Common College Terms

Below is a list of terms that will helpful along your college journey!

Academic Advisor- A professional representative in your academic college who you will meet with each semester to plan for the next semester to keep you on track for completing your degree requirements.

Academic Probation- A status colleges give to students who are struggling to pass courses. Academic probation is meant to warn students that they need to improve their academic performance. Students on academic probation may lose scholarships and/or eligibility for university sports.

Add/Drop Period- This is a grace period during which students can decide to drop a course without penalty.

Award Letter- The notification of a financial aid award. The award letter lists the types and amounts of financial aid for which the student is eligible. To finalize the award package, the student must sign and return the award letter to the Financial Aid Office.

Course Schedule- Your course schedule is the set time that you are in classes during a particular semester. The course schedule varies per semester, as you register for one semester at a time.

Credit Hour- An amount of work represented in the intended learning outcomes and verified evidence of student achievement. All courses are measured by the number of credit hours you earn upon completion of that course. Your degree program requires a certain number of credit hours to be completed.

Dean- The head or president of a college of a university.

Faculty- The staff of professors and instructors at a university.

FASFA- Stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the first step in applying for financial aid, and most universities require incoming students to complete the FASFA form. This form is also completed prior to each school year that you are working towards your degree.

FERPA- Stands for Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This act gives college students the right of privacy over the school records, even if they are under 18. This means parents of the student cannot access their academic information such as grades. There is an exception for health and safety information: If a college feels it would be important to share that sort of information with the parent, then they are allowed to.

Financial Aid- Refers to any type of student loan, scholarship, or grant you receive to help pay for college. The Office of Financial Aid deals with student loans, grants, scholarships, and student employment.

Financial Services- At Winthrop, this will be different from the Financial Aid office. Financial services provide financial information and resources. They are responsible for the preparation and distribution of billing statements for tuition, fees, room, board, and other related charges. They process payments, assist students, in setting up payment plans, protects student registrations, issues refunds, and collects on defaulted student accounts.

Full-time College Student- A student is full time when they are taking a full course load, typically 12 or more credits.

General Education Requirements- Most 4-year college programs come with a set of general education requirements, intended to ensure all students receive a broad education, with knowledge of topics outside of their chosen field of study.

Graduate School- A school attended after a student has received a bachelor's degree. Graduate schools are where students can receive a master's degree. Many universities offer graduate programs in addition to bachelor's programs. Graduate school typically takes 2 years to complete.

HIPAA Release Form- The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) gives the student the right over the privacy of their medical records when they turn 18. A HIPAA Release Form gives the parent the ability to access their medical records.  

Independent Study- a type of non-traditional course that allows students to work outside of the classroom. Independent study is usually not heavily supervised, and the student develops the topic they wish to pursue.

Master Promissory Note- The legal, binding document that must be signed by the student borrower prior to loan funds being disbursed to Winthrop University. The promissory note states the terms and conditions of the loan, including repayment schedule, interest rate, deferment policies, and cancellation provisions.

Master’s degree- A degree received in graduate school, post-undergrad. Master’s degrees usually take two years to complete.

Meal Plan- The plan that dictates how many meals a student can eat at on-campus dining facilities. Some meal plans also include a discretionary spending fun that can be used as cash at campus restaurants or snack shops.

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. Midterms are typically weighted more heavily than other tests and coursework, but not as heavily as finals.

Minor- A secondary focus of study, typically earned alongside a major. You may graduate, for example, with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry.

Nonresident- This status is applied to students who do not live in the same state as the university they’re attending. Nonresident usually pay much higher tuition than in-state students.

Office Hosts and Night Hosts- Undergraduate students who assist residents and help maintain safety and security of each building through working the front desks.

Resident Assistant (RA)- Undergraduate peer leaders who live in each residence hall and are trained to support students in their success at Winthrop.

Residential Learning Coordinator (RLC)- Residence halls are supervised by a full-time, professional, live-in RLC who is responsible for Academic Success Communities, supervision of RAs, facilities, programming, and student conduct.

Part Time College Student- A student who does not have a full course load and is taking fewer than 12 credit hours in any given semester is typically considered part time.

Pass/Fail Course- A class in which no grade is given. You simply pass or fail.

Transcript- An overview of a student’s academic progress. It usually includes your GPA and total credit hours.

Undergraduate- An undergraduate is any student pursuing a 4-year Bachelor’s degree.



Blue Line- Established in 1895 by President Johnson, the Blue Line is among Winthrop's most cherished traditions. Originally, the female students were led in two lines down Oakland Avenue where they could attend any one of the many churches along the street. The procession of students dressed in blue and white uniforms was led by the President on the first Sunday of the academic year and eventually became known as the “Blue Line." When the uniform policy ended, the tradition lost its identity, but in 1983 President Lader revived the Blue Line. Today, the President leads the Convocation procession out of Byrnes Auditorium to the front lawn of Tillman Hall where Convocation participants, wearing Winthrop Blue Line t-shirts, convene for a community picnic.

Big Stuff- Winthrop’s lovable mascot; Lil Stuff is his sister; both are eagles.

CAS- College of Arts & Sciences

CBA- College of Business Administration

CESHS- College of Education, Sport, and Human Sciences

Common Time- Time when there are no scheduled classes; 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and starting at 2 p.m. on Fridays during the academic year; Common Time doesn’t exist in the 2020-21 academic year due to COVID but there’s high hopes it will be brought back; students are encouraged to use the time to further engage and connect with campus through involvement, faculty/staff meetings, meeting with friends, etc.

Concourse- Open-air plaza located between DIGS and the West Center.

Convocation- A ceremony always held before classes begin at the start of each academic year.

Cultural Events- The purpose of cultural events is to foster a life-enriching pattern of cultural involvement and provide a well-rounded education. A record of student attendance at cultural events is included on semester grade reports and becomes a part of the student’s permanent record and senior audit. Students are required to attend a certain number of cultural events in order to graduate.

CVPA- College of Visual & Performing Arts

DIGS- Abbreviation for DiGiorgio Campus Center; pronounced “digs”.

DSU- DiGiorgio Student Union; Winthrop’s programming board.

The Edge- Event space and “lunchroom” area located on the Ground floor of DIGS, just outside Markley’s.

The Johnsonian- Weekly student newspaper of Winthrop University; It is published during fall and spring semesters with the exception of university holidays and exam periods. The Johnsonian was founded in 1923.

Markley’s- One of Winthrop’s dining locations on the Ground floor of DIGS; restaurants include Chick-Fil-A, Zoca (Southwest-style grill), The Wedge (salad), Burger Studio, and Miso (Asian).

OFSA- Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs

OSA- Office of Student Engagement & Diversity

Richardson Ballroom- Event space on the 1st floor of DIGS; used heavily during Freshman Orientation in June.

Richardson Hall- Primary residence hall used for normal Freshman Orientation and NSFP; located along Cherry Road.

Roddey McMillan Record or RMR- Monthly student newspaper that promotes awareness and understanding of issues concerning minorities for the betterment of the entire Winthrop community; The newspaper was named for Cynthia P. Roddey, Winthrop's first African-American graduate student to enroll, and Sheila McMillan, Winthrop's first African-American alumni and first African-American female trustee.

Scholar’s Walk- Brick walkway through campus lined with swings and overlooks the Campus Green.

UC- University College (houses all undeclared majors)