Glossary of College Transfer Terms

Community College Student

Familiarize yourself with lingo common to student transfer to help you make more informed decisions and ask the right questions.

Academic Advisor

The senior faculty member in your major or program of study who is assigned to advise you about course choices and degree requirements.

Academic History

Your postsecondary education experience, which is usually represented by a transcript or list of your completed coursework.

Accelerated Study

A program that allows you to complete your degree faster than is normally required, for example taking summer courses.


It is very important that the institution you are attending and want to transfer coursework from is accredited. Other institutions will not accept transfer credit from a school that is not accredited. Colleges in the US are evaluated by both regional and national agencies, not the government, to ensure they meet minimum quality and academic standards. The most recognized and accepted accreditation is regional. Generally colleges will only guarantee that they will accept transfer credits if they are regionally accredited.

Advanced Placement (AP)

College-level courses in a broad variety of subjects that you can take in high school and earn college credit.

American College Testing (ACT)

A national college admissions examination that consists of subject areas in English, Mathematics, Reading and Science. The ACT Plus Writing includes the four subject area plus a 30-minute writing test.


The process of comparing the content of courses that are transferred between colleges or universities to determine how one institution will accept and apply course credit from another.

Associate Degree

A degree granted by an institution after the satisfactory completion of a two-year program of study. Types include the Associate of Arts (A.A.), the Associate of Science (A.S.) and the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.).

Bachelor or Baccalaureate Degree

A degree granted by an institution after the satisfactory completion of a four-year program of study. The most common are the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

CLEP (The College Level Examination Program)

A group of standardized exams that assess college-level knowledge in several subject areas that allow you to test out of taking courses. Consult with institutional Offices of Admission to learn if and how they will accept and award credit for CLEP exams.

Degree Audit

A degree audit provides an analysis of requirements for a particular degree, major, minor or concentration. It measures a student's completed and in-progress coursework against the requirements for a program of study to provide a "progress report" checklist.

Degree Requirements

The authoritative list of courses a student must successfully take to complete a program of study.

Dual Enrollment

A policy that allows a student to earn college credit while in high school.


Programs of study allow for a certain number of courses to count toward the graduation requirement. General Electives are not core to the program and can span a variety of subjects. Program or Major Electives are restricted to courses specific or relevant to the particular area of study.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

A process by which colleges and universities evaluate and award course credit for learning earned outside of the normal academic environment most often from work, life and military training or experience.

Receiving Institution

The institution which offers the program of study a student wishes to complete and will be evaluating and awarding transfer credit.

Residency Requirement

The specific number of credits an institution requires you to complete at that institution to graduate and earn a degree.

Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)

A globally recognized college admissions examination that consists of subject areas in Reading, Writing and Math. The SAT I Reasoning Test concentrates on verbal and mathematical reasoning. The SAT II Subject Tests are subject specific examinations.

Sending Institution

An institution that prepares students for transfer to a receiving institution.

Transfer Agreement

A formal agreement between sending and receiving institutions about how the receiving institution will articulate the coursework from the sending institution and award course credit. It guarantees if a transfer student completes a program of study from the sending institution, they will be guaranteed junior-level standing admission.