Glossary: terms to know

These are terms that are used frequently in higher education.

Academic advisor
The person who is available in an advising office or who has been assigned to answer your questions, assist in course selection, and help with other academic matters. The advisor may be a professional staff member or a faculty member.

Academic support programs
These programs support your learning at the college or university. Some programs are available to anyone who is a student; others have eligibility requirements. The academic advisor can suggest academic support programs that can benefit you.

Articulation agreements
Formal agreements between higher education institutions, frequently between two- and four-year institutions, establishing the transfer of courses and credits.

Free elective (elective credit)
A free elective is a course that is accepted for credit but not counted toward fulfilling general education or major requirements.

General education
General education is a grouping of courses from different areas that the faculty at a particular institution have selected so that students receive a well-balanced and rich education. The distribution areas and the courses that satisfy these requirements are decided by faculty. The general education programs and the transfer courses meeting these requirements are included in section 1 of the Transfer Guide for Students.

Receiving institution
The two- or four-year college or university to which you are transferring. It is the right of the receiving institution to evaluate your credits for transfer and decide how many credits to accept.

Reverse transfer
To transfer to a two-year college after having earned credits at a four-year college or university.

The official record of all courses attempted and completed and grades earned. When a degree is earned, the degree and major are indicated on the transcript.

Transfer credit
Courses may or may not transfer based on the equivalency to courses offered at the college or university. A course may transfer as an equivalent course, in which case you receive credit for the course either as a requirement or as an elective. Most majors have at least some elective course choices that the free elective credit can be used to meet.

Transfer student
In general, transfer students have taken a course(s) at an accredited institution of higher education and plan to transfer the credit for the course(s) to another institution. Colleges and universities may define a transfer student differently based on the number of credits a student has successfully completed at another institution. It is important to find out if you are classified as a transfer student or an incoming freshman because the criteria and application process are different.


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Last updated March 31, 2004

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For more info contact:

For specific  information about transferring to CCRI, RIC, or URI contact the admissions office directly

For general questions contact:

Academic & Student Affairs
Phyllis Harnick