Being a first-generation student can mean different things to different people and different institutions. At Elms, First-Generation students come from families where neither parent completed a bachelor’s degree. About 40% of Elms students are considered First Generation or First Gen. The staff in the division of student affairs and center for student success are committed to the success of our first gen students.



Academic Coach: A professional staff member at Elms who assists students in creating an individual plan for academic success.

Academic Year: The academic year consists of two terms or semesters: fall and spring.

Academic Calendar: Published by the Registrar’s office each year, this is where significant dates about the opening and closing of the college, first and last days of classes and other important dates.

Accredited: Recognition that a university or program meets national or regional standards.

Add/Drop: A timeframe, typically during the first two weeks of classes, in which a student can drop out of or add a course without impacting tuition cost or GPA.

ARD: Assistant Resident Director, Office of Residence Life Professional Staff member who lives in the residence halls, oversees the RAs and serves in the evening and weekend on duty rotation.

Asynchronous: Classes can be asynchronous which means they do not occurring in real time. Students can log on at any time and participate in the discussion or watch videos or lectures.

Alumni/ Alumna/ Alumnus: People who have graduated from Elms College A female graduate is an alumna; a male or female graduate is an alumnus.


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.): A type of degree that includes modern language courses.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.): A degree that generally includes science related course.

Bachelor’s Degree: Degree awarded to students who graduate from a four-year college or university, and typically required before a master’s degree.


Co-ed: Refers to any program, residence hall, or activity that includes all genders.  

Commencement: A graduation ceremony for college students.

Convocation: The annual program held in the fal shortly after the beginning of classes l is the official welcome to the academic year. 

Course Load: The number of courses, or total credit hours, a student takes in any given semester.


Dean of Students/Student Affairs Office:

Deferment: A plan allowed under certain conditions to delay payment on a loan.

Drop: A student may decide to enroll or not enroll in a class without penalty during a designated time-frame period called Add/Drop.


Expected Family Contribution (EFC):A value from the FAFSA that represents the amount a student or family should be able to contribute toward their college costs.


Faculty: Professors and instructors who teach and/or conduct research.

FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA must be completed each year in order to receive need-based aid from the government, such as the Pell Grant or work-study awards.

FERPA: Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act. This law governs how colleges protect and share student information.

Financial Aid: Financial support that students receive for college expenses. Some financial aid, such as loans, must be repaid, while other forms, such as grants or scholarships, do not need to.

Final Exam: An exam that typically is given during finals week, the last week of the semester.

First-Generation Student: A student whose neither parent nor guardian have earned a four-year degree.

Freshman: A first-year college student, or one who has earned fewer than 30 credit hours.

Full-Time Student: An undergraduate student enrolled in at least 12 credit hours during the fall/spring and/or nine hours in the summer semesters.

First Year Seminar (FYS): Small class taken by all  first-year students.


General Education Requirements:

GPA — Grade Point Average: A measure of course performance. A GPA is obtained by dividing the number of grade points by the credit hours completed, where each credit hour of an A = 4 points, a B = 3 points, a C = 2 points, a D = 1 point, and an F = 0 points.

Graduate Student: A student who has graduated with a bachelor’s degree and is pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree.

Grant: A form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid.


Handshake: The Career Center’s recruiting and career services platform.

Hold: A restriction that limits a student’s ability to enroll, log in to email and/or other actions until the hold is removed. A ‘hold’ can be placed on a students’ account when a bill is not paid, a book is overdue or when health forms are not completed.

Honors Convocation: Annually held in the spring, this celebration honors outstanding student achievements.

HIPAA Release Form: The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) gives students a right over the privacy of their medical records when they turn 18.  A HIPAA Release Form gives the parent the ability to access the student’s medical records and make important medical decisions in case of an emergency. 


Instructor/Professor: A faculty member who teaches.

Internship: A temporary professional experience typically in a student’s career field or major. It can be paid or unpaid and can sometimes be taken for academic credit.

Intramurals: Individual and team sports for Elms students played against each other and not other institutions.


Junior: A third-year college student, and/or who has earned at least 90 credit hours.



Lab: Short for laboratory: a part of a course where a student completes hands-on activities.

