Higher Ed Lingo

Understanding Higher Ed Lingo

We also understand that in higher education we use some words that are confusing. For example: what is a Matriculation Ceremony?, what is a syllabus?, and what are Convenience Points? If you’ve found yourself asking these questions and others, check out our own guide to Higher Education Lingo:

Convocation: A formal ceremony at a college or university where awards are given. At BU, The convocation ceremonies are held by specific schools and colleges. It is where graduates are recognized individually and they walk across the stage for that iconic handshake photo. Length of the ceremony varies by school / college / department. Regalia is required for the convocation ceremony.

Syllabus: An outline of the subjects in a course of study or teaching. It is provided to students by the teacher, typically on the first day of class. It details class subjects, assignments, testing, due dates, and HUB information.

Matriculation: The formal process of entering a university. At BU, a ceremony is held for incoming freshmen the Sunday before classes start. 

Office Hours: Professors and teaching assistants schedule time outside of class to meet with students.

Academic Advisor: A professional staff member designated to help a student explore the value of a general education, review services and policies of the institution, discuss educational and career plans, and make appropriate course selections. Students are required to meet with their academic advisors at least once a semester, specifically before course selection. Once the student meets with the academic advisor, the academic advisor will provide the student a class registration code, which allows the student to register for classes on their registration day. 

Leave of absence (LOA): A temporary interruption in a student’s program of study during which the student is considered to be enrolled. It is granted by the College in which the student is enrolled in.

Suspension: Students on Academic Probation face Academic Suspension or Dismissal when they have not achieved good academic standing after the most recent semester of Academic Probation. Students who, in the determination of the department and based on past academic performance, are not in a position to raise their GPA to the necessary level to graduate within the remaining courses of their program, will be dismissed from the program. Dismissal results in permanent separation from the University.

Withdrawal “W”: Full-semester courses dropped after the drop deadline will be indicated on the transcript with a “W” grade, and the student will be charged for the course. Standard full-semester courses may not be dropped later than 10 full weeks after the start of the semester.

Student Link/Share Link: Boston University website with direct access to public and personal academic, financial and institutional data maintained in the University’s central computer system.

Convenience Points: A type of payment form on campus. Students can use convenience points to pay for textbooks, eat at on-campus dining locations, buy everyday items, do laundry, and more. Students access their Convenience Points by using their Terrier Cards, just like a bank debit card. Convenience points are purchased through the Student Link. 

Judicial Affairs: Office that adjudicates judicial conduct cases and provides judicial records for a variety of needs (including completing Dean’s Certification Forms for the transfer and graduate school application process). Judicial Affairs is the primary administrator of the Code of Student Responsibilities.

Provost: The chief academic officer of the University and has responsibility for the University’s academic and budgetary affairs. The Provost collaborates with the President in setting overall academic priorities for the University and allocates funds to carry these priorities forward.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): A federal law that affords parents the right to have access to their children’s education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records. When a student turns 18 years old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student (“eligible student”).