Terminology 101 - a list of commonly-used phrases and acronyms used on campus

ACT: The American College Test is a standardized test that estimates a student’s readiness for college course work. Either the ACT or SAT is required for many college and university applications—but it is not a universal requirement.

Add/Drop Period: The Add/Drop or Enrollment Change period serves an important purpose for students. It allows students to remedy schedule problems, ensure that they are in appropriate classes, change their mind about a course or series of courses, or correct a situation if they realize that they do not belong.

Admissions Counselor: Admission advisors are the go-to admissions staff members for prospective students or applicants. They help guide prospective students through the process and answer questions they may have along the way.

Adult learner: This term typically refers to an older student who usually has experience in the workforce and did not necessarily attend college right after high school.

Alumni: Graduates of a school, college, or university.

AP classes: Advanced Placement courses are college-level courses taught in high school. Scoring well on the AP exam can mean receiving credit for introductory college courses.

Assistantship: Most common at graduate level, assistantships give students the opportunity to earn tuition reimbursement by working for faculty members in their area of study.

Associate's degree: Undergraduate degree that generally requires two years of full-time study.

Audit: When taking an “audit” course, students attend a class they are interested in without being required to complete assignments or take tests—giving them a chance to learn the material but not for credit.

Bachelor's degree: Undergraduate degree that generally requires four years of full-time study. Students must declare a major in a particular field of study and choose a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree path.

Bachmann: Bachmann Main Building (BMB) was the first building of classrooms and still holds the majority of Neumann's on campus classes.

Book Store/Campus Store: The Knight's Shoppe is located on the ground floor of the Bachmann Main Building. Giftware, Books and Gear sold here.

Bursar: An individual within the Business Office responsible for all student finances on campus including tuition, room and board, payment plans and meal plans.

Campus: The physical buildings and grounds owned by a college or university.

Career & Personal Development: A student resource department that helps students and alumni job-search, develop resumes, give interviews and network.

CDC: Child Development Center, a fully licensed preschool located on campus.

Center for Leadership: A collaborative and inclusive community leadership development venue where beginning and mid-level community, corporate, and non-profit emerging leaders develop practical leadership skills through a variety of programs enhancing individual and collective outcomes for the betterment of all.

Certification: A non-degree credential that proves knowledge or skill in a specific area. Valued credentials vary by industry and job title.

Charter Day: Held in March, Charter Day marks the anniversary of the official sanction from the Department of Education to become a college.

Clinical education: Often referred to as clinicals, these programs allow students to practice their skills under supervision of a practitioner. Clinical education is most common in the healthcare field.

Clubs and Orgs: Student clubs and organizations.

Cohort: A group of students working through a curriculum together towards the same degree.

College vs. university: Colleges are generally smaller institutions that focus on undergraduate education while universities are typically larger institutions that offer a greater number of graduate degree options.

Commencement: A formal graduation ceremony that celebrates graduates of the institution with their family and friends.

Common application: A platform that allows students to apply to almost 900 schools in a streamlined way.

Continuing education: This typically refers to part-time formal education for working adults. Oftentimes professional certifications may require continuing education credit.

Core courses: Include fundamental classes like English, math, general science, and history that provide a foundation for major-specific classes. The exact class requirements may vary depending on your major. Core courses may also be referred to as general education courses.

Course catalog: A college publication that describes academic programs, their majors, and minors, and required courses and their contents.

Course load: This refers to the total amount of courses a student is taking per term.

Credit for prior learning: College credit granted to students who can demonstrate knowledge gained outside of a traditional college setting that is used to satisfy course requirements. Examples can include work and life experience, independent study, or industry certifications.

Credits: A measure of a class’s time based on how many hours students spend in class, but specific numbers largely depend on the institution.

Curriculum: The knowledge, skills, lectures, assignments, tests, and presentations that make up a course. It may also refer more broadly to the courses that make up a major or academic program.

