Definitions and Terms
Admissions: The department that helps students who are applying to go to WOU or who have been admitted to WOU. Employees here can answer any of your questions about getting into WOU. Also the word “admission” means the process of applying to attend a university or college.
Admitted: Students who have turned in their application materials and been accepted to attend WOU are called admitted students.
Enrolled: These are admitted students who have signed up for WOU classes.
ACT/SAT: Two tests that students can take when they are high school students. Some students take both, and some take just one. If you are a student who has a GPA of 2.75 or better, you can apply to WOU without those test scores. However, most universities across the country do require at least one of these scores.
GPA: This stands for grade-point average. Basically, this number is a gauge of how good your grades are in high school and in college. A 3.0 is a B average. If you have a high school GPA of 2.75 or better, you can apply to WOU without ACT/SAT scores. If your GPA is lower than 2.75, there are some additional things you need to provide in order to apply to attend WOU. Students can find their GPAs on their high school transcripts or their latest report card. College students can find their GPAs on their university transcripts.
Transcript: This is a list of all your grades from four years of high school. Your high school guidance counselor can get you official copies of your transcript. They will be provided in a sealed envelope. DON’T open it! College admissions offices won’t accept a transcript envelope that isn’t sealed. Some high schools prefer to send official transcripts directly to the college a student is applying to; check to see what your counselor prefers. After you complete college courses, you will have a transcript from any universities you attend.
Tuition and fees: These numbers are how much it costs to go to WOU. They are big numbers, but there are a lot of ways to pay less. In fact, most WOU students receives money to make his or her bill lower. The tuition cost is based on how many credits students take each term. The fees pay for student services such as the health center, student activities, sports and many other things.
Credits: Each class you take earns you a certain number of credits. You need 180 credits to graduate from WOU. Most students take 15 credits per term, which is usually about four or five classes. If you take 15 credits each term of the academic year and pass them all, you will graduate in four years. You might see “credit hours” on other college websites. This is the same as “credits” and does not mean the class runs three hours long.
Term: WOU has four terms each year, but the majority of students have classes in three: fall term (the start of the year, just like high school), winter term and spring term (also known as the academic year). WOU’s system is called a quarter format, and it’s sort of unusual. If you look at other colleges and universities, you might see the word “semester,” which means that school only has two terms each academic year.
Cost of attendance: Just about every college or university has a cost of attendance calculator on its website. It adds together estimated costs such as tuition, fees, campus housing, transportation, books and supplies and miscellaneous to end up with a total number for going to WOU. But there are a lot of factors that affect that number, so it’s really just to give you a ballpark idea of what to expect. It is not the amount you will pay to attend WOU.
Registrar: The Registrar’s office is the department that handles issues that have to do with classes, transcripts, GPAs, graduation and other academic-based records. There is an actual person who is the Registrar, but a customer service representative for that department can answer questions for you.
Registration: This is when you sign up for classes. WOU students register for classes three times each year, once for each term. Freshmen usually do their first registration during a Summer Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) event. Your assigned adviser can help you decide which courses to take so that you stay on track to graduate. Admitted students have access to DegreeTracks, a program that helps keep students organized and focused.
Undergraduate: Sometimes called “undergrads,” these are students who are working towards their a bachelor’s degree.
Graduate: Student who have a bachelor’s degree and now are in school to get an advanced degree such as a master’s or doctorate.
Major: The main field you want to study. A major requires up to 90 credits, and it is the program that will appear on your degree, such as a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
Minor: The secondary field you want to study. Most minor require around 25-36 credits. Your degree won’t have your minor written on it, but your transcript will show it.
B.A., B.S.: Most bachelor’s degrees are a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. The B.A. has a two-year language requirement while the B.S. does not. It doesn’t really matter whether you earn a B.A. or a B.S. Employers just want you to have a bachelor’s degree.
There are other tricky words you might come across when considering college. You’ll find more definitions on the tabs above that address specific topics, such as Admissions and Housing.
