Glossary of Common College Terms


Academic Standing: Students who do not pass their courses or withdraw from more classes than they complete may receive unsatisfactory standard status.

Add: Adding a course or courses to your registered list of classes.

Advisory: Recommendation to consider before registering for a particular class. Chances of success are significantly better when you have mastered the skills in a preparatory class. See the course listings in this catalog for additional information.

Application for Admission: Completing and submitting an application is the first step in becoming a student. Either online (CCCApply) or in person in Admissions and Records.

Articulation: Gavilan College articulation agreements with many four-year colleges and universities which benefits students who are going to transfer. The four-year / receiving colleges have agreed that a variety of Gavilan courses will fulfill many or all of the lower division requirements at the four-year school. The articulation officer, counselors and the Career Center staff have lists of participating institutions.

Assessment Evaluation (Placement): This is an evaluation of a student's readiness for certain levels of math, English and ESL.

Associate Degree: The Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree or Associate of Science (A.S.) degree is when 60 units have been completed within a specific major program. These degrees can be in a career and technical area or in a transfer area. This is also called a two-year college degree, although it is common for a student to take more than two years to complete the program. The catalog lists 70 A.A. and A.S. degrees available to Gavilan College students.

Associate Degrees for Transfer: AA-T and AS-T are degrees that are designed specifically for transfer to the California State University System. These degrees can be completed in 60 transferable semester units (or 90 quarter units) and include coursework in general education, major preparation and electives.

Associated Students of Gavilan College (ASGC): ASGC is the official student organization on campus. It represents the student body and student issues to the board of trustees, administration, faculty and staff. It provides leadership opportunities through the weekly student senate, a leadership course (Poli Sci/Psychology 27), and through participation on campus committees. Student representatives plan educational, cultural, political, and social events for the student body. For additional information, see the Student Activities section in this catalog.
Bachelor Degree: The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree are awarded by four-year colleges and universities. This is commonly referred to as a four-year college degree, although it is common for students to take      more than four years to earn it. Many students begin their college education at a community college and transfer to a four-year college for their junior and senior years.

Catalog: The course catalog (also found on the web) contains course descriptions, certificate and degree requirements, and general information about the college and being a student.

Career EducationCourses and programs leading to degrees and certificates in career-based area of study.

Certificate: A certificate requires fewer units than an A.A. degree and verifies competence in a specialized area of study without the general education requirements. A student can complete a certificate program and then continue on for an A.A. or A.S. in some areas.

ChallengeA student can petition to enroll in a class where there are prerequisites and corequisites. A challenge is a college process where a student provides evidence that he / she has satisfactorily met the necessary prerequisite. The Admissions and Records Office has the required forms.

Co-requisite: A course which must be taken at the same time as another course.

CounselorsFaculty members who provide a variety of counseling services, including academic, personal and career counseling for new and continuing students. Students can schedule appointments at the kiosks outside the Counseling Office, Student Center 113, or call 408-848-4723.

Course: A prescribed series of classes; a number of classes in a particular field of study. Sometimes course in used interchangeably with class.

DegreeWorks: A web-based program that includes a student's educational dean and degree audit (progress toward degree).

Dismissal: Students with unsatisfactory progress or academic success (less than 2.0 GPA) may be dismissed from the college.

Disruptive Behavior: Willful disobedience, habitual profanity or vulgarity or the open and persistent defiance of the authority of, or persistent abuse of, college personnel.

Drop: The act of officially removing a course from your schedule. It is the student’s responsibility to drop any courses that are not desired or where a student has ceased to attend.

Educational Goal: An educational outcome identified by the student. Examples: A.A. degree, certificate, general education for transfer, etc.

Educational PlanA multi-semester map of courses a student needs to complete to reach his/her degree or transfer goal. All students should have a comprehensive educational plan before completing 15 units.

Exemption: The right of a student to be excluded from orientation or assessment testing ser- vices. This, however, does not allow a student to be exempt from prerequisites.

Fee: Associated costs for courses or services.

Full-Time Student: A student who is enrolled in at least 12 units during a semester (fall and /or spring) or for at least 5 units for a summer term.

G Number: The Gavilan student ID. This number is used for all registration activities, access to certain college web functions, and when accessing certain services on campus.

General Education Requirements: Approximately 40 units of coursework in the areas of written and oral communication, math, physical and natural sciences, social science, arts, humanities, and personal development comprise general education requirements. All associate degrees require general education, in addition to the student’s major course of study. Certificate programs do not require general education, only the specific area of study.

