Glossary of Advising Terms

At times, deciphering college lingo can be frustrating and add stress to an already complicated situation. We hope that this glossary of terms can be used as a compass to navigate your journey through some frequently used college terms.

AA-Associate in Arts Degree

This degree is designed for students intending to complete a Bachelor’s degree.  It fulfills the general education requirements typically completed in a student’s Freshman and Sophomore years.  It requires a minimum of 60 credit hours.

Academic Progress Reinstatement

Once a student has been put on Academic Suspension, he/she must sit out a minimum of one semester before reinstatement will be considered. For students that have been placed on Academic Dismissal, a minimum of three semesters must be sat out before academic reinstatement will be considered.  To be considered for reinstatement, the student must submit an Academic Progress Petition, located on the Advising website.

Academic Progress Terms

For academic progress terms, please see the Standards of Academic Progress page.

Academic Support Center

Provide tutoring assistance for students in the subjects of Math, Reading, Writing, and Oral Communication.  Assistance is provided on a scheduled or drop-in basis.


Certification that a college meets a set of criteria established by one of six private, nonprofit, voluntary regional accrediting associations. FSW is accredited by SACSOC.


The procedure used to alter class schedules after initial registration and through the first week of the semester. During this time, students can adjust their schedule by dropping or adding a course without penalty.

Advanced Placement (AP)

A national examination through which credit may be awarded in specified subjects. The minimum passing score is required for the awarding of credit applicable toward a degree. You can find more information on AP credit here:

Articulation Agreement

State Board of Education rules that establish provisions to facilitate the smooth transition of students through the secondary, community college, and university educational systems.

AS-Associate in Science Degree

This degree is designed for students intending to enter the workforce upon completion.  It does not meet the standard general education requirements for transfer into a University Bachelor’s degree in most cases.  Certain transfer agreements are in place for some A.S. degrees and these can be discussed with an Academic Advisor.  


A college-level course taken for informational instruction only. College credit is not earned and regular fees are assessed. Testing and course pre-and co-requisites apply.

Baccalaureate (Bachelor’s)

A degree obtained by completing 120+ credit hours. The first 60 hours are usually made up of general education classes and the final 60+ hours consist of major-specific coursework.

Blended/Hybrid Course

A course that is offered partially online and partially in a classroom setting.  The in-class and online sessions will be noted in the course description as well as the syllabus provided by the instructor.  

Career Certificate

Career Certificate programs are based upon clock hours instead of credit hours. Coursework leads directly to specific jobs such as Dental Assisting.


A resource of academic policies, procedures, college and degree requirements, faculty and course descriptions, published yearly (but subject to change).

CLEP (College Level Examination Program)

CLEP is a national examination through which credit may be awarded in specified subjects. Meeting the minimum passing score is required for awarding of credit applicable toward a degree. Information is available here:

C.E.U. (Continuing Education Unit)

One C.E.U. is awarded for every ten contact hours of instruction in an organized continuing education/noncredit course.


College can mean an institution that predominantly offers associate degrees and certificates.  It can also mean the department your major falls under.  For example, college of business or college of education.  The term college as it refers to department, is more commonly used at universities. 

College Credit Certificate

A CCC focuses on a specific job or set of skills. These programs require fewer credits than an associate degree. Credits completed in a CCC will often apply to a related AS degree.

Completion Rate

A student must maintain a minimum completion rate to remain eligible for Financial Aid.  This means that the student may not fail or withdraw from courses to a point that they fall below the minimum completion rate.  This can be discussed in detail with a Financial Aid Specialist.

Continuing Education

A variety of non-credit subjects offered to the community through Florida SouthWestern State College.


A course that must be taken at the same time as another course.

Course substitution

The process through which a student petitions the College for a replacement of a required course with a course that meets a minimum of 70% of the course learning outcomes. The course must be completed at an accredited post-secondary institution with evidence of common content and learning outcomes.

Course transfer

The process of bringing in an identical, or nearly identical, course from another accredited post-secondary institution to replace a required course at FSW. The transfer evaluation process is guided by the Florida Common Course Numbering System or catalog descriptions and a syllabus.

