English College Vocabulary

Transcript

Listen to the phrase »

This is an official document that lists your previous grades. Each College or university you attended in the past should have one of these for you.

“When I apply to graduate school I’ll need to send them my transcript from the college where I received my undergraduate degree.”

Schedule

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Students in college receive a “schedule” to show them what their classes are and where they are. Schedules are usually given to students on a white piece of paper with the information printed out by computer.

“This semester I have a great schedule. I don’t have classes on Friday.

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TA

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A “TA” is a teaching assistant. Many professors at American universities have teaching assistants who grade papers, give small classes, give tests or assist in the computer lab. TAs are usually graduate students working on their masters or doctorate degrees.

“The TA teaches the class when the professor is not there.”

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Lecture

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A lecture is the time in class where you listen to the professor speak (or lecture) on the material for that class. These classes are typically large and given in an auditorium environment. A class may meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but only have lectures on Monday and Wednesday. Friday’s class could be a discussion with a small group of students and a TA or it could be a class in the computer lab.

“You need to attend each lecture if you want to do well in the class.”

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To Audit
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A student may audit a class at a university. This means that the student attends class for observational purposes. Students are not graded for the class. Usually students must contact the professor to get permission to audit the class.

“I decided to audit the Spanish class. I am interested in Spanish, but I don’t need the class for a grade.”

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Prerequisite
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If a class that you want to register for says that there is a “prerequisite” than there are certain classes you must have taken before you can sign up for this one. An example would be if you wanted to sign up for Spanish II and there was a small note below the class description that said, “Prerequisite Spanish I”. In order to be able to take the Spanish II class you have to have taken Spanish I already.

“To take Astronomy 202 there is a prerequisite. You have to have taken and passed Astronomy 101.”

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On a Scholarship

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A scholarship is money granted to a student to pay for or help pay for their tuition at the university. There are many kinds of scholarships one can receive. To find out information on scholarships students should go to the financial aid office on their campus.

“I don’t have a lot of money. I’m able to go to college because I’m on a scholarship.”

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Syllabus
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A syllabus is an informational packet or sheet of paper that has all the information you will need to know about the class. Most professors hand these out the first day of class. Usually the professor’s name, number and e mail are listed on the top of the syllabus.

“If you want to know how many tests there will be throughout the semester then check the syllabus.”

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Credit Hour
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A credit hour is the amount of time a week you spend in that particular class. Most classes are three credit hours meaning that you have that class for a total of three hours a week.

“Biology 101 is worth 4 _credit hours._”

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Transfer Credits
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Transfer credits are classes from a previous university that you completed that you can receive credit for at the new university. If I enroll at a new university and I have already taken classes at another one in the past I may ask a college official if I could transfer any of the classes I had taken already. Many students take lower level classes at community colleges because it is cheaper than taking them at a university. Students, upon enrolling at the university, transfer these classes to the present institution.

“If you are going to move to a different college you should first check to see if they accept transfer credits.”

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Withdraw or Drop a Class
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To withdraw or drop a class means that you have decided to not take the class anymore. A student must contact the registrar’s office before the “drop date” (see next term) and drop the class officially.

“I don’t like that class or the professor. I’m going to drop the class.”

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Drop Date

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This is the last day during the semester that you can drop a class and get your money back. If you drop the class after this date you will lose your money and if you are failing the class on your transcript there will be a note that you dropped a class you were failing.

“You better drop that class before the drop date or you won’t get your money back.”

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Major and Minor

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Your major is the subject that you would like to get your degree in. If I major in biology I take the majority of my upper level courses in biology. A minor is a subject that you focus on that you would take courses in, but not as many as you would for your major. A student could be a biology major and a French minor.

“My major is accounting and my minor is French.”

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Dorm

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This word is short for dormitory. This is a building on campus where the students live, usually two students per room.

“During my freshman year I lived in a huge dorm on campus.”

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Dining Hall

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This is a building on campus that serves food to students. There are usually four or five dining halls on campus. Students buy meal plans and present their student IDs to the dining hall staff to get their meal.

“I eat most of my meals in the dining hall.”

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The Quad

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A lot of universities have a central area where many of the academic buildings are. The lawn and sidewalk area in between all these buildings is usually called the “quad”. This is the central point of the university and students gather here for social and academic reasons. On nice days this area is full of students relaxing.

“Sometimes they have live music or other events in the Quad at my school.”

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Greek System
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The Greek system is an organization of student social groups called fraternities for men and sororities for women. Students that would like to join a particular fraternity or sorority visit the house that the group is based out of and meet the members. This is done at the beginning of each semester and is called “rush”.

“Some students get involved in the Greek System at their school to meet new people.”

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Rush
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This is the week that students have the opportunity to meet the different fraternities and sororities and possibly join the organization.

“To get into the fraternity that I liked I had to participate in rush.”

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House Party

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Many students, especially juniors and seniors, rent houses near or on campus to live in during the semester. On weekends a certain house will decide to have a party that is open to students on campus. There is usually a fee of about $4 to get in which pays for the keg of beer usually served. These parties usually attract the younger students who are too young to get into the local bars.

“There’s a house party down the street this Saturday night. I know the two guys that live there. They’re in my history class.”

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BYOB (Bring your own booze)
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This is a phrase that tells the guests that if they want to drink they’ll need to bring their own beer, wine or liquor.

“I think the party is BYOB. Make sure you stop at the store to pick up some beer.”

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Pull an all nighter

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Students who have a big test the next day may stay up all night and study for the test. This is called an “all nighter”.

“I haven’t studied at all yet. I’ll have to pull an all nighter.”

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To Cram for a Test

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To cram for a test means that you wait until the day or night before the test and you try to quickly memorize the material.

“I hate to study. I normally just cram for a test right before class.”

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Freshman 15

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It is said that many college students during their first year of college gain a lot of weight. Students are adjusting to a new lifestyle and end up eating bad food or eating too much due to stress.

“If you eat all that fried food from the dining hall you will gain the notorious Freshman 15.”

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Straight A Student

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A student who consistently gets “A’s” in all classes taken.

“A straight A student will have a better chance to get a scholarship.

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Fall behind
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If you miss a class or two you miss out on what is happening in class and the material covered. This is called “falling behind.”

“I missed three classes because I went to a wedding in New York. I hoped I wouldn’t fall behind, but I did!



Activities in This Lesson

Learning ESL while pursuing a college education may seem overwhelming, however Drew’s ESL Fluency Lessons makes it easy. We provide not only a full list of terms commonly used in college classrooms but also many terms you may need to know for casual college conversations in a social setting with other young adults. The following English College Vocabulary terms are among the basics of ESL learning at the university level.

  • Script for College Terms Listening Exercise
  • College Vocabulary Listening Activity
  • College Vocabulary Fill in the Blanks
  • College Vocabulary Word Order
  • College Vocabulary Fill in the Blanks
  • Matching for College Campus Vocabulary