Finacial Aid terms
Letter of recommendation: This is a letter to universities from a high school teacher or guidance counselor. In the letter, the writer will talk about you and why he or she believes you will be a good college student. The writer might talk about how hard you work in class, your attendance, how you work with others and many other topics. Many high schools have a form for students to fill out when they want a teacher or counselor to write this kind of letter. Ask your counselor what he or she prefers.
ACT/SAT: Two tests that students can take when they are high school students. Some students take both, and some take just one. If you are a student who has a GPA of 3.0 or better, you can apply to WOU without those test scores. However, most university across the nation do require at least one of these scores.
GPA: It stands for grade-point average. Basically, this number is a gauge of how good your grades were in high school. A 3.0 is a B average. If you have a high school GPA of 3.0 or better, you can apply to WOU without ACT or SAT scores. If your GPA is lower than 3.0, there are some additional things you need to provide in order to apply to go to WOU. (Click the Admissions tab on the left). Students can find their GPAs on their high school transcripts or their latest report card.
Registrar: All issues that have to do with classes, transcripts, GPAs, graduation and other academic-based records happen in this office. There is an actual person who is the registrar, but a customer service representative for that department also can answer your questions.
Transcript: This is a list of all your grades from four years of high school. Your high school guidance counselor can get you official copies of your transcript. They will be in a sealed envelope. DON’T open it! College admissions offices won’t accept a transcript envelope that isn’t sealed. Some high schools prefer to send official transcripts directly to the college a student is applying to; check to see what your counselor prefers.
Tuition Equity: A law that allows students who are not citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States and who meet some other requirements to be exempt from non-resident tuition and fees.
Definitions of University Housing terms
University Housing: The general use of this word means “the department for people who live on campus,” but it encompasses a lot of other elements. For example, Campus Dining is its own department, but students who live in University Housing facilities mainly lump the “food part” of resident life together with the housing part.
Campus Dining: The department that oversees all the food outlets on campus (Valsetz Dining Hall, Caffe Allegro, The Press, the Wolf Grill and Western Deli) as well as campus catering. Campus dining administers students’ meal plans and is one of the largest employers of students on campus.
Residence hall: University Housing offers lots of different living options, such as traditional “dorms,” apartments and family housing. The term “residence hall” is used as a general term for all of them, both for freshmen and upperclassmen.
Meal plan: There are five different meal plan options for on-campus student residents. They operate on a debit account that allows students to purchase any amount of food at any time during the day. Students choose their meal plan as part of their University Housing reservation.
Contract: WOU students who live in the residence halls sign a contract with university stating they will stay the whole year in the halls. It’s the university’s equivalent of an apartment lease. The contract can be canceled under certain circumstances.
Live-learn community: Residence halls where all the students are interested in a specific theme (outdoors, creative arts, global community) or academic interest (Criminal Justice, Business, Honors program).
Move-in Day: The Sunday in the fall right before New Student Week when residence hall students move into their rooms. It’s a well-orchestrated event that’s full of excitement.
R.A.: Resident Assistants are sophomores or upperclassmen who oversee students in their assigned residence halls. They prioritize safety for all students and facilitate regular informational sessions on various topics that are useful to residents.
Definitions of Terms about Jobs
Student employment: There are hundreds of jobs on campus that involve doing just about any work you can think of. It’s not just filing papers or washing dishes in the dining hall. Students assist professors, work in student media (newspaper, radio station or literary journal), paint signs, help with child care, work in administrative offices, shelve books, serve as baristas and a ton of other options. Campus jobs are extremely popular for the hard-working WOU student population.
Work study: A type of funding from the federal government that helps pay the student’s wages either on or off campus. At WOU, students can apply for work using a program called Handshake. You can get help finding a job at WOU’s Service Learning and Career Development office. There are hundreds of jobs on campus that you can apply for using work study funds.
Service learning: Although students don’t get paid for service learning activities such as Alternative Break, they gain valuable life skills, volunteerism knowledge and resume-building experience. Alternative Break opportunities allow students to serve in communities far and wide for the benefit of the people being helped and the students themselves.
Career development: Services that include resume writing assistance, mock interviews, mentorship programs, internships and much more. Students can find valuable information and assistance in the career development office every year that they attend WOU, not just senior year when graduation is on the horizon.