Glossary of Terms

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Academic Advisor: The student’s primary contact person. All students have an academic advisor and all students must meet with their academic advisors during the registration period for each semester. The advisor’s name and contact information is in each student’s PAWS account.

Academic Dismissal: The academic status of students who are unable to return to FSU due to unsatisfactory academic progress. Students who are dismissed are not allowed to enroll at FSU for at least two semesters.

Academic Probation: The academic status of students who have below a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Students who are placed on academic probation must meet with their advisors to review the list of requirements that they must adhere to in order to continue as an FSU student.

Academic Warning: The academic status of students who earn below a 1.5 semester GPA and below a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Students placed on academic warning must meet with their advisors to ensure that they are on the correct path to graduation.

Authorization to Attend another Institution: A form that must be completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office before current FSU students can take summer or intersession courses at another institution.

Beacon: An online early alert system that allows professors and staff to share concerns and praise with a student and/or the other faculty and staff who have direct connections to the student.

Catalog: The document that outlines academic policies, graduation requirements, major/minor requirements, and course descriptions. Students are governed by the catalog that was current at the time that they enrolled in college.

Corequisite: A course that must be taken at the same time as another course. If a course has a corequisite, it will be noted in the course description in the catalog and in PAWS.

Course Load: The number of credits a student is taking in a given semester. A full-time course load is 12-18 credits per semester.

Concentration/Focus Area: The subfields within some majors that students choose from and that will determine the specific courses students will take to meet their major requirements.

Credit Hour: The unit used to indicate how much credit a class is worth towards graduation. One credit hour is usually equal to one hour of instruction per week for a 15 week semester. Most courses are worth 3 credits, but courses range from 0.5 to 12 credits.

Drop/Add Period: A timeframe at the very beginning of each semester where students can register for classes or get out of classes without it showing up on their transcripts or affecting their GPAs.

Elective Credit: Credit hours/courses that are not part of the GEP and that do not count towards a student’s major or minor.

FERPA - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974: A federal law that specifies the rights of students regarding their educational records. The Catalog contains information that is more detailed.

FERPA - Release of Information: An electronic form, available in PAWS, that allows students to give permission for parents/guardians to access academic, billing, financial aid, grades, and/or conduct information about the student.

FERPA – Restrict Directory Information: An electronic form, available in PAWS, that students complete if they would like to restrict the university from releasing information about them that is exempt from FERPA.

GEP - General Education Program: a graduation requirement that consists of 40-42 credit hours of courses in a variety of disciplines, often taken early in a student’s college career, to help build a foundation for success in the major and to provide breadth of knowledge in a variety of areas.

GPA - Grade Point Average: A number that represents the average value of the final grades students have earned in all of their courses throughout their time in college. The highest GPA a student can earn is a 4.00.

Major: The primary academic discipline that a student chooses to study. Each major requires a specific number of classes and credits. All students must have a major.

Mid-semester Warning: A notice given halfway through the semester to students who are earning a D or an F in any 100/200 level courses or in a 300/400 level course that is part of the General Education Program.

Minor: A field of study that students can choose as a secondary discipline. Minors require fewer credits than majors and are optional.

Overload: Taking more than 18 credits in one semester. Students must follow the procedure outlined in the catalog to obtain permission to take more than 18 credits in a semester.

PAWS: The online portal where students can see their schedules, check their grades, manage billing and financial aid matters, register for classes, withdraw from classes, etc.

Prerequisite: A course that must be successfully completed prior to taking another course. Not all courses have prerequisites, but if a course does, it will be noted in the course description in the catalog and in PAWS.

Syllabus: A document that outlines the objectives, policies, assignments, and schedule for each course.

Transcript: A record of all of the courses a student has attempted and the grade earned in each course. Transcripts can be accessed via the PAWS portal.

Withdraw: When a student chooses to discontinue a class after the drop/add period but before the withdrawal deadline. Students earn a grade of W, which does not affect their GPA.

Quality Points: Most letter grades are assigned a number that is used to calculate a student’s GPA: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, and F, WF, FX= 0.