Deans: The head of a college or university faculty or department.

Dean of Students: Senior student affairs professional responsible for the experience, welfare and conduct of all students on campus

Department vs. School: An academic division specializing in an area of study like Nursing, English, Engineering or Biology. A School is distinguished by its programs. Neumann has four schools: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Services and Nursing and Health Sciences.

Dissertation: The completed thesis of a doctoral student. A long document of research and findings required to earn a doctorate.

Doctoral degree: The most advanced academic degree in most fields. Provides the graduate a high level of expertise and greater options for research, writing, teaching, and management within their specialty.

Early action vs. early decision: Both early action and early decision allow college applicants to apply earlier and find out the results sooner. Generally, students can apply to as many schools as they’d like with early action. But if you apply early decision and are accepted, you must enroll in that school.

Electives: Classes students choose to fulfill a general education requirement or just because they are interested a topic outside of their major’s core courses.

Employer education assistance benefit: A benefit some employers offer that may cover some or all of student education expenses. Details will vary depending on employer—some may have stipulations to remain eligible for the benefit.

Entrance requirements: Also called admission requirements, many colleges require applicants to submit an application, transcripts, and standardized test scores among other materials. Not to be confused with prerequisites.

Faculty: Academic staff including professors, both full-time and adjunct.

FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the form you need to fill out to get any financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college. Each year, over 13 million students who file the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education.

Federal grants vs. state grants: Grants are need-based forms of financial aid that do not need to be repaid. Federal grants are awarded through the FASFA. State grants are awarded through the student’s home state and usually have different eligibility requirements than that of the FASFA.

Neumann's Federal School Code: 0039888
Federal Student Aid assigns a number called a Federal School Code to each college that is qualified to disburse federal student aid.

FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

Final exam: Test taken at the end of a course that usually includes subject matter from the entire course.

First-generation student: A college student who is the first in their family to go to college.

Franciscan: The Franciscan intellectual tradition is rooted in the spirit and vision of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. From the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare, scholars developed a theological and philosophical tradition. Read more

General education courses: Curriculum that creates the foundation of an undergraduate degree. It generally includes lower-level courses in English, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences.

Grade point average (GPA): Represents the average of a student’s final grades in all their courses. It is calculated by adding the final grades divided by the number of credit hours, though some classes may be weighted or measured on a different scale.

Grading scale: System in which letter grades are awarded a grade point or number to help calculate GPA.

GRE: The Graduate Record Examinations is the most common standardized test required to apply for graduate programs.

Higher education: Refers to any formal schooling after high school.

Homecoming and Family Weekend: Students, family and alumni come together on campus for rich experiences and priceless memories. Typically held in October.

Honors Program: The University Honors Program (UHP) comprises 15 credits of Honors courses at the sophomore level or above (12 credits for students who participate in the Freshman Honors Program).

Hybrid degree: Also called a blended degree, hybrid programs combine traditional learning on campus with online components.

Internship vs. externship: Both are experience building opportunities for students and the terms are often used interchangeably. That said, internships can take the form of paid opportunities to work in their fields in a low-level role for an employer. Externships typically are not paid, are shorter and are often a form of job shadowing. For example, student nurses complete clinical externships under the supervision of established nurses.

John C. Ford Student Success Center @ The HUB: Located on the ground floor of the Bachmann Main Building, the Hub has Academic Advisors, Academic Coaches, Tutors, Administrators and Student -Workers, all committed to student success

Knights Café: Small grill and café located on the ground floor of the Bachmann Main Building.

Knights' Pantry: A resources for free food, necessitates and professional clothes for any student in need. Located on the fifth floor of the Rocco A. Abessinio Building.

KPB: The Knight's Programming Board is the largest event-planning student organization on campus, which is closely related to the Student Government Association.

Lecture: Oral presentation given by a professor to educate students. Sometimes this can refer to a class format that does not require lab-work hours.

