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Glossary of Terms

Here is a list of common terms used by the Registration and Records Office.



A faculty member or other individual designated to assist students in the educational process through planning their program of study.

Advisory Committee

A representative group of individuals from a given career field who assist and advise regarding programs representing their career area. Committees are required for all career and technical programs.

Articulation Agreement

A formal agreement between colleges and universities that identifies courses on one campus that are comparable to courses on another campus.


The process of collecting student information through standardized tests, academic transcripts, surveys, and interviews for the purpose of assisting students with the development of educational plans.

Associate Degree

A degree granted to students who complete a specific program of study, usually totaling around 60 semester credits. Aims Community College offers Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)

The degree designation for programs designed to lead to employment.

Associate of Arts, (A.A.)

General degree granted by Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

Associate of General Studies (A.G.S)

A degree consisting of general education and electives. The student may choose from a variety of Liberal Arts and Career/Technical courses depending on particular educational needs.

Associate of Science, (A.S.)

General degree granted by Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

Bachelor’s Degree

Degree granted by four-year colleges, usually the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or the Bachelor of Sciences (B.S.).

Career and Technical Education

A federal designation of state-approved programs designed to lead to employment.


A state-approved block of courses designed to lead to employment. The length may range from two courses up to one year.

Class Schedule

The listing of courses including hours, instructor and room assignments to be offered each term.

Class Standing

Designation for undergraduate students of freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior standing. These are usually determined by earned semester hours and not by the number of years a student has been in college. The number of credits needed for class standing can vary by college. For example:

  • Freshman: Fewer than 30 credit hours
  • Sophomore: At least 30 credit hours but fewer than 60 credit hours
  • Junior: At least 60 credit hours but fewer than 90 credit hours
  • Senior: At least 90 credit hours

Clock hour

The amount of actual time spent in the classroom, lab or shop.


The unit of value given to each class. Credits can vary depending on the class and the school. They can be calculated based on lecture time, lab time or outside homework time expected. Receiving a passing grade in the class will earn the student the number of credits that class is worth. Specific numbers of credits in certain areas of study are required for graduation.


The area of study a student decides to focus on. It can be used in place of the term “major,” but most often it refers to a particular focus within a major. For example, a Business major may concentrate in Accounting or Marketing.

Competitive Majors

A major at a college which has an additional application process from the college. In order to declare these majors, students may be required to complete certain prerequisites, meet a minimum GPA requirement, create a portfolio, or complete other additional application material. For example, declaring an art major may require portfolios or declaring business may require a minimum GPA and completion of prerequisite courses.


The College Opportunity Trust Fund (COF), created by the Colorado Legislature, provides a stipend to eligible undergraduate students. The stipend pays a portion of your total in-state tuition when you attend a Colorado public institution or a participating private institution. Eligible undergraduate students must apply, be admitted and enroll at a participating institution. Both new and continuing students are eligible for the stipend. Students who are transferring may be able to register online for COF and could be eligible for additional funding when transferring to a participating school.

Course Equivalencies

A guide outlining how a course at one school specifically transfers to another school. Often it indicates what specific requirement the course will meet, such as whether it is toward general education, elective, or major.

Credit Course

Courses for which credit units are granted.


A generally accepted currency of education designed to communicate participation and completion of higher education coursework by representing education by this unit.

Developmental Education Courses

Courses designed to help students to overcome a deficiency in a skill area and prepare for study at the postsecondary (college) level.


A course taken that does not count toward a particular course requirement. However, electives can often be used as credits toward a degree and many associate and bachelor's degrees have elective classes a student can choose from. Electives are often a chance for students to choose a course of interest either within the major or from a wide range of choices of classes the school offers. Check with your advisor to find out if an elective you are considering will count for your degree, as not every class will count as an elective. 


The area of study a student decides to focus on. It can be used in place of the term “major,” but most often it refers to a particular focus within a major. For example, a Business major may choose an emphasis in Accounting or Marketing.


Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Filling out a FAFSA form is the first step in the financial aid process. To be eligible to receive federal financial aid, a student must complete a FAFSA. When a student transfers, financial aid does not automatically follow that student to the new school. FAFSA information must be sent to the transfer school before a financial aid award can be determined.

Full-time Student

A student is considered full-time when they take at least 12 credits per term. However, to complete an associate degree in two years, students should take 15 or more credits per term, excluding summers, of approved course work.

General Education

Certain groups of courses required of all degree candidates.

General Education Requirements

Courses in the Arts and Humanities, Communication, Social Sciences, Science, and Math that provide students with a broad educational experience. Courses are usually introduction classes and provide students with an overview of skills and knowledge. Transfer students often take these courses while attending a community college. Completion of a general education program is required for a bachelor's degree.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The average grade you have received as a result of your academic history. GPA is computed by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of credits taken. Grade points are computed by multiplying what grade a student earns in a class by the number of credits that class is worth.

