Parents & Families

Common Campus Terms & Tech Jargon

Reviewing these common campus terms and jargon can help you and your student better understand the college process. 

Academic Terms

Financial Terms

General Terms

Student Life Terms

Tennessee Tech Jargon

Academic Terms (return to top of page)
  • Academic Probation - the status a student is given if they fall below good standing and is at risk of dismissal from the institution.

  • Academic Standing - the status of a student’s academic career usually determined by the GPA and other considerations.

  • Advisor/Advisement - advisors are staff members assigned to students within their college and assist in the advisement process by aiding in declaring majors and minors, assisting students in semesterly class scheduling and ensuring students fulfill graduation requirements.

  • Certification - a non-degree credential that provides knowledge or skill in a specific area.

  • CLEP - College Level Examination Program, proficiency tests in selected courses that can be administered to students who desire to obtain college credit.

  • Concentration - a specific area of emphasis that allows a student to narrow their degree path within a broad major.

  • Course Catalog - a college publication that describes academic programs, their majors and minors and required courses.

  • Course Sequence - a group of courses that must be taken in a specific order.

  • Credit Hour - a measure of a class’s time based on how many hours students spend in class that can vary from institution to institution.

  • Cumulative Exam - an exam that covers everything learned in a course up until the current point. For example, a cumulative mid-term would incorporate concepts from the start of term to the middle of the term, and a cumulative final exam would incorporate concepts from the start of term to the end of term.

  • Cumulative GPA - cumulative GPA includes all of a student’s completed course work and can change as more courses are completed.

  • Dean - the head of an academic college within the university.

  • Developmental - instruction that helps students improve their English and math abilities and prepare them for college-level study

  • Electives - classes chosen by students that either fulfills a general education requirement or peaks their interest outside their major’s core courses.

  • Faculty - academic staff including both full-time and adjunct professors.

  • Intersession - a mini-term between the standard academic terms that occurs in May.

  • Liberal Arts - interdisciplinary study of humanities, social and natural sciences meant to provide students with a broad spectrum of knowledge.

  • Literacy - the ability to recognize when information is needed and to locate, evaluate and effectively use information.

  • Major - a student’s primary area of study that typically reflects the field in which they plan to get a job in after graduation.

  • Master’s Degree - a graduate-level degree pursued after completing a bachelor’s degree that requires up to two year of full-time study and provides a high level of mastery in a specific field.

  • Minor - a secondary focus meant to add value to the student’s major

  • Office Hours - time set aside by professors or instructors for students to visit their office and ask questions or discuss the course.

  • Overload - a course load of more than 20 credit hours that needs special approval.

  • Prerequisite - a course required to take more advanced courses or to apply for a program.

  • Program of Study - the specific curriculum that leads to a degree or certificate.

  • Provost - the senior academic administrator who works closely with academic deans, department deans and faculty to ensure the quality of academic programs.

  • STEM - the collective subjects of science, technology, engineering and math.

  • Syllabus - a description of a course distributed by the professor which typically outlines the course by providing important dates, grading scales and projects listed.

  • Tenure - the employment track for professors that essentially guarantees a permanent position at the institution after demonstrating a strong record of teaching and published research.

  • Transcripts - an official academic record of courses taken and grades earned at a given institution.

  • Upper Division - the courses students are expected to complete during their last two years of their degree program.


Financial Terms (return to top of page)
  • Bursar - an official in charge of the funds of the institution.

  • Business Office - an office responsible for financial transactions, bookkeeping, etc. for an institution.

  • FAFSA - The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a document that students complete to determine eligibility for federal loans and grants.

  • Financial Aid: moneys students can receive for tuition or expenses that may or may not have to be paid back.

  • Grant: a form of financial aid from a non-profit organization that the student does not have to repay.

  • Incidental Fees: used to fund institutional programs beyond academic that can include, but not limited to, student union operations, student government activities and athletics.

  • ITINS (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number): a number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) used to identify an individual in tax returns and other documents filed with the IRS.

  • Loan: a form of financial aid that the student must repay.

  • Master Promissory Note (MPN): a legal document that is a student’s agreement to repay their loans and any accrued interest and fees.