Master's degree: A graduate-level degree pursued after completing a bachelor’s degree program. A master’s degree requires a year and a half to two years of full-time study and a high-level of mastery in a specific field at the completion of the program.

Matriculate: A matriculated student has been accepted for admission to the College, has registered in a major and is pursuing courses toward a degree or certificate. Students must maintain good academic standing to keep their matriculated status.

Meal Plans/Block Meals vs. Dining Dollars vs. Neumann Points: Visit the Meal Plan page to view all meal plan options.

Midterm: An exam given approximately halfway through a course term that generally covers all lecture, reading and discussion material presented so far.

Minor: A secondary focus meant to add to the value to the student’s major. A minor consists of the lower-level courses required for a major in the same discipline.

Mirenda Center: State-of-the-art gymnasium, event space, and arena; home of Sir Francis.

Net price: Calculated by taking the “sticker price” for tuition, room and board, and other fees, and subtracting any scholarships and grants the student is receiving.

Omnilert: Campus Safety's mass notification system for emergencies and critical campus information. Click here to learn more and sign up. 

Orientation: Time at the beginning of a school year that serves as a training period for new students. Typically includes activities or courses intended to help students get to know the institution and how to use available resources.

OSEL: Office of Student Engagement and Leadership - The Office of Student Engagement and Leadership supports students' academic pursuits by providing exploratory and developmental opportunities. Through programming, activities and leadership experiences, students will be challenged to engage their world with a diverse perspective, apply Franciscan values, and appreciate life-long learning.

Parent Portal: One-stop-shop for news and information. Click here to access.

Pass/Fail course: Instead of receiving a letter grade, students receive either a P or F on their transcript. Requirements for passing will vary depending on the course.

Placement test: Some colleges administer placements tests in subjects like math and English to check the academic skills of new students so they can properly place them in the right courses.

Plagiarism: Taking credit for someone else’s work as your own including copying words, sentence structure or ideas. Plagiarism has very grave consequences in higher education.

Postgraduate education: Includes higher education completed after an undergraduate degree. This includes master’s degrees and doctorate degrees.

Post-secondary: Any education, whether degree-seeking or not, pursued after high school.

Practicum: Practical application of theory learned in the classroom. Often a requirement for programs in Education, Social Work, or other clinician fields.

Prerequisites: Courses required to take more advanced courses or apply to a program.

Private college vs. public college: Public colleges and universities are funded by state governments while private colleges and universities are not publicly owned, often relying on tuition payments and private contributions to operate. Neumann is a private university.

Priority date: The date by which prospective students must submit their applications to be most strongly considered, usually for admissions and scholarships.

Probation: Academic probation means a student has fallen from good standing status and is at risk of being dismissed from the university. Institutions measure academic standing by GPA and courses passed.

Professional certificate: Certification earned outside of an academic degree program to increase specific skills or knowledge to help keep professionals current on industry trends, technology, and other topics.

Programmatic accreditation: Accreditation granted to academic programs, departments or entire schools within a university used as an independent validation of academic quality and is often tied to professional licensure exam requirements. Neumann is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

PSAT: The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test acts as both a practice test for students who will be taking the SAT for college admissions and as a way for the Collage Board to determine National Merit Scholarship Finalists.

Registrar: A specialist tasked with handling several administrative and logistical areas of academia. The registrar’s office is responsible for many administrative academic duties like registering students for classes, preparing student transcripts, preparing class schedules, and analyzing enrollment statistics.

Registration: Process of reserving a spot in specific classes for enrolled students.

Regular decision: The most common timeline for college admissions. For regular decision, most schools require prospective students to apply by early January so applicants can hear back by April 1st.

Resident Assistant: A trained peer leader who coordinates activities in residence halls in colleges and universities.

Rolling admission: Admissions departments who work on a rolling deadline evaluate applications as they receive them instead of waiting till a deadline. Students tend to hear back within 4-6 weeks.