GPA: Grade Point Average. A system to compute grades earned in your courses (see grades and transcripts). Students should maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.

Lecture / Lab: In the schedule of classes, the abbreviation L/L appears as part of the description of many classes. This means that there are required hours in a lecture or classroom setting and additional hours in a lab setting (computer, language, science, etc.)

Lower Division: The classes taken during the first and second years of college are referred to as lower division classes. Community colleges only offer lower division classes. When a student transfers to a four-year college, the third and fourth-year courses are referred to as upper division. In the Gavilan College catalog, lower division classes that transfer to a four-year college are numbered 1-99. (Always check with the transferring school for confirmation on the acceptance of particular classes at their four-year institution.)

Major: An area of academic emphasis leading to degree, certificate or transfer. Transfer students are expected to declare a major in order to transfer, as they apply to both the four-year college and a particular department at that college as upper division students. Students receiving financial aid also need an approved major.

MyGav: Is the web portal where students can access their course and registration information, financial aid status, register for courses, pay fees, and obtain unofficial transcripts.

Noncredit CourseA noncredit course is designed to meet the special needs and capabilities of those student populations who do not desire or need to obtain unit credit. These courses provide remedial, developmental, occupational and other general education opportunities.

OrientationA required enrollment component which increases a students’ comfort and familiarity with the academic environment and programs. Orientation is offered through GUID 1, 210, KIN 6.

Part-Time Student: A student who is enrolled for less than 12 units in a semester (fall and / or spring) or less than 5 units in a summer term.

Payment Deadline: Dates established on the registration calendar when enrollment and other fees are due to the Admissions and Records Office. These dates are published each semester in the Schedule of Classes. Failure to pay all fees due on your payment deadline will result in you being dropped from all of your courses.

Placement Assessment: Assessment is mandatory for all new college students, and placement tests are administered throughout the year. It is one measure for placement into math, English and ESL courses.

Prerequisite: A course that must be completed in order for a student to advance to another course. The material and skill achieved in the previous course (with a C grade or equivalency) are the signs that a student is ready for the following course.

President’s Council: Community colleges are required by Assembly Bill 1725 to practice participatory governance. Gavilan College’s President’s Council is composed of students, faculty, staff and administration. This group recommends actions on policies and practices that affect students, faculty and staff to the president / superintendent.

Probation: A warning for students whose academic work or progress is unsatisfactory. Students on academic or progress probation will be required to work with a counselor to plan for improved academic performance and may have an impact on financial aid eligibility.

Registration: The official process for enrolling in courses. This involves selecting courses, completing all registration forms, enrolling either in person or on myGav, and paying fees.

Semester: Colleges divide the academic year into either semesters, quarters or sessions. Gavilan has two semesters: fall and spring. Winter intersession and summer session may also be offered. If a student has attended colleges which use different systems, the units are recalculated for consistency.

SSSP: Student Success and Support Programs is a state mandate requiring new college students to complete assessment, orientation and educational plans within their first 15 units.

Student Senator: A student who has chosen to become a voting member of the student body government (ASGC). The student represents student opinion in the senate, allocates money for campus events and services and participates on campus- wide committees as the student voice.

Syllabus: A course syllabus is an outline of expectations, major projects, test and assignment due dates, attendance policies, and other pertinent information established for an individual course by the instructor. Students should read and review their course syllabus for each course and keep it handy throughout the semester for quick reference. Couse syllabi are available online at Self-Service Banner. Log on from the Gavilan homepage at

Transcript: The official record of a student’s academic coursework. If a student has attended any other colleges, a transcript must be requested from each college previously attended so that Gavilan College has the student’s complete academic history. Transcripts showing academic work at Gavilan are sent to four-year colleges at a student’s request. The first two transcripts are free of charge.

Unit: The measurement of college credit given for each course. In general, one unit of credit, or one unit, requires one hour of lecture per week for each week of the semester. For example, an English class that meets one hour, three times per week is awarded three units of credit. Courses with lab sections are calculated differently. The unit value for each course is listed in the college catalog and Schedule of Classes as part of the course description.

Upper Division: These are the courses that are part of the junior and senior years of college and are provided by the four-year institutions.

Waiver: A student may formally decide not to participate in SSSP enrollment requirements by filing a waiver. Obtain the form from the Admissions and Records Office.

Withdrawal: The act of dropping classes after school begins. Dates are established each term defining when courses are eligible for withdrawal and deadlines which prohibit further withdrawal. See the college's semester guide for withdrawal deadlines. It is the student's responsibility to officially withdraw.