teacher talking to student in a classroom

Advising Terms

COD's Counseling, Advising and Transfer Services have compiled this glossary of key advising terms to help you navigate your class schedule.


  • Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) –  designed for students who have met the reading requirement, but placed into Category 2, 3, or 4 writing. Students take English 0492and English 1101 concurrently to meet the English requirement for all degrees/programs.
  • Accuplacer – Reading and writing placement tests.
  • Advisor – A faculty member or program advisor meets with students to help make curriculum choices and discuss progress toward achieving educational goals.
  • Articulation Agreement – A document that outlines the curriculum agree to by College of DuPage and a 4-year college or university to satisfy the degree requirements at College of DuPage and the receiving school.
  • ALEKS – A math placement test required for all entering students without AP or transfer math credit


  • Blackboard – A learning management system. This is where students can access individual courses and the syllabus for each.
  • Broken Enrollment—When a student goes one or more years without being enrolled in any classes and then returns.


  • Counselor—Assists students with educational planning and transfer assistance, career counseling and mental health support.
  • Course Number—The four digit identification number that designates a specific course within a discipline (section number is the 3-5 character sequence associated with the date, time, and instructor of the course).
  • Course – A subject or class in which instruction is offered within a given period of time for a semester and for which credit toward a degree is given.
  • Course load – The total number of semester hours or credit hours in which a student is enrolled for a semester.
  • Credit hour – Hours of classroom study per week over the period of a semester for each course.
  • Curriculum – The whole body of courses offered for study by the college or by a particular department.



  • Degree Audit – Completed through MyAccess, an automated system allowing a student to see how their course work applies to a specific degree program.
  • Developmental Course – A course that is required prior to enrolling in a college level course. These courses begin with the number “0."
  • Discipline – A collection of courses that fall under the same category (i.e. MUSIC or PSYCH for psychology), whereas a program refers to the degree or certificate option which can be comprised of courses that span multiple disciplines.


  • Early Alert—A collaborative initiative between instructor, counselor, and student to provide early support and interventions to students who may be at risk of failing their classes or who are experiencing challenges outside of the classroom.
  • Elective – a subject or course that is accepted toward fulfillment of credit for a degree or certificate but is not specifically required for that degree or certificate


  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – financial aid program offered and secured through the United States Department of Education.
  • Field/Global Studies Course – a course that involves an experiential component, usually involving travel to a destination. Some may serve to meet General Education requirements.
  • Full-time Student—A student enrolled in 12 or more credit hours of coursework per fall or spring semester or 6 hours for a summer semester.


  • General Education Class (Gen Ed)—a core group of courses spanning multiple subjects that are required for every program or degree.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) – Grade point average is a measure of academic performance determined by the letter grades and credits of each of your classes (A=4 points, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0). It is recalculated each semester.
  • Grant – Financial aid that does not have to be paid back.


  • Honors Course –  Courses that require a 3.2 or higher GPA to enroll.
  • Hybrid Course – A course that is delivered through both an in-person format as well as online.


  • Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) – A statewide transfer agreement which is transferrable among over 100 colleges and universities in Illinois.  IAI works best for students who know they are going to transfer, but undecided on the college or university that will grant their 4-year degree.


  • MyAccess – A student management system which houses registration information and student schedules.


  • Online Course – a course that is taught and delivered entirely in an online format.


  • Part-Time Student – A student enrolled in fewer than 12 credit hours of coursework per fall or spring semester or less than 6 hours per summer.
  • Prerequisite – A course requirement to be completed or a level of skill or knowledge to be demonstrated prior to enrollment in a course or program.
  • Probation – The status of a student when their cumulative GPA drops below college standards.  Students may still enroll while on probation, only with the permission of an Academic Counselor.
  • Program of Study – Also referred to a “major” in some cases; this is the academic area a student declares to pursue


  • Registration – The process of officially enrolling in one or more courses.  Students must be admitted to College of DuPage before they can register for classes. Earliest dates for registration vary according to the number of credit hours a student has earned
  • Reverse Transfer – A student who starts their college coursework at a four-year university and subsequently transfers to a community college to either continue or redirect their degree program


  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) – A term used to designate students who may be eligible for financial aid and is determined on the following criteria: cumulative grade point average (GPA); cumulative completion rate (total credits completed divided by total credits attempted); and the student's total credits attempted to date, including transfer credits.
  • Semester—A period of instruction lasting 16 weeks in the Fall and Spring, and 8 weeks in the summer.  Courses in a semester can also be 12 or 8 weeks in duration.
  • Standards of Academic Progress (SOAP) – “SOAP” students are students who are on probation due to falling below a 2.0 grade point average. Group counseling is offered to these students.
  • Student Portal – An electronic hub that houses all student links, including email and access to the ALEKS placement test.
  • Student Planning—Accessible through MY ACCESS, this tool allows students to see their progress towards their degree and plan courses for future semesters.
  • Suspension – The status of students when their cumulative GPA drops below College of DuPage standards for three consecutive semesters.  Students may not enroll while on suspension.


  • Transcript – An official record of academic history including coursework and grades.


  • Withdrawal --  when a student withdraws from a course that is in progress; results in a “W” on the transcript rather than a grade.