Room and board: Term for charges stemming from on-campus food services and housing.

SAT: The Scholastic Aptitude Test is a standardized test that measures college preparedness. Either the ACT or SAT is required for many college and university applications.

Scholarship: An award given by a college, university, or outside institution to help a student pay for tuition or day-to-day expenses. Criteria varies depending on individual scholarships.

Self-directed assessment: A “test-out” opportunity where students independently complete an online course module.

SGA: The Student Government Association is the largest and premiere leadership organization on campus that advocates for student voices and plans events.

Sir Francis, The Neumann Knight: The big, burly, loveable mascot that makes his home in the Mirenda Center.

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia: The Franciscan order that founded Neumann University, originally, Our Lady of Angels College in 1965. They reside on campus and sponsor the University to this day.

Stafford loan: A direct federal loan with fixed interest rates.

Subsidized vs. unsubsidized loan: If a student receives a subsidized loan, the U.S Department of Education pays all interest accrued during school, the 6-month grace period and deferment. Students with unsubsidized loans must pay interest either while in school or have the accrued interest added to the principal loan balance.

Synchronous learning: Online classroom format where students learn together at the same time and can engage with classmates and instructors via chat rooms and video conferencing.

Tenure: Employment track for professors that essentially guarantees a permanent position at the institution (barring termination for cause or financial insolvency).

Terms vs. quarters vs. semesters: The academic year is often divided into terms—most commonly in the form of semesters or quarters. Semesters typically include a fall and spring semester and summer session that may be shorter. Quarters divide the year into four terms—each usually 10 or 11 weeks.

The RAB: The Rocco A. Abessinio Building is home to the President's offices, Human Resources, Advancement, Alumni and more. Located at the entrance of campus and donated by alumnus, Rocco A. Abessinio.

Thesis: An extensive research paper created as part of an academic program—typically at the graduate degree level.

Title IX: Title IX is a federal civil rights law in the United States of America that was passed as part (Title IX) of the Education Amendments of 1972. It prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government. Neumann's Title IX co-coordinators are the Dean of Students and the Vice President for Human Resources and Risk Management.

Traditional vs. nontraditional student: Traditional students generally attend college right after high school, are financially dependent on parents and attend full-time. While there is no set-in stone definition, “nontraditional student” typically refers to adult students (usually 25 or older) who either work full time, are financially independent, have children or attend college part-time.

Transcript: Official record of courses taken and grades earned at a given institution.

Transfer credits: Course credits carried over from one institution to another.

TRiO: Neumann University’s TRIO Student Support Services Program, federally funded by the Department of Education, provides enhanced support to income eligible, first-generation students and students with documented disabilities. The program aims to increase retention and graduation rates of participants by offering specialized services which include academic coaching, assistance with course selection, financial aid and literacy counseling, individual, reserved tutoring, career and internship counseling, and graduate school counseling. The program also offers the possibility of Grant Aid to eligible participants.

Tuition: The core price for college classes. Tuition may be listed as a flat rate for a range of credits, usually 12-18, or priced per credit.

Tutor: A more experienced student or teacher who offers one-and-one academic help usually in a specific subject.

Undecided or undeclared: A student enrolled in courses but has not yet declared a major.

Virtual Career Fair: An online career fair that allows students to network with employers and career development professionals as well as attend career workshops all free of charge.

Waitlist: A term commonly seen during registration periods. Students hoping to enroll in a full class can opt to be placed on a waitlist. This saves a place in line in case spots open up from registered students dropping or changing plans.

Waitlisted: Admissions status that is neither an offer nor rejection. Waitlisted students may be accepted to the college or university at a later time.

Withdraw: To drop a class after the add/drop grace period. Withdrawing often means receiving a W on your transcript.

Work-study program: Work-study programs help college students with financial need get part-time jobs to help pay for day-to-day expenses and tuition payments. Work-study jobs are federally- or state-funded.