  • 4 points for each credit of A
  • 3 points for each credit of B
  • 2 points for each credit of C
  • 1 point for each credit of D
  • 0 points for each credit of F

To compute your GPA, take the number of points for your grade and multiply them times the number of credits for that class. For example, if you received a “B” for a 4 credit class, you would multiply 4 credits times 3 (the points earned for a B) and have a total of 12 points. Add all of the points together and divide by the number of credits that you took. If you took a class and did not earn a grade (if you audited a class or have a W), do not include that class in the points or the credits for the GPA.

Graduate Level

A term used to define classes at the master's or doctoral degree levels and students who are working toward these degrees.

Guaranteed Admission

Some schools in the state of Colorado guarantee admission to Colorado community college students who have completed an AA or AS degree with at least a 2.0 GPA. Some majors will have additional admission requirements. Contact the school to which you wish to transfer or your academic advisor for more information.

Independent Courses

Courses offered in a format that provides an opportunity for the student to study intensively a specific topic under the direction of a faculty member.

Individualized Courses

This format requires no class attendance, allows flexible entry times, and permits the student to proceed at his/her own pace. Help is available on request.


A supervised career experience where students begin working in their field of interest while pursuing a degree. Students get work experience and have the opportunity to meet people already working in the field. Typically, students work a certain number of hours per week for a set period of time (for example, 10 hours per week for one semester). Internships can be paid or unpaid, required or optional for some degree programs, or something a student can participate in without earning credits toward a degree. Contact your advisor or career services for more information on internship opportunities.

Liberal Arts Education

Courses and degrees generally accepted as equivalent and transferable to the universities. See "Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S.)."

Lower Division

The first two years of college work, i.e., freshman- and sophomore-level courses. Community colleges typically only offer lower division coursework. 


A specific program of study a student plans to pursue at a college or university.

Master’s Degree

A degree following a bachelor’s degree. It generally takes two years to complete a master’s degree, but some people are able to complete it in one year, while others take longer than two years.


It is a secondary field of specialized study and requires fewer credits than a major to complete. Aims Community College does not offer minors.

Official Transcript

Official record of the classes a student has taken, along with the student's grades in those classes. Students usually need to send an official copy of their Aims Community College transcripts with their transfer applications. Official transcripts are sealed by the college and are often sent directly on the student’s behalf. Students can request their official transcripts at the Registration & Records office.


Programs that can be started by students at a later point in the semester. 

Open Door, or Open Admissions

A policy that permits students to enter the college and enroll in course work. Entrance into specific courses, however, is limited to those who have demonstrated the ability to handle the work.


A subset of a Career and Technical Education (A.A.S.) degree, designating the career area of study.


A graduate degree, often following a master's degree. Sometimes referred to as a "terminal degree" when it's the highest degree possible in a given field. PhDs typically take three or more years to complete.


The process of advising a student to enroll in a particular course based on prerequisites, a valid standardized test or other multiple measures.


A requirement which must be completed prior to enrollment in a course. Prerequisites are listed in the course description. At Aims, you can click on the CRN number to see them. Also called "prereqs."


A formally approved or informal designation for a specific area of study.

Semester Term

A 15-week academic term for Fall and Spring; 10 weeks for Summer.

Semester Credits

Credit earned from a semester system. One (1) quarter-credit hour equals .66 semester-credit hour. Courses in this catalog are indicated in semester terms and total hours of instruction.

Remedial Courses

See "Developmental Education Courses."

Residency Requirement

In many states it is required for a person to reside in that state to be considered eligible for in-state tuition at one of its public colleges or universities. If you plan to transfer to another state, you can check with the transfer school to find out its residency requirement and the tuition difference for in-state and out-of-state tuition.

State Guaranteed Transfer Courses General Education

Courses designated by the State of Colorado through the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to transfer from one public college/university to other public colleges/universities. These courses are designated with a GT (guaranteed transfer) number in the Aims catalog.


A copy of a student’s college record prepared by the Registration & Records Office. See: "Official Transcript" also.

Undergraduate Level

A term used to define classes at the associate and bachelor's degree level and students who are working toward these degrees.

Unofficial Transcript

An unofficial record of the classes a student has taken, along with the student's grades in those classes. Unofficial transcripts can be printed from a student’s My Aims account or can be requested at the Registration & Records office.

Upper Division: the last two years of college work, i.e., junior- and senior-level courses. Upper division work is not offered by or generally accepted in transfer at Aims Community College.