An Intro to College Terms
If you are new to the college environment, you will find that we have our own language. Many of the terms you hear in passing may be new to you. It is important to ask if you do not understand. To make the transition a bit easier, a glossary of common college terms is included below:
The courses you take in college will be measured in units, just as water is measured in gallons. These units are called credit hours. The principle behind the credit hour is that it represents the number of hours you spend in a classroom. In theory, for a one credit hour course, you should spend one hour per week in class throughout the semester. For a two credit hour course, you would spend two hours, and so on. In today’s educational world, this is not always the case. However, you can safely assume that a three-credit course is three times as time-consuming as a one-credit course. A full-time student generally enrolls in 12-15 credit hours per semester. Homework also increases as credit hours increase. You should always plan to spend three hours per week per credit hour completing homework. So, if you are taking 12 credits, plan to spend 12 hours per week in class, and 36 additional hours per week completing homework.
Lower Division and Upper Division Courses
Just as credit hours tell you how big a college course is, the class level tells you how advanced the course is. A 100 level course is designed for first year students, a 200 level course for second year students, a 300 level course for third year students and a 400 level course for fourth year students. This is a general principle, and not a requirement.
Tuition & Fees
The basic cost of attending a particular course is called "tuition." Tuition is designated per credit hour. Tuition at UAS-Sitka is $128 per credit for lower division courses, and $144 per credit for upper division courses. Tuition does not include fees, books, housing, transportation, etc. Most colleges, including UAS, also charge specialized fees in addition to tuition. These fees could include: lab fees, technology fees, distance education fees, and student government fees. For more information of tution and fees, visit the tuition & fees page.
The college world can be confusing. The good news is that you are not on your own. A staff or faculty advisor has been appointed by the college to assist you in the selection of your courses and the establishment of your educational goals. This person is trained to know what is available at the college to help you succeed. But your advisors can’t help you if you do not go to them. They’re there to help.
Although few students read the academic catalog, you will be responsible for its content. The academic catalog is the operating manual for the college. It contains all degree information, academic processes, student services and course information. Once you get over the dry reading, you will find it full of interesting and useful information. Use the catalog as a reference. Learn where to find useful information. You’ll be glad you did.
When you have completed a set of prescribed coursework, and you have applied for graduation, UAS-Sitka certifies that you have achieved a certain level of education. Just as credit hours represent the unit of a class, degrees represent the unit of all your classes combined. To receive a “certificate,” you must complete a specific set of courses, generally between 12 and 30 total credit hours (depending on the program). It represents the first level of education achievement.
To receive an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree, you must complete a specific set of courses, and 60 total credit hours. The A.A.S. is generally a vocation-specific degree. To receive the Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree, you must complete a specific (yet flexible) set of courses, and 60 total credit hours. The A.A. is a generalist degree, and counts as the first two years of most Bachelors degrees. To receive a Bachelors Degree, you must complete a specific set of courses, and 120 total credit hours. To receive a Masters Degree, you must first complete a Bachelors degree, must then complete a specific set of courses, and from 30-60 total graduate credit hours.
Accreditation and Transfer Credit
Most colleges are accredited by regional accrediting associations (UAS is accredited through Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges). Colleges approved by these agencies have been thoroughly investigated and are certified to provide you with a quality education. College credits usually transfer easily between these schools (though not always satisfying degree requirements at the second school). Colleges which are not accredited come with no seal of approval, and courses you take at these schools most likely will not transfer to an accredited college.
Transcripts and Grades
Your transcript is your record of courses and grades at UAS-Sitka. It is an official document, and can only be issued by the registrar’s office in Juneau. If you transfer to another college, you will need to have your official transcripts sent to that school. You may also be required to submit a copy of your transcript to prospective employers. Unofficial copies of your transcript are available free from the Information Counter. On your transcript, you will see several types of grades. The most common are A-B-C-D-F-WD-DF-I. WD refers to a course you withdrew from. DF refers to a course which is deferred, meaning the course was not scheduled to be completed by the time grades are due. I refers to a course in which you received an Incomplete grade. For more information regarding grades, see the UAS-Juneau Records Office Website.
Your grade point average (GPA) is the numerical representation of your grades. On a 4.0 scale (like the one used at UAS-Sitka), an A is equal to 4 points, a B is equal to 3 points, a C is equal to 2 points, a D is equal to 1 point, and an F is equal to 0 points. All of your grade points are totaled, and then divided by the number of credits you attempted (including classes you failed). The resulting number is your GPA.
Many of your classes may be distance delivered over the telephone. When you take such a course, you will dial a number which will give you access to a telephone classroom. You will then be connected via conference-call to students around the state, as well as to your instructor.