Credit by Examination

The award of credit is based upon the demonstration of knowledge of prior learning as assessed by examination. This process may also include an assessment of professional certification. Examples include Advanced Placement, CLEP, FL EMT-B and/or Paramedic Certification, FDLE CJSTC exam, International Baccalaureate, and the National Registry Exam for Radiologic Technologists.

Credit Hour (or Semester Hour)

The credit hours reflect approximately the total hours a student spends per week in class. For example, a student enrolled in ENC 1101 (3 credits) spends approximately three hours per week for approximately 15 weeks in class.

Degree-Seeking Status

A student whose admission requirements have been fully met and who is working toward a degree.

Developmental Course

A non-credit skill development course designed to prepare a student for college-level coursework.  Students may be required to take these based upon available test scores. (e.g. MAT 0057 – Mathematics for College Success; ENC 0022 – Writing for College Success; REA 0019 – Reading for College Success)


A student may drop a course during the add/drop period. A dropped course does not appear on the permanent record. Students may drop courses online through the FSW student portal or on paper at the Registrar’s office. You can find instructions on how to drop a course here:

Dual Enrollment

Dual Enrollment students can take one or more college classes either on their high school campus, on the college campus, or online.  Dual enrollment is available to students from 6th-12th grade. Students who are 6th-10th must have at least a 3.5 unweighted, cumulative GPA and Juniors and Seniors that have a 3.0 unweighted, cumulative GPA or higher. Students must also meet the required minimum test score levels.

Early Admission

Early Admissions students must have completed their sophomore year of high school, be on track for high school graduation, and are considered full-time college students. Early Admission students do not take classes on their high school campus and have all required college-level test scores.

Elective Credit

An Associate in Arts degree requires 24 elective credits, which are credits not explicitly counting into the major’s General Education requirements.  These courses can be taken from any discipline as long as the course has been articulated to transfer.  Elective credits are commonly used to meet Bachelor’s program prerequisites. 


The Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine a student’s eligibility to receive Financial Aid.  This must be completed yearly and can be accessed at

FSW Online

The systematic effort to reach potential learners who may be excluded from the traditional classroom by constraints of time, place and/or circumstance. FSW Internet courses are an example of distance learning.

Effective Catalog

Contingent upon a student’s continuous enrollment, the catalog in effect at the time a student first enrolls governs the student’s graduation requirements.


A non-refundable financial charge for services rendered, such as laboratory fees or special tests.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides protection of student records.  Once a student enrolls at FSW, only he or she has access to his/her records.  Permission for others (parents, for example) to access/edit the student’s records can be given if the student signs a release form which can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office.

Foreign Language Requirement

A requirement  for completion of the Associate in Arts degree, Florida’s state universities, and the baccalaureate programs at Florida SouthWestern State College. State Colleges and Universities generally require two years of the same foreign language at the high school level, or at least 8 credit hours at the community college level.

Full-time Status

Enrollment in 12 or more credit hours in a Fall, Spring, or Summer semester.

General Education Credits

A specific number of semester hours of basic liberal arts courses required as a foundation in the Associate in Arts degree program.

Gordon Rule

State Board Rule 6A–10.030 states the following: Six (6) semester hours of English coursework and six (6) semester hours of additional coursework in which the student is required to demonstrate college-level writing skills through multiple assignments. Each institution shall designate the courses that fulfill the writing requirements of this section. These course designations shall be submitted to the Statewide Course Numbering System. An institution to which a student transfers shall accept courses so designated by the sending institution as meeting the writing requirements outlined in this section. Within the mathematics area, completion of specific courses is required.


Alphabetical measures of academic success ranging from excellent (A) to failure (F).

Grade Forgiveness

A method by which students may repeat courses to improve their grade point average. Only the grade received on the last repeat is used in the GPA calculation. Grade forgiveness is limited to courses in which the student earned a “D” or “F” grade. Students are limited to two repeats per course. Upon a third attempt, the grade issued is the final grade for that course.  All course attempts will remain on the student transcript but the highest grade will be included in the GPA.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The calculation of credits attempted, credits earned and grades earned.


