Dictionary For The Modern College Student

Twenty-one terms every student should know
By UW Colleges

It's no secret college is a big step into an unfamiliar world. A new school, new professors, new responsibilities and new routines are a lot to handle. And if that wasn't enough, there are a whole bunch of new words you'll be learning, too.

Some will deal with paying for college (FAFSA, Bursar), others will help you succeed in planning your future (guaranteed transfer program, work-study) and others are essential to the college experience (all-nighter). Whether you're heading into your first semester or your last, here are some essentials:

Photo of a library shelf with books

Add/Drop A Course: College students have a chance to add or drop a class after the semester has already started. If you see a class you want to get into, or feel like you need to drop one, check in with your advisor and make note of the add/drop deadlines first! 

Advising: Meeting with an academic advisor to discuss your classes, college goals and career planning. Our academic advisors can help you find your path and succeed in your higher education journey. 

Advising and Registration (A/R): Sessions designed for new students to help them register for classes. Students should keep an eye on their email for available sessions, and sign up for one that fits their schedule. 

All-Nighter: When a student stays up all night to cram for an exam or presentation. Many college students have either experienced an all-nighter themselves or know someone who has. Please note, we do not recommend all-nighters as a study strategy. Here are some better study tips from our professors

Application: The process by which students apply to gain entry into a college or university. UW Colleges accepts applications on a rolling basis, so you can apply and take the next step in your journey anytime.

Photo of student in striped shirt working on homework

Bursar: The Bursar handles the financial affairs of a college or university. If you have questions about paying tuition, scholarships or work-study payments, chances are you'll be talking to someone in the Bursar's office. 

College Athletics: Athletic competitions between colleges. Students at UW Colleges can participate in a number of sports depending on the campus.  

Credit Hour: The number of hours assigned to a specific class, which usually coincide with how many hours per week you are in class. Credit hours determine whether you're a full- or part-time student and are taken into account for graduation. 

Enrollment: Signing up for classes. After you've applied and been accepted, it's time to pick out your classes. Set up an advising and registration session so a campus advisor can help you choose your classes based on your degree.  

FAFSA: An acronym that stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All college students can submit this application to determine their eligibility for financial aid like loans, grants and more. 

Photo of soccer trophy

Financial Aid: Any scholarship, grant, loan or work-study payment intended to help a student pay for college expenses. Aid can come from the federal government, campus foundations, local businesses and other sources.  

Guaranteed Transfer Program: A program that ensures a UW Colleges student admission to a four-year UW school of their choice. This track allows students to save thousands on tuition while working toward a bachelor's degree. 

Marathoning: When a student spends hours studying for a test, preparing for a presentation or writing an essay. College can be challenging and sometimes a marathon session is necessary. 

Office Hours: Time your professor sets aside to meet to talk about homework, exams, readings or anything related to the course. Successful students take advantage and make the most of office hours! 

Prerequisite: A course that is required before you take a higher-level course. For example, if you're interested in taking Calculus, you'll need to finish the prerequisite College Algebra and Trigonometry courses.

Photo of student listening to a lecture

Solution Center: Your one-stop shop for advising, health and wellness issues, paying for college, and just about anything related to school outside of the classroom. Stop in at a Solution Center soon and get acquainted! 

Student Orgs: Groups on campus organized and made up of students relating to a variety of interests. Each UW Colleges campus has a range of organizations from student government to astronomy clubs, so you're sure to find something interesting.  

Syllabus Week: Typically refers to the first week in the semester, where syllabi are handed out and explained, but before the "real work" starts. Each class is important in college, so start your semester off on the right foot and make sure you're present for syllabus week! 

Tutoring: Teaching or instruction from campus tutors available to all students. Each UW Colleges campus has tutors in subject areas like math, English, chemistry and more. Successful students often work with tutors to stay on top of course material and prepare for exams. 

UCard: The campus ID card for all UW Colleges students. You can use your UCard for a variety of services like printing materials, checking out library items and paying for food in the cafeteria. Learn more about how to get your UCard today! 

Work-Study: A program run by the campus that allows students to work part-time while attending college. It's one more way UW Colleges makes higher education affordable.