College Lingo

Don't let our terminology trip you up! Prepare yourself by understanding these commonly used college terms. 

Academic Advisor: A faculty or staff member that assists students with developing an educational plan, helping identify courses to take each semester, answering questions about programs/careers, and understanding college academic policies and procedures. Every student is assigned an academic advisor at NDSCS, students are encouraged to meet with them at least once a semester.

Academic Calendar: There are many dates and deadlines students need to be aware of, which students can find in the academic calendar. Students will also receive an email from the Student Success Center reminding them of those dates. See Academic Calendar at

Academic Standing: Students have an academic standing with the College. When students fall below the acceptable grade point average (GPA), they are notified that they are on academic Warning, Probation, or Suspension. Students in this situation are encouraged to meet with their Academic Advisor, the Student Success Center and/or the Financial Aid office to gain a better understanding of how this can impact their success and future at NDSCS.

The Alley: The Alley is in the basement of the Hektner Student Center, Wahpeton, ND, and is where a number of events and activities are held.

BAC: The NDSCS BAC (Clair T. Blikre Activities Center, Wahpeton ND) is where students can attend athletic events and stay healthy themselves by taking advantage of their free membership, using the indoor track, wellness center, auxiliary gym, racquetball courts, weight room, and swimming pool.

Bookstore: The NDSCS Bookstore is located in the Hektner Student Center in Wahpeton, and at NDSCS-Fargo Room 155, and can be accessed online at Students are able to purchase textbooks, tools, course/school supplies, clothing and gifts.

CAB: The NDSCS CAB (Campus Activities Board) is a student group that provides campus entertainment and a wide range of activities for students throughout the year. All NDSCS students are welcome at CAB events. Learn more or join CAB by going to

Commuter Student: Students who take classes on campus, but don’t live on campus.

Credits or Credit Hours: Each course is assigned a certain number of credits/credit hours, usually corresponding to how often class occurs and how long classes are, as well as the course difficulty.

Degree: A degree from NDSCS is awarded when a student meets all applicable program requirements. NDSCS offers diplomas, certificates, and associates degrees. Associate degrees earned at NDSCS includes Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS).

Dining Plan: All students are able to purchase a meal plan through NDSCS dining services – meal plans are required for students living in the residence halls. There are different plans available and are based on how many meals you have each semester.

Drop and Add Classes: There is a grace period at the beginning of each semester when students can add or drop a class(es). Refund eligibility is based on the date on which the drop is effective.

Faculty: Employees that instruct courses at a College. Sometimes referred to as ‘professors’, ‘teachers’, or ‘instructors’.

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the first step in applying for financial aid.

FERPA: Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act protects the privacy of student educational records. Students can elect to release certain information to anyone they choose by completing a FERPA Release Form.

Financial Aid: Refers to any type of student loan, scholarship, or grant a student receives to help pay for college.

GPA: Grade point average. This reflects a student’s cumulative academic achievement for a semester and throughout their time as a student. The GPA is updated after each semester’s grades are finalized and reported.

ITS: The ITS (IT Service) department is located in the Hektner Student Center in Wahpeton and in NDSCS-Fargo Room 106. They provide support for computers, email, phone, networking, printers, and a variety of other technologies. They can assist students in gaining access to the Microsoft Office products that might be needed for some classes.

Plagiarism: Copying some or all of someone else’s work and claiming it as your own. Plagiarism is taken seriously in college and could result in an F and/or other disciplinary action.

President's Honor List:  Recognition for students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or higher while taking at least 12 credits with letter grades.

Registration:  The process of signing up for the classes a student needs to take in the next semester. Students will receive an email in their campus email account letting them know when their registration window begins which is typically the beginning of the month prior to the end of the semester. This occurs (insert dates)

Res Life: Res Life (Residential Life) refers to the on-campus housing available at NDSCS in Wahpeton.

Scholarship:  A financial award to help students pay for college; students are not required to payback these awards.

Semester Payment Due Dates: The date in which the balance on a student’s account is due. NDSCS students have 24/7 access to their account through CampusConnection > Financial Account tile. Here, students can view their account, check their current balance, and pay their bill.

Syllabus: A general summary of a course handed out to the students at the beginning of a course. These serve as the ‘contract’ between the student and the instructor.

Transfer Credit: Earned credits that can be transferred from one school and applied toward a degree at another.

Tuition:  The base cost for each credit a student is enrolled in. The cost varies and is based on where a student lives. Tuition does not include books, fees, room, or board.

Tutor:  A peer or professional staff member that has been trained to assist students with specific courses/subjects to bolster success and comprehension.

Works Cited

CollegiateParent. 2021. "College Terms You Need to Know: A Complete Guide for Students and Their Parents." CollegiateParent.