firstyear, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior). Students can refer to the individual institution catalog for definitions of class standing.

CLEP (College-Level Examination Program):

The College Board offers 33 exams in five subject areas, covering material taught in courses that you may generally take in your first two years of college. Most CLEP exams are designed to correspond to one-semester courses, although some correspond to full-year or two-year courses.


This term refers to an institution of higher education which offers programs of study that lead to an academic degree. The term “college” can also refer to a division within a larger university.

College-Preparatory Subjects:

These subjects are required for admission to, or recommended as preparation for, college.


The commencement (or commencement exercise) is a formal graduation ceremony that recognizes students who have completed degree requirements, at which time the institution confers a degree upon the student.

Concurrent Enrollment:

Some institutions of higher education allow high school students to take college courses in order to earn college credit while still in high school. If concurrently enrolled, the student earns college, but not high school, credit for the courses in which the student is enrolled. In Maine, such programs can be called Aspirations, Early Study, Early College, etc.

Conditional Admission:

At times, an institution may admit a student who has not met all requirements for full admission with the provision that such a student fulfill specified requirements before or during enrollment. Conditional or provisional admissions requirements vary from institution to institution.


A co-requisite is a class or laboratory requirement that usually must be taken during the same academic term as another course.

Cost of Attendance:

The student’s cost-of-attendance is the total amount estimated that it will cost the student to attend during a period of enrollment. The financial aid offices at the institution the student is attending are responsible for calculating the student’s cost based on formulas specified by Title IV Regulations. The cost-of-attendance includes components such as tuition and fees, room and board, transportation costs, and dependent care expenses.

Course Evaluation:

A course evaluation is a survey given to students, usually at the end of each course. Students provide feedback on various dimensions of the course, including their opinions about the instructor.

Course Number:

Course numbers are those numbers assigned to courses to show their level of difficulty or depth/breadth of study. Generally, in undergraduate studies, courses that fall within the 100 and 200 range are considered as “lower division” courses, while courses falling within the 300 and 400 range are considered to be “upper division” courses.


Credit refers to how institutions measure a student’s progress toward a diploma or degree. The number of credits assigned to a course depends in part on how much time is spent in class each week. For example, most courses offered by institutions using semester calendars are worth three credits. Credits are also referred to as “credit hours” or simply “hours.”

Credit-Bearing Course:

This type of course is one that, if successfully completed, can be applied toward the number of courses required for achieving a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.

Credit Hour:

Credit hour is a unit of measure that represents the equivalent of an hour of instruction that can be applied to the total number of hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.


Curriculum refers to the available courses in a program of study at an institution of higher learning.

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A Dean is the highest officer of a division, college or school, such as the Dean of the school of Education. Deans usually report directly to a provost, chief academic officer, or, in some limited instances, to the president of a college.

Declare a Major:

To declare a major means to be accepted and officially enter into a major or area of study. See also “Major.”

Deferred Admission:

Generally, deferred admission means that an institution accepts a student but allows the student to delay beginning courses for up to one year.


A degree is an academic credential conferred by a college, university, or other
postsecondary education institution as official recognition for the successful completion of a program of study.

Degree Program:

A program (or program of study) is a set of required courses needed for a degree in a major area of study.

Degree-Seeking Student:

A degree-seeking student, also known as a matriculated student, is one who is enrolled in courses for credit and who is recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or other formal academic credential.


An academic department is an organizational unit within an institution of higher education that is comprised of the faculty of a common area of study.

Developmental Course:

A developmental course teaches basic skills needed to succeed in credit-bearing college courses. Such skills are usually those that fall into the general curricular areas of mathematics, writing, or reading (also referred to as “Remedial Course.”) Typically, developmental courses do not earn credit or transfer.


A diploma is a formal document that certifies the successful completion of a prescribed program of study.

Directed Study:

Directed Study is when a course offered in the catalog is taken independently

Disability Services:

These services are designed to provide reasonable academic accommodations and support to empower students who have disabilities to pursue competitively postsecondary education.


A discipline is a field of study.

Distance Education:

Distance education refers to courses that are taught via the Internet, through satellite technology, television/ITV, video tape. Some courses may be regularly scheduled while others may be taken when most convenient for the student’s schedule (see “asynchronous learning”).

Double Major:

This term refers to meeting the requirements for two distinct concurrent academic majors (e.g., “a double major in French and Art History.”)

Drop / Add Period:

During this time period, students are generally permitted to drop courses from their class schedules and/or add other courses. Colleges allow varying lengths of time for students to add and drop classes; the college catalog or class schedule should note the correct procedures.

Dual Enrollment / Dual Credit:

Some institutions of higher education allow high school students to take college courses in order to earn college credit while still in high school. Depending on the specific arrangements between the institution of higher education and the secondary school district, such courses may also fulfill high school graduation requirements.

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Early Admission:

In some instances, students can take standardized tests that are required by an
institution and apply for admission early in their senior year. If a student chooses to apply for early admission and is accepted, the institution guarantees a place for the student and in return, the student promises to attend that institution.


The term “elective” refers to an optional course, as opposed to one that is required. Some electives may fulfill general education requirements but normally do not count toward fulfillment of the number and type of credits required in the major field of study.


To enroll means to become a student at an institution of higher education by registering for courses and paying tuition and fees.


Equal in some way to one category of transfer credit (direct or course match, elective, departmental elective, core, general education.)

Extra-Curricular Activities:

These activities take place outside of the classroom and can contribute to a well-rounded education. Extra-curricular activities include activities such as athletics, clubs, student government, recreational and social organizations and events.

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The faculty are the professors and instructors who deliver instruction at colleges and universities.


A fee is an amount of money charged by an institution for services provided to a student. Fees are often charged for such things as lab materials, computer use, cafeteria meals, and recreational facilities, among others.

Financial Aid:

Financial aid is money provided by a source outside of the student’s family to help pay for the cost of a student’s education beyond high school. Merit-based aid is provided to students in recognition of academic ability or special skills. Need-based aid is generally given to students who do not have sufficient family resources to pay for a post-secondary education beyond high school, and whose financial circumstances and that of their families would otherwise limit their ability to pursue a post-secondary education. The federal government is the largest source of need-based aid in the U.S. Students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine whether they qualify for federal financial aid. (Also see www.fafsa.ed.gov/ (External Site) for more information.).

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Student Enrollment:

Generally, for undergraduate studies, full-time equivalent student enrollment is 12 or more credits per semester.

Full-Time Student:

A full-time undergraduate student is one who carries a minimum number of credits or hours per semester in order to be considered “full-time” by an institution. Schools on a semester calendar require at least 12-hours for full-time status, however, there may be some exceptions. Being a full-time as opposed to a part-time student can affect things such as financial aid, the time required to complete a degree, student services, and so forth.

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Grade Point Average (GPA):

The term “grade point average” or “GPA” refers to a system that is used to evaluate the overall academic performance of students. Grades are often measured on a four-point scale in which an “A” equals four points, a “B” equals three points, and so forth.


A graduate is a student who is awarded a certificate, degree or diploma from a school in recognition of completion of a course of study or degree program.

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High School Aspirations:

A program that offers resident Maine high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to experience college by enrolling in university courses.

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Independent Study:

An independent study is a course taken for credit without regular classroom instruction. This term may refer to courses that a student takes independently or through self-guided study. The student normally meets at an agreed-upon frequency with the instructor to review progress and assignments.

In-state Student:

In general, an in-state student is a legal resident of the state in which he or she attends school.


In educational parlance, the word “institution” or the phrase “institution of higher education” refers to a college, university, community college, or technical college.


The term “intercollegiate” refers to any competition or activity that takes place between different higher education institutions.


The term “interdisciplinary” refers to programs or courses which draw upon knowledge from two or more academic areas, fields, or domains.

International Baccalaureate (IB):

International Baccalaureate® (IB) courses are college-level courses which are offered (IB) courses are college-level courses which are offered in high school. It may be possible for students with high scores on standardized external examinations given at the end of an IB course to be placed into more advanced college courses. It may also be possible for such students to receive college credit for beginning-level courses. Students should consult with each institution of higher education to find out more about an institution’s unique policies and procedures concerning IB courses.


The term “internship” refers to the experience that is gained by students who work at a job, either on- or off-campus. An internship allows students to receive practical, work-based experience that is related to an area of study.

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Lower Division:

The term “lower division” is used to refer to students who are at the first-year and sophomore level. Correspondingly, courses offered for credit toward the first and second year of an undergraduate degree program, an associate’s degree program, or a technical or vocational degree below the baccalaureate, usually numbered 100 and 200, are often considered to be lower division courses.

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The term “major” (or “major area of study”) refers to a focused area of academic study. Students take many classes in the major area, gain specialized knowledge, and earn a degree in that area. A major requires successful completion of, usually, at least 30 semester credits, which must be earned with a specified minimum grade point average and may have other specific requirements as well.


The term “matriculate” means that a student has been admitted to a degree program and has enrolled in courses in an institution of higher education.


The term “minor” (or “minor program of study”) refers to an area of academic interest that is studied at the same time as a major. Minors are not “stand-alone” credentials. To complete a minor, a student must also be enrolled in a program leading to a major.

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Office Hours:

Office hours are time that is set aside by an instructor to meet with students. Some instructors have set office hours with other time available to meet with students by appointment. Usually, office hours are listed in the instructor’s syllabus.

Out-of-State Student:

In general, an out-of-state student is one who is not a legal resident of the state in which he or she attends an institution of higher education.

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Part-Time Student:

A part-time student is one who is enrolled at an institution of higher education but is taking a number of course credits that are less than full- time. Usually, a part-time undergraduate student takes less than 12 credits per semester.


The term “placement” refers to the assignment of students to appropriate classes or programs, sometimes based on a placement test given by the institution.


A portfolio is a compilation of materials created by a student that displays and explains skills, talents, experiences, and knowledge gained throughout life. Portfolios are often used when applying for a job. They may also be electronic and may contain electronic artifacts such as presentations, videos of musical, artistic or other performance. Portfolios are sometimes required for admission to specific programs and are sometimes evaluated for credit.

Postsecondary Education:

The term “postsecondary education” refers to education which occurs after high school at a public or private technical or community college, college, or university.


Pre-programs are course sequences for undergraduate students taken to prepare them for graduate work in the same area. Examples would include pre-law and pre-medicine.


A prerequisite is a beginning class (usually a required one) that prepares students for a more advanced class. Generally chemistry is a prerequisite for organic chemistry, for example.


Probation refers to the academic status of students whose GPA falls below a minimum level established by the institution.


A provost is a college or university’s chief academic officer. The provost often reports directly to the president of a college or university and oversees all of the institution’s academic-related concerns and other business related to the institution’s academic units. Additionally, the provost is often responsible for issues related to faculty hiring, retention, tenure, promotion and development.

Public College:

A public college or university is one supported by the state. Normally, the state pays a portion of the institution’s operating costs.

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The term “registrar” can refer to a person or an office. The registrar manages class schedules and academic records. This office can also be called the Office of Student Records.


Registration is the process of officially enrolling in classes for the upcoming grading period.

Remedial Course:

A remedial course is one that teaches basic skills needed to succeed in credit-bearing college courses. Such skills are often those that fall into the general curricular areas of mathematics, writing, or reading. Generally these courses are not applicable to the degree.


Requirements refer to a set of conditions that must be met in order to do something, such as to be accepted to a college, to complete a degree, etc.

Residence Hall:

A residence hall is a campus building where students live. Food services as well as social and educational activities are usually provided. Some institutions require students to live in residence halls for a certain amount of time.

Residency Requirements:

Residency requirements are rules that demand that students spend a certain amount of time taking courses on campus or living on campus. This term can also refer to the minimum amount of time a student must live in the state in order to be eligible to pay instate tuition, which is normally lower than the tuition paid by out-of-state students.

