Understanding College Terminology

College has a language all its own, and in order to be a successful student, you’ll need to learn the lingo.

Here are some basics to get you started:

Academic Advisor

This person will help you select the correct courses, review course prerequisites, assist with transfer information and help you with academic problems you may encounter. The advisor will also assist you in creating a course plan for future semesters.

Contact or meet with an advisor »

Academic calendar

The College's Academic Calendar contains dates for the start of classes, holidays, exam days, registration dates, drop/audit deadlines, important dates for financial aid, and other related activities. It can also be be found in the College Catalog.

Academic probation

All colleges require students to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) to remain in school. Any student not maintaining the required GPA will be placed on probation. Students on academic probation are limited to 7 credits in the fall and spring semesters, and 4 credits in the winter and summer semesters. Students who would like to request permission to appeal this credit limit must meet with an academic advisor

Academic suspension

Students on academic probation may be placed on academic suspension if they fail to maintain or achieve the minimum GPA required. A student placed on suspension will be dismissed from the college for one full year. There is no appeal for academic suspension. When that year is over, students will be able to return to CCBC on academic probation, but will need to meet with an academic advisor before they can register for classes.

Associate Degree

The associate degree is earned by the completion of a program of study of a minimum of 60 credits. CCBC offers hundreds of associate degree programs.

Learn more about the associate degree requirements »

Associate of Applied Science

This degree designed to lead graduates directly into employment in a specific career. While AAS degrees do not always transfer well, many of the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs at CCBC also have articulation agreements with local four-year institutions.


A student who does not want to receive credit in a course, but still wants attend the class to learn the material, may audit the course. A student may switch from credit to audit after the semester starts. Check the academic calendar for the final date to switch to audit within a semester.


CCBC’s catalog provides all types of information students need to know. It lists all the programs of study offered as well as the requirements for those programs. You will find information on CCBC’s admission procedures, philosophy and mission statements, financial aid, policies and procedures, student life, student services, general education requirements, etc.

Co-Curricular activities

These are non-classroom activities that can contribute to a well-rounded education. These can include activities such as athletics, clubs, student government, and volunteer and community service opportunities.

Visit the Campus Life and Activities page to see all of the exciting opportunities available to CCBC students. 

Co-Curricular Activities

Course formats

CCBC offers three different types of instruction:
  • Online
  • Blended
  • Face-to-face 
A set of definitions for these course formats are provided to help students understand these formats prior to enrolling.

CCBC course format definitions »

Credit hours

Courses taken in college are measured by credit hours. To earn one credit hour, a student must attend a class for one classroom hour (usually 55 minutes) per week for the whole semester (usually 16 weeks). More time is required to earn a credit hour in lab classes. Classes are offered in 1-5 credit hour increments.

Billable hours are granted for developmental classes (classes below college level). Billable hours work the same way as credit hours for financial aid, and when determining student standing (full- or part-time), but will not grant college credit on a transcript.

Drop and add

Students are permitted to drop courses from their class schedules and/or add other courses. This can only be done during specific times in the semester so be sure to check the academic calendar for these important dates. Dropping courses can also have an effect on your financial aid so you will want to check with the financial aid office before dropping a class.

Non-Credit / developmental courses

To earn a credit degree or certificate at CCBC, you may first be required to take developmental courses in math or academic literacy to build on your skills to prepare you for college level courses. This will be determined by your placement test, SAT or ACT results. 

CCBC also offers many non-credit courses through the School of Continuing Education. Through Continuing Education students can gain job skills, explore new areas of interests, develop potential or enrich life experiences through cultural and/or recreational studies.

Prerequisite courses

A course you are required to take before another course. It may be a developmental course or a credit course. Course prerequisites are listed at the end of each course description in the catalog and in the schedule of classes.

Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) provides college students with the potential to earn credit for college level learning acquired outside of a traditional academic environment. Examples include portfolio assessment, departmental exams, CLEP exams, DSST exams, Advanced Placement (AP) exams, International Baccalaureate, and military experience

Schedule of classes

The CCBC schedule of classes is available through the CCBC website, and through your SIMON account. It includes a list of courses being offered and their times, locations, starting and ending dates, and sometimes the instructor’s name.

Success Navigator

Success Navigators Success Navigators assess students’ needs and help secure appropriate referrals, through CCBC and community resources, so students can receive timely help. This voluntary referral process is intended to be pro-active, rather than situationally reactive. We strive to provide resources of support as early as possible to help ensure our students’ success throughout the semester.

Contact a Success Navigator »


A syllabus is an outline of important information about a course. This document is written by the instructor and includes important dates, assignments, expectations and policies specific to the course. These are usually given to you during the first class meeting. 

CCBC also offers Common Course Outlines. Like a syllabus, a common course outline shows the information taught in the course, but no specific assignments or due dates.