  • Promissory Notes: a legal contract in which a borrower agrees to repay a loan according to the terms and conditions.


General Terms (return to top of page)
  • Accreditation - a certification where a school or an instructional program meets set standards by a nationally-recognized organization or regional accrediting bodies.

  • Admissions - the offices responsible for reviewing student applications and admitting students to the institution.

  • Admitted - a student’s status of being accepted into an institution or program.

  • Alumni - graduates of an institution

  • Associate’s Degree - undergraduate degree that generally requires two years of full-time study that is typically obtained at a two-year or community college.

  • Bachelor’s Degree - undergraduate degree that generally requires four years (or a certain number of credit hours - usually 120 for most programs) to complete.

  • Commencement - a formal graduation ceremony that celebrates recent graduates with their friends and family.

  • Commuter - a student who does not live in on-campus housing.

  • Compliance - an office that provides students and employees with tools and knowledge regarding their compliance responsibilities while fostering an environment characterized by the highest standards and ethical behavior.

  • Convocation - the formal induction ceremony of freshmen into the academic community of the university.

  • Co-op - a cooperative education program that allows students to work in their chosen field to gain skills and experience that typically takes place during the semester replacing classes but continues the student’s enrollment in the institution.

  • Deferment - a student’s act of postponing their enrollment.

  • Enrollment - the process of completing the registration process by paying tuition and fees or the total number of registered students for a particular program or the whole institution.

  • FERPA - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the legislation that insures that students’ educational and personal information is protected by educational institutions.

  • First-Generation Student - a college student who is the first in their family to go to college.

  • Full-Time Student - a student who is enrolled in at least 12 credit hours.

  • Immunizations - required shots for a student to have to attend the institution and/or to live on campus housing.

  • Intent - a legally-binding contract that states a student will attend an institution for at least one academic year in exchange for an athletic scholarship.

  • Non-Degree Seeking Student - a student that takes classes from an institution but does not complete a degree.

  • Non-Traditional Student - a status typically given to first-time students over 21 and other adult learners.

  • Orientation - the official process either before or at the beginning of the school year that serves as a training period for new students that typically includes activities and/or courses intended to introduce the institution and available resources.

  • Parking Zones - various zones for parking across campus designated by the five color coded parking passes.

  • Part-Time Student - a student who is enrolled in less than 12 credit hours.

  • Registrar - a specialist tasked with handling several administrative and logistical areas of academia including but not limited to 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.

  • Residence Hall - campus housing where students live within close proximity of academic buildings.

  • Residency - referring to if a student lives within the boundaries to be considered as an in-state student.

  • Scholarships - awards provided to students from the institution or outside entities to assist students pay for tuition and/or day-to-day expenses.

  • Semester - the academic year is divided into two semesters, fall and spring, with a shorter summer session.


Student Life Terms (return to top of page)
  • Extracurricular - optional activities that students can participate in outside of academic classes.

  • Fraternity & Sorority Life - a collection of fraternities and sororities whose names originate from letters in the ancient Greek alphabet.

  • Intramurals - recreational sports available for students, faculty and staff to compete against each other that are offered throughout the academic year.

  • Pan-Hellenic - National Pan-Hellenic Council, the national organization that governs and supports the historically African American fraternities and sororities.

  • Panhellenic - National Panhellenic Conference, the governing body that supports the traditional Panhellenic sororities.

  • Pi Chi - Recruitment Counselor, a Panhellenic sorority woman who dissociate from their organization to assist potential sorority members in the recruitment process.

  • Resident Assistant - a student leader who lives in the residence halls and supervises activities and any issues related to the residents.

  • Residential Life - the office responsible for campus housing and its residents.


Tennessee Tech Jargon (return to top of page)
  • Caf - the cafeteria located in the Roaden University Center on the first floor.

  • Hoop - Hooper Eblen Center, the arena home to basketball and volleyball.

  • Mem Gym - Memorial Gym, the home of the Exercise Science, Physical Education and Wellness department and recreational gymnasiums.

  • RUC - Roaden University Center, the student union building that houses many of the dining locations, the University store, Awesome Mail & Print, and much more.

  • Swoops - located on the ground floor of the Roaden University Center and houses Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and The Market.



Parents & Families