Financial aid funds awarded for college expenses to qualified students that a student is not required to pay back.

Guest Student

A student that currently attends a private or non-Florida state college/university and would like to enroll at FSW and transfer credits back to their "home" institution.

International Student

A student who has entered the United States on a non-immigrant visa (F1) (most often an individual on a student visa).

Limited Access/Enrollment

A designation given to programs that require additional admission requirements (i.e., higher GPA, higher test scores, completion of certain coursework). Admission is granted to a limited number of applicants.


A group of related courses that constitute a focused program of study in a specific area of knowledge.


A short semester of credit instruction, typically 6-8 weeks, where the course information and requirements are the same as a full-term. Also referred to as mini-A or mini-B.

New Student Orientation (NSO)

A pre-enrollment informational session required of all non-transfer new students.  Important student information will be disseminated and first-semester class enrollment will be completed.


A course for which college credit is not granted.

Non-Degree Seeking Student

A student that is taking courses without declaring a major or intended degree.  Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for Financial Aid.  

Official Transcript

An official record of all completed courses and grades.  This may be requested through the Registrar’s website.  If transferring from another college/university, an official transcript must be submitted either electronically or in a sealed envelope in order for credits to be evaluated and added to a student’s FSW record.

Part-time status

Enrollment in 11 or fewer credit hours in a Fall, Spring, or Summer semester.


"Post-Secondary Education Readiness Test" is an academic assessment used for placement into either college-level classes or college preparatory courses.

Placement Testing

Initial testing and subsequent evaluation of students to aid in placement and progress in reading comprehension, writing, English, arithmetic, and algebra. 


A course or test that must be satisfactorily passed before entering a related course.  (e.g. ENC 1101 [Composition 1] must be successfully passed before entering ENC 1102 [Composition 2])

Quality Points

The value, ranging from “4” to “0” for grades “A” to “F” multiplied by the number of credits; i.e., 3 credits x A(4pts.)=12 quality points for all courses completed. These points are used to determine grade point average (GPA).


The act of enrolling oneself in courses.  This is typically completed online by the student through his/her Portal.  Students with registration holds or those with registration restrictions (e.g. Dual Enrollment) will be required to register in-person in the Office of the Registrar.


All students are admitted by default to FSW as non-Florida residents.  Non-residents are required to pay a higher tuition rate.  Students must provide the necessary documentation to the Admissions Office to prove Florida residence and thereby qualify for the resident tuition rate. Residency forms can be found here:


Financial assistance for college expenses granted by donors to qualified recipients. Further information is available in the Financial Aid Office.

Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT)

An academic assessment used for placement into either college-level classes or college preparatory courses.

Semester (Term)*

Refers to the way an academic year is divided. The academic year consists of three semesters or terms (Fall, Spring, and Summer)  Fall semester runs from August to December (approximately 16 weeks).  Spring semester runs from January to late April or early May (approximately 16 weeks).  The Summer semester runs from May to early August (approximately 12 weeks).

Semester Hour

See credit hour.

Semester Planner

A semester-by-semester plan of required and elective courses created by the student with assistance from an Academic Advisor.  This plan allows a student to determine which courses will be taken in each semester and also when he/she can expect to complete program requirements.

Transient Student

Students can go through the transient process to take a course at another Florida public college or university and transfer credit back to FSW to count towards their intended degree. If this is something that you are interested in, please contact your assigned advisor. Students can go through this process if there is a course they want to take that is not offered at FSW.  Additionally, a student at another Florida PUBLIC college or university that would like to enroll at Florida SouthWestern State College can do so, and then transfer the coursework back to their "home" institution. 


University is an institution that offers predominantly bachelor, masters, and doctoral programs. 


Students who feel that they will not be successful in a course, for one reason or another, may withdraw from a course after the add/drop period has ended.  The student is not eligible for a refund and this will count as an attempt of the course.  A withdrawal has no impact on GPA but the course will remain on the student’s transcript where it will display a grade of ‘W’. Students can find instructions on how to withdraw from a course here: