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Glossary of College Terms

Academic and Career Paths: All credential programs at CCRI are now divided amongst the college's seven Academic and Career Paths. Organizing programs of study in this way helps students set goals, explore careers and majors, and receive tailored guidance through their college career. If you choose General Studies as a major, you will also select one of the Academic and Career Paths to focus coursework in.


Academic Coaching: Academic coaching is a personalized student-coach partnership with appointments tailored to your needs. Meetings may include discussing organization and time management skills, textbook-reading techniques, note-taking tips, and test-taking strategies.


Academic Standards Policy: the main goal of any academic standards policy is to provide assistance to those students who are experiencing academic difficulty. An early warning to students experiencing academic problems often results in their seeking academic support through a variety of options that help students achieve academic success. The goal for the College and its students is to improve academic performance so that students may attain their academic and career goals. Progress in academic standards is also sometimes called: Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).


Access/Trio: From helping with early registration to just lending a friendly ear when life gets overwhelming, Access counselors keep their students on the path towards success. Students whose parents never completed a bachelor's degree, meet low-income federal guidelines, and/or are persons with a documented disability may qualify for Access and the special support services that are offered. The goal of Access is to ensure the retention, graduation and transfer of its participants within three years.


Access Plus (Access+): provides individualized support to students who have a documented disability and are pursuing a degree at CCRI.

Accreditation: the act of certifying an educational institution or program as meeting all official formal requirements of academic excellence, facilities, curriculum, etc.; the status of being so certified. CCRI is accredited by NECHE (New England Commission of Higher Education).


Accuplacer: a computer-based test consisting of four parts. Students accepted into a credential program at the Community College of Rhode Island are required to complete the mandatory assessment in order to be placed in the best possible classes.


Admissions Counselors: representatives of CCRI who help you select a major and apply to the college.

Advisor/Assigned Advisor: each matriculated CCRI student is assigned an advisor; you can find out who your advisor is in Starfish. Advisors can help you through all processes including placement, course selection, major selection, career exploration, registration, transfer planning, and more.


Alternate Financial Aid Application: application for financial aid for undocumented students who cannot file a FAFSA

Aptitude: capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something; talent


Assessment: appraisal, evaluation, or test


Associate Degree: an academic program taken at the undergraduate level (the first stage after secondary school). It aims to give students the basic technical and academic knowledge and transferable skills they need to go on to employment or further study in their chosen field.


Blackboard: the learning management system/course management system that CCRI uses for online instruction and communication. Students can access course materials their professors make available and may participate in class discussions online.


Books and Other Course Materials: in college, students acquire their own textbooks and other class supplies. Most are available through the college store.

Career Services: an office at CCRI with counselors and workshops to help you decide on a career or major, self-assess career aptitudes, and find an internship, prepare for a job interview, and more.

Clinical Experience: often in health fields, students have hands-on experiences while supervised by a professional. Clinical experiences are a type of Work-Based Learning.


Course Management System (CMS): Online software platform that serves as the digital home for both face to face and distance learning courses (also called learning management system or LMS)


Credential: anything that provides the basis for confidence, belief, credit, etc. At CCRI, we offer several credentials: associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas


Curriculum: the course of study in a class, major, credential program, or college/university.


Degree Works: a web‐based planning tool to help students and advisors monitor student's progress toward degree completion. DegreeWorks provides a more accessible, convenient, and organized way for students to know where they are academically and how they can plan the rest of their college careers (definition from MSU Billings) You can access your degree report in MyCCRI.


Developmental Education: designed to help students enhance their chances for academic success by providing opportunities for skill development through courses and programs designed to improve basic skills in writing, reading and mathematics.


Disability Services for Students (DSS): Office at CCRI that assists students with documented disabilities access classroom and testing accommodations and support services.

Enrollment: the act of entering a college or university as a student.


Enrollment Day: events held on-campus to provide a one-stop-shop for everything from applying to advisement to course registration. Enrollment Days are usually held throughout the summer on each CCRI campus.

ESOL: English for Speakers of Other Languages. Courses for learning English for speakers of other languages are offered at CCRI through Adult Education (non-credit) and the English Department (credit)


FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. An application to determine eligibility for financial aid. Students fill out the FAFSA at the start of their college career and each academic year once enrolled.


Financial Plan: a plan for how students will pay for their college education. Students should contact the Financial Aid office for advice and to explore types of aid available. A student may use a combination of personal savings or earnings, scholarships, grants, and loans to finance college.

Fieldwork: a type of Work-Based Learning during which students shadow or work in their field of study/ major field.


Financial Aid: financial assistance to students who might otherwise be unable to further their education without such support. Depending on the type of aid, eligibility is based on one or more of the following criteria: financial need of the individual (in the case of dependent students, family need is used), educational costs, academic program and availability of funds.


General Education: courses intended to broaden your knowledge beyond what you are studying in your chosen major, and serve as the core of your educational experience (definition adapted from URI)


General Studies: an Associate of Arts degree program at CCRI with maximum flexibility in course choice. Students in General Studies will also choose an academic and career path or follow a JAA agreement to help focus their coursework.

Grade Point Average (GPA): a number that indicates how well or how high you scored in your courses on average. It’s meant to score you (usually on a GPA scale between 1.0 and 4.0) during your studies and shows whether your overall grades have been high or low and how well you are meeting the requirements of your credential program. (definition adapted from University of Glasgow)


Guided Pathways: an integrated, institution-wide approach to student success based on intentionally designed, clear, coherent, and structured educational experiences, informed by available evidence, that guide each student effectively and efficiently from her/his point of entry through to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and careers with value in the labor market. (definition adapted from the Pathways Collaborative)


Internship: a student acts as a trainee in an organization to gain experience, closely supervised by the employer. Can be paid or unpaid. Internships are generally at least 120 hours long. Internships are a type of Work-Based Learning.


Joint Admissions Agreement (JAA): specialized, formal CCRI to RIC or URI transfer plans coordinated at the state level.


Major: a specific subject area that students specialize in. Typically, between one-third and one-half of the courses you’ll take in college will be in your major or related to it. (definition adapted from the College Board)


Matriculated/Matriculation: to enroll in a college or university as a candidate for a degree (as opposed to taking classes without a major).


MyCCRI: all CCRI faculty, staff, and students have MyCCRI accounts. Through their MyCCRI accounts, students get to their college e-mail, their student accounts and records. All students will have a Username and Password, which will be used for all technology at the college. The IT help desk will assist with login issues.

MyMajors Assessment: an informal self-guided assessment that allows you to explore career and major options based on your interests and aptitudes.


Onboarding: The processes involved in entering a college for the first time. At CCRI, the onboarding period for new students is from acceptance to registering for your second term of classes.


Orientation: A program or series of events designed to acclimate you to college. At CCRI, our main orientation is an online program.


PATH 1010: a first year experience course, designed to help students understand the physical, social, emotional, and academic requirements of college and explore major and program options at CCRI to create specific career-minded goals for their college career. PATH 1010 is recommended for first-semester students, especially if they are in General Studies.

Pre-Requisite: a course that must be completed before entering another more advanced course or degree program.

Registration: Selection of specific sections of a course for a term (semester). During registration, you pick not only which courses you will take, but the modality (face to face, online, or hybrid) and meeting time/place.


Rhode Island Promise: through the Promise scholarship, all Rhode Islanders coming right out of high school are eligible to pursue associate degrees at CCRI tuition-free.


Scholarship Opportunities: scholarships are a kind of student financial aid that do not need to be repaid. They may have GPA or other eligibility requirements. CCRI has a variety of scholarship opportunities for students.


Social Workers: The office of Community and Social Resources at CCRI has social workers who help students find resources to meet their basic needs. Students who are experiencing food or housing insecurity, transportation difficulties, or other issues paying for necessities should contact them.

Starfish: an online software platform through which you can connect with your professors, receive attendance, grade, and other performance alerts, and schedule appointments with your advisor, tutoring, and academic coaches. You will find a Starfish link in MyCCRI.


The Tutoring Center: offers tutoring and academic coaching to students who want help with certain subjects, or with overall time management planning and study skills strategies.

Syllabus: an outline or other brief statement of the main points of a discourse, the subjects of a course of lectures, the contents of a curriculum, etc. You will receive a syllabus for each class you take at CCRI.


Term: a time period within an academic year that it takes to complete a course. A semester is generally a 15-week term, while there are other shorter terms, such as CCRI's 6-week summer sessions, and three-week J-term in January.

Transcript: an official report supplied by a school on the record of an individual student, listing subjects studied, grades received, etc.


Transfer: moving credits from one college to another for the purpose of continuing one's education. CCRI advisors help students make transfer plans.


TutorMe: an online tutoring platform that allows you to connect with verified tutors 24 hours a day covering more than 300 subjects. This service provides a lifeline to our students who may not be able to access a CCRI tutor, or those who need immediate assistance outside of our business hours.


Undergraduate: the first level of university or college study; a student in a university or college who has not received a first degree (associate or bachelor)


Work-Based Learning: planned, structured learning experiences where they can develop and apply academic, technical, and essential skills in a real or simulated workplace setting.


Writing Center: the place to go for any help with writing assignments, no matter the subject. CCRI has Writing Center locations in Warwick, Lincoln, and Providence. They also offer virtual writing tutoring.