Rolling Admission:

Rolling admissions is a practice whereby institutions accept applications from students throughout the year and decide whether to admit students as soon as the required admissions materials are received.

Room and Board:

Room and board refers to the cost incurred for living in a residence hall or other campus housing (room) and for receiving meals from the institution’s food service (board).

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Satisfactory Academic Progress:

Satisfactory academic progress refers to the completion of courses according to each institution’s academic standards. Satisfactory academic progress must be shown to receive financial aid and continue in school.

Schedule of Classes:

Colleges make a Schedule of Classes available each semester. Courses are designated in the Schedule of Classes by department, course number, time and days the course meets, the room number and building name, and the instructor’s name. A class schedule is also simply a list of classes a student is taking, which includes course name and number, time and location of the class, and the instructor’s name.

Self-Designed Major:

At some colleges, working with a faculty member, students can plan an individualized major. Such programs must be approved by the appropriate college administrators.


The term “semester” refers to a specific calendar system used by some schools. Classes and grade reports are divided into two periods, each lasting approximately 15 weeks.

Standardized Tests:

Standardized Tests include, but are not limited to, CLEP, AP, DSST/DANTES, SAT, ACCUPLACER, etc..

Study Abroad:

Study Abroad programs are academic programs administered in foreign countries that students can enroll in for college credit.


A student on probation may be placed on suspension if he/she fails to maintain or achieve the minimum cumulative GPA required. A student placed on suspension will be dismissed from the college for a specified time period, usually one semester, and the student may need to meet specific requirements for re-entry back into the college or university, or to transfer to a different University of Maine System campus.

Support Services:

Support services refers to those services provided by most colleges or universities to help students in areas such as academics, veterans affairs, adult, and special needs.


A syllabus is an outline of the important information about a course written by the professor or instructor. A syllabus usually includes information about topics that will be covered, competencies to be acquired, important dates, assignments, expectations and policies specific to that course.

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Technical and Community Colleges:

These are colleges that offer certificates, diplomas, or associate’s degrees which are usually two years or less in duration for full-time students and prepare them for immediate employment or transfer to a four-year college or university.

Three-Plus-Two (3+2) Program:

Three-Plus-Two (3+2) programs are a program of study where the first three years of undergraduate study are at one college or university and the last two years of study are at the same or another institution in order to attain a bachelor’s degree.


A transcript is an official record of a student’s educational progress. The transcript may include information such as a list of classes taken, grades earned, the student’s major area of study, grade point average, and degrees earned.

Transfer Program:

A transfer program is one that prepares students to complete a degree at another institution of higher education. Junior, community, and technical colleges often have transfer degree programs that prepare students to continue their educations at colleges and universities which offer bachelor’s degrees.

Transfer Student:

A transfer student is one who changes from one college or university to another. Grades and credits from the first institution may or may not be counted at the second.


A tutor is a person who has demonstrated proficiency in a course or subject and is able to provide instruction to another student.

Two-Plus-Two (2 + 2) Program:

A two-plus-two program of study is one which consists of an associate’s degree that will transfer directly as the first two years of a bachelor’s degree in the same field of study. The second half of the program is often referred to as a “completion” program.

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An undergraduate is a college student who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, or a pre-baccalaureate certificate.


The term “university” refers to a post-secondary institution that has within it several different colleges or schools, that grants undergraduate and usually but not always graduate degrees, and that usually but not always has research facilities.


The term “upper-division” is used to refer to students who are at the junior and senior level. Correspondingly, courses offered for credit toward the third and fourth year of a four year undergraduate degree program, usually numbered 300 and 400, are often considered to be upper-division courses.

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Waiting List:

When courses are over-enrolled, students may opt to place themselves on a waiting list through the registration process.

Weekend College:

A weekend college is a program that allows students to take classes on weekends.


Work-study is a form of financial aid in which students earn money by working part-time on campus, or off campus with qualified employers. Students typically apply for work-study by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (see “Financial Aid” for more information about the FASFA).

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