Lecture: The term for a class that does not entail lab work.

Liberal Arts: A term that refers to subjects such as humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics.

Loan: Financial aid that must be repaid. Student loans typically come from the government or from private banks.


Major: The concentration of courses required to earn a degree. For example, a biology major is pursuing a degree in biology and will take courses oriented to that area of interest.

Master Promissory Note: A legal document that is signed upon receiving government loan that indicates that you promise to pay off loan and any accrued interest.

Matriculation: The process of  being accepted to Elms College and subsequently enrolling in classes.

Master’s Degree: A graduate degree is usually completed after the bachelor’s degree; most commonly two years in length.

Moodle: Moodle is the Learning Management System, or virtual classroom environment that professors and students use for online learning and collaboration.

Midterms: Exams that occur in the middle of a semester, to test a student’s grasp of topics covered in a course up to that point.

Minor: A secondary focus of study, typically earned in tandem with a major.


Non=traditional student: Most commonly describes a student starting college later in life rather than right after completing high school, or one who is a parent.


Office Hours: Specific times that faculty are available in their office to meet with students. Students are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities, usually no appointment is needed.

Off-Campus: Students who do not live in residence halls or with their families  are considered to live ‘off-campus’ generally in an apartment or house near the campus.

Orientation: A program run by Elms College to welcome new students and families held in the summer and again right before school starts.


Pell Grant: Federal financial aid for undergraduate students with financial need; it does not have to be repaid.

Post-Bac: This is a term used at Elms as abbreviation for postbaccalaureate. Elms offers a number of programs for students who have earned a bachelors degree and want to go to  to graduate school but need some courses before they are eligible to apply.

Prerequisite: A course that is required prior to being permitted to enroll in another class. 


Quiz: A short assessment of knowledge given to students in courses.


Residence Halls: Buildings on campus where students live, eat and engage in activities together.

Registrar: The college official who oversees registration, student grades and transcripts.

Registration: The period in which a student can sign up for the classes they wish to take in a semester.

Residential/Resident: Term that refers to students who live on campus in residence halls.

Resident Assistant (RA): A student, employed by the department of residence life to live in a campus residence hall and serve as a resource and role model to students.

Room and Board: Another term for the cost of living on campus and having a meal plan.  


Semester: The time period during which courses are offered. The word “term’ is another word to describe a semester.

Senior: A fourth-year college student, or one who has earned more than 90 credit hours.

Sophomore: A second-year college student, or one who has earned more than 30 and fewer than 60 credit hours.

Student Accounts/Bursar: The office where students pay their bills.

Study Abroad: A semester or short time (1-4 weeks) where a student attends school and earns Elms college credit while living in another country.

Student Affairs: Used to refer to the Office of Student Affairs and/or the Dean of Students Office at Elm, which provides services to support students through their campus journey.

Subsidized Student Loan: A loan that is not charged interest and does not require payments while the student is in school.

Syllabus: A document that describes important information about a course. It may include items the faculty member’s office hours, required books or other materials, assignments, due dates, grading scale, course expectations, and procedures and policies.


Term: Another name for a semester.

Thesis: A thesis is often required at the end of a graduate program, and sometimes an undergraduate program.   A thesis is a paper summarizing a student’s finding on their chosen topic of research.

Traditional Student: Most commonly describes a student starting college right after completing high school and who is not a parent.

Transcript: An official record of the courses a student has taken, and the grades received at a college or university.

Transfer Credits: Credits from courses completed outside Elms College that are transferred in for academic credit.

Transfer Student: A college student who completed courses at another college or university before enrolling at Elms College.

Tuition: The amount paid to attend a college.



Undergraduate: A student who is pursuing but has not yet received a bachelor’s degree.


Withdrawal: The process of ending enrollment in a course. Students may withdraw from courses without penalty during designated times. Withdrawing after a deadline may result in a Withdraw, or W,  placed on the transcript to indicate that the class was started but not finished.

Work-study: A part-time job offered by Elms College as part of a financial aid package from the federal government.




Zoom: A video communications website connecting people through video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. When we are working or studying remote we log in to Zoom and can communicate with others.