Glossary | ECTC


Since you’re new to college, you might be unfamiliar with some of the terms we use. Here’s a handy cheat sheet to help you translate academic language into English.


Associate Degree: A degree that you earn after completing a program of full-time-equivalent college work lasting at least two years and less than four. Associate in Arts (AA) and Associate in Science (AS) degrees are designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university, and they require that you complete at least 60 credit hours. To earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS), you need to complete a technical/career program that includes 60 to 68 credit hours. All associate degrees require a cumulative GPA of 2.0 (a C average).

Bursar’s Office: The office that handles financial transactions such as payments and financial aid.

Career Pathways: A series of educational programs and services designed to prepare high school students and adults for employment and advancement in targeted jobs.

Concurrent Enrollment: Dual credit courses or programs offered at a high school.

Course Numbers: All courses are identified by numbers, usually consisting of three digits; for example, Freshman English might be 101. The first digit indicates the class year in which the subject is usually taken. A course number beginning with 0 does not offer credit hours toward a degree.

Credit Hour: College courses are usually measured in terms of credit hours. To earn one credit hour, you attend class for one classroom hour (usually 55 minutes) per week for the whole semester (usually 16 weeks) or the equivalent in an accelerated term. You’ll need to complete a specific number of credit hours to earn a degree, diploma, certificate or other formal award.

Degree Requirements: The requirements you’ll need to meet in order to complete your program of study. Requirements may include a minimum number of credit hours, minimum GPA, prerequisite and elective courses within the specified major, and/or minor areas of study.

Dual Credit: A college-level course of study that allows high school students to earn both high school and college credit for the same course.

Dual Enrollment: A program that allows high school students to enroll in courses at a college campus and earn college credit (but not high school credit).

Electives: College courses that are not required for your degree or certificate, but that can count toward your credit requirements. Most programs offer a list of electives to choose from.

Enroll/Register: The process of signing up for classes each semester.

Final Exams (Finals): Final exams give you an opportunity to show what you’ve learned over the course of the semester. They usually take place during the last week of classes, often at a different day and time than your regular class time. The final exam schedule is usually listed in the course syllabus.

Full-Time Enrollment: A full-time student is enrolled in 12 or more credit hours in a semester. A part-time student is enrolled in less than 12 credit hours in a semester.

Grade Point Average (GPA): Your grade point average provides a snapshot of your grades across all of your courses. Each letter grade has a point value: A = 4 points, B = 3 points, C = 2, D = 1 and E = 0. To determine your grade points for each course, multiply the number of points your grade is worth by the number of credits the course carries. Thus a B (three points) in a three-credit course is worth nine grade points; an A in the same three-credit course is worth 12 grade points. The grade point average is determined by adding the total grade point values for all courses and dividing by the total number of credits taken during the same period of time.

Hold: We put a hold on your academic record when you have an outstanding obligation such as an unpaid bill. The hold is released when you have met the obligation. If you have a hold on your record, you will not be permitted to register for classes, order transcripts or receive any other services from the college until the hold is released.

Hybrid Classes: A hybrid course combines online learning with face-to-face instruction. Specific class schedules and structures can vary from one class to another, but they generally include online assignments and discussions as well as required labs.

Midterm Exams (Midterms): During the middle of each semester, your instructor may give a midterm exam to test you on the material covered during the first half of the semester. Some classes have only two tests, a midterm and a final.

Prerequisite: A requirement you have to meet before you can enroll in a course.

Syllabus: For each course you take, you’ll receive a syllabus that outlines the expectations, policies, deadlines and requirements for the course. It also provides relevant information about the college, division and academic department that offers the class.

Transcript: Your transcript is your permanent academic record. It includes information such as courses taken, grades earned, academic status and honors received.

Withdrawal: Dropping a course or courses after the published add/drop period in a given semester. Withdrawing from a course will result in a W on your transcript.