University terms International students should know

University terms International students should know

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Back to all posts Post on Feb 4, 2022

University terms International students should know

When you first go the university, some of the terms used in lecture halls as well as in the corridors can sound alien to you. This is because over the decades, each university has developed its own parlance. While the existing students and faculty are well versed in it, it is common for international students to find it confusing at times. 

We understand that you come from different cultures and don’t want you to feel lost. So, we decided to make a glossary of the most commonly used university words and phrases for you. Here you go! 

Admission-related terms

University phraseology often finds its way to you even before admission. Here are some of the terms that might help you understand things better at application time:

  • A level: This refers to advanced level qualifications based on a student’s display of competence and skill in attaining knowledge. These are considered at the time of the evaluation of your admission application. Check the website of your preferred university to find out how many A levels you need to meet the entry requirements
  • Advising Agreement: This is a document where you request to be granted admission to a certain course by showcasing how it will benefit the said university
  • Signature Document: This is a form in your application that you are required to digitally sign. It  shows your understanding of the rules and norms for the chosen program
  • Admission average: This refers to the overall average of your high school grades required for admission
  • Matriculate/Registration: Matriculate means to enrol in a program or course at a university

Grading-related terms

It will be a good idea to add the following grading-related words to your vocabulary. You will hear them being tossed around throughout semesters. 

  • Credits: These refer to Academic Credit Points. These are units used to determine if a student has met academic requirements and are often calculated against time spent (known as credit hours) by you doing coursework to the grader’s satisfaction
  • Grade Point Average: Universities abroad multiply your subject grades with your credit hours to calculate an average grade at the end of the academic year. This is known as GPA or Grade Point Average
  • Adjustment: This refers to an adjustment of grades to allow you mobility to a better university or course during the academic year. How this works is that if your grades exceed the academic requirement for your current course, you are given the choice to swap 

Campus resources

When you are on campus and you hear the following terms, this is what it could mean:

  • Carrel: Graduate students can have a study area in the library reserved for them sometimes for a fee. This is known as carrel
  • Dorms: These are areas provided by the University for student accommodation. These can also be referred to as halls of residence

Finance-related terms

Learning to handle finances becomes essential when you go the university. Why don’t we start with a few terms that related to the financial services available to you as a student? Here’s the lowdown: 

  • Fellowship: Based on a student’s exceptional academic performance, this is a non-returnable financial aid granted by the Government, school or a university to a student as an award. Check the websites of your shortlisted universities to find out which fellowships you are eligible for
  • Bursary: Non-returnable aid given to students based on financial need. Entrance bursaries are for first-time students
  • Scholarship: This is money awarded to students primarily on academic and personal achievement. This, too, does not need to be paid back. There are entrance scholarships that you can avail. Just explore your options on the university website 
  • Work-study:Convenient, part-time, on-campus jobs for full-time students who need assistance to cover their funding

We understand that you come from different cultures and academic systems. These terms might seem perplexing at first but trust us, you will get used to them. If you ever feel lost, you can just come back and refer to this glossary!

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