College 101

A Glossary of Academic Terms

The vocabulary of college and college life can be bewildering. Concentration? GEU? Bachelor of Arts? FAFSA? College admissions staff and high school counselors use these terms every day.

What does it all mean?

Academic advisor: Your designated advisor will give you advice and general guidance on issues related to academic planning and student success. At Lyndon, he or she will help you choose classes and make sure you’re taking the right courses for your degree. All academic advisors here are full-time faculty members.

Associate’s degree: The degree typically awarded after two years of full-time study. At Lyndon, it requires 62 credits.

Audit: To register and attend a course(s) on a no-grade, no-credit basis. Students should indicate that they will audit a course when they register. Auditing requires permission of the registrar and the course instructor.

Award Package: A school’s financial aid offer; it may include scholarships, grants, and work-study.

Bachelor’s Degree: An academic program consisting of 122 credits, including completion of the General Education Unit and course requirements for each major. Programs are designed so that most students finish in four years, provided the student enrolls in and successfully completes 15–16 credits per semester.

Common App: A general application for admission accepted by more than 450 colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad. Lyndon accepts the Common App.

Course Load: The number of credit hours in which a student is enrolled for a semester. Our full-time undergraduate students must carry at least 12 credit hours.

Concentration: A narrower field of study within a bachelor degree program. Many of our bachelor degree programs have concentrations.

Convocation: The ceremony held at the beginning of the academic year to welcome students to Lyndon.

Credit Hours: In general, the number of hours per week that a class is held during a 15-week semester. For example, a three-credit course will meet for three hours of class every week. If a laboratory is required for the class, generally there are three hours of lab time per week, per credit. The number of credit hours each semester determines whether a student is considered full- or part-time.

Dean’s List: A formal recognition of academic excellence. To be on the Dean’s List, a Lyndon student must achieve a semester grade-point average (GPA) of 3.5 while enrolled in 12 or more credits per semester.

Degree: Academic title given to a student who completes the requirement for a major. We confers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

Electives: Courses that do not fulfill specific requirements toward a major or minor, but count toward the total number of credit hours needed for a degree. Students typically select electives to complement their area of interest, out of curiosity, or just for fun.

FAFSA: All students seeking financial aid must complete the Free Application for Student Aid.

General Education Unit (GEU): Courses in liberal arts and sciences that are typically introductory and provide students with general knowledge and reasoning abilities. Lyndon students must complete a minimum of 43 credits in GEU courses out of the 122 required for a bachelor’s degree.

Labs, Lab Fees: Labs are part of some courses that offer space and time for scientific practice, experimentation, investigation, and observation. Certain courses, including some that do not have “labs,” have additional fees to help offset the cost of any materials used during the class.

Liberal Arts: A broad education in the arts, humanities, math, and social and natural sciences.

Major: A broadly defined academic discipline. A student’s major typically reflects their intended career or profession, e.g. graphic arts, business, or journalism.

Minor: A secondary field of study during a college career. While a major reflects a student’s intended career, a minor reflects a student’s personal interests or particular expertise.

Prerequisite: A course that must be taken to prepare a student for a more advanced course in the same area.

President’s List: A recognition of academic excellence. To be on the President’s List, a Lyndon student must achieve a semester grade-point average (GPA) of 4.0 while enrolled in 15 or more credits per semester.

Registrar: The main office for all things related to academic records, eligibility for sports or Dean’s list, degree requirements, transcripts, and class enrollments.

Rolling Admissions: A college with rolling admissions makes decisions on admission as each application arrives. We accept applications throughout the year and notifies students as soon as a decision is made on their completed application package.

Transcript: Written record of a student’s academic performance: grades, completed courses, date of attendance, and graduation status.

Work-Study: Part-time on-campus employment for students awarded as part of a financial aid package. The money is used to help with college expenses.


Admissions Office
Vail 305