VII. Glossary of Terms

i. Immigration Terms

ii. University/Academic Terms

I. IMMIGRATION TERMS

ALTERNATE RESPONSIBLE OFFICER (ARO)
A person who is familiar with the current Exchange Visitor Program regulations, and can assist an exchange student with their concerns when the Responsible Officer or the Exchange Student Advisor is not available.

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CUSTOMS AND BORDER PATROL (CBP)
An agency under the US Department of Homeland Security that in charge of facilitating lawful international travel and trade. They are also in charge of making sure that all travelers that enter the US are entering with the right immigration status.

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CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)
Curricular practical training is a benefit offered to F-1 students to allow them to gain practical experience while they are still in school. This can be a paid/unpaid internship through the Office of Cooperative Education.

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DEPENDENTS
This can be the student’s spouse and/or children. They are considered dependents as the student will be the primary visa holder (F-1 or J-1) and the dependents will be assigned either F-2 or J-2 visas.

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DS-2019
Also called “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitors.” This form is given to exchange students who entered the US on a J-1 visa. It is a form generated with the information from the student’s SEVIS record. It contains details about the student’s program of study and any authorizations that the student has been given.

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DESIGNATED SCHOOL OFFICIAL (DSO)
A school official that is in charge of assisting students with the F-1 visa status with maintaining their nonimmigrant status by informing them of the rules and regulations of their visa status.

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F-1 VISA
This is visa category assigned to students who plans to enter the US to study and earn a degree in the US.

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GRACE PERIOD
The length of time when a student can legally stay in the US after the end of their program. For international students, this is generally 60 days after the end of their program.

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I-20
Also called the “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status”. It is a form generated with the information from the student’s SEVIS record. It contains details about the student’s program of study and any authorizations that the student has been given. This form is issued to any international student who is planning to enter the US on an F-1 visa.

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I-94
Also called an Arrival/Departure Record. It is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document issued to nonimmigrant aliens at the time of lawful entry the United States at an air or sea port of entry.

The Form I-94 is evidence of a non-immigrant’s term of admission and used to document legal status in the United States, including length of stay and departure.

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INDIVIDUAL TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (ITIN)
A tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. All international students must file a tax return, even if they do not expect to owe any taxes. A student can apply for an ITIN if they are not eligible for a Social Security number, and they need to use the form W-7 to apply for an ITIN.

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J-1 VISA
The J-1 visa is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. Participants are integral to the success of the program. (http://j1visa.state.gov/basics/)

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OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT)
A benefit offered to F-1 students after they have completed their programs. F-1 students can apply for this benefit at least 90 days prior to the completion of their program, and up to 60 days after.

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REDUCED COURSE LOAD (RCL)
Under certain circumstances, F-1 students

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RESPONSIBLE OFFICER (RO)
Often an employee of the sponsoring organization of an exchange student, they are in charge of the exchange student’s SEVIS record and is the same as the Exchange Student Advisor at Valdosta State University.

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SEVP (STUDENT AND EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM)
The electronic database that is used by the US government to keep track of all non-immigrant students and scholars.

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SEVIS (STUDENT AND EXCHANGE VISA INFORMATION SYSTEM)

The electronic database that is used by the US government to keep track of all non-immigrant students and scholars.

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SEVIS RECORD
The electronic record that an international student or scholar that is on an F-1 and J-1 visa must maintain for the duration of their visa status.

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SEVIS ID NUMBER
A unique identifier found on the top right of either the form I-20 or DS-2019. It starts with N, and followed by 10 digits.

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SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
A tax id number that is given to US citizens from birth and to international students when they have found authorized employment.

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USCIS (US CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES)
A government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States, as well as processes applications for lawful non-immigrants such as work authorization and any change of status requests.

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US DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
The department of the US federal government that oversees the following agencies: USCIS, SEVP, and CBP.

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II. UNIVERSITY/ACADEMIC TERMS

ACADEMIC ADVISOR
The person in the student’s major’s department that will be able to advise them on how to reach their academic goals at VSU.

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ACADEMIC PROBATION
A student is put on academic probation if their cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0 GPA at the end of any semester.

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ACADEMIC SUSPENSION
Students whose semester GPA falls below a 2.0 or the minimum required semester GPA for the amount of semester credit hours they have earned will not be permitted to register for classes. Only Fall and Spring semesters are the only semesters that count when a student is suspended.
1 st Suspension: One semester.
2 nd Suspension: 2 semesters.
3 rd Suspension: Also called academic dismissal. A student is not allowed to register for classes at VSU for 5 years.

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ATTENDANCE
Students are required to attend all of their classes. Excessive absences or tardiness can affect a student’s grade in a class.

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CORE CURRICULUM
These classes are designed to present a unified learning experience for all undergraduates, regardless of major, that teaches students to read, write, and think critically while acquiring a basic understanding of human society. This often consists of the first 60 credit hours of an undergraduate student.

Fulfilling all the requirements of the core curriculum is required of all students seeking a bachelor’s degree at VSU.

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CURRICULUM
This refers to the program that you are following and its degree requirements. There are required courses and elective courses in most curricula. Your academic advisor will go over this with you prior to registration for the next term.

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COURSE
Subject offerings. These are listed in the Course Catalog, and are classified by department.

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CREDIT HOURS
It is a unit of academic credit. VSU's academic year consists of 3 semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer). A course usually is assigned 3 credit hours, but An F-1 student must take a minimum of 12 credit hours, while the maximum credit hours that a student can enroll in, without their Dean’s approval, is 18 credit hours.

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DEPARTMENTS
Within each College are several Departments, which specialize in a certain subject. For example, the college of Arts and Sciences, includes the Biology Department, History Department, and others. The department and a student’s major are usually the same. This information can also be found in a student’s Banner account.

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DROPPING A CLASS
During the first week of classes, a student may decide that a certain class would be better to take or to not take. During this period, a student may cancel their enrollment in the class without penalty (getting a “W” on their transcript).

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ELECTIVE COURSE
These are optional courses that a student may take. Elective courses are often in the student’s major field of study, and would help supplement their academic knowledge. The student’s academic advisor may suggest specific elective courses appropriate for either the student’s degree or future plans.

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FINAL EXAM
It is the last exam in a semester that a student may have to take for a class. Sometimes a professor might ask students to submit a paper or a project instead of having to take the final exam.

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FULL-TIME ENROLLMENT
The minimum number of credit hours that an F-1 student needs to be enrolled in to be considered a full-time student. For undergraduate students, they need 12 credit hours, and for graduate students they need 6-9 credit hours.

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GPA (GRADE POINT AVERAGE)
In the US, a student’s performance is evaluated by letter grades (A, B, C, D or F). Each letter grade has a corresponding value quality (A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0), also called quality points

The GPA is computed by dividing the total quality points that a student has earned (depending on their letter grade) by the number of credit hours a student has enrolled in a given semester.

The difference in a cumulative GPA and a semester GPA is that the semester GPA is only calculated using the courses that a student has taken during the semester, and a cumulative GPA includes all college-level course work that a student has taken (including transfer credits).

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GRADUATE STUDENT
A graduate student is someone who is studying to receive a Master’s or a Doctoral degree.

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GRE (GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION)
It is one of the standardized exams that all students wishing to pursue a graduate degree (Master’s /Doctoral) must take, depending on the graduate program. The GRE is required for most graduate programs.

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GMAT (GRADUATE MANAGEMENT ADMISSION TEST)
The standardized exam that most graduate programs in the business fields require of applicants. Minimum test score requirements differ from university to university, depending on the program the student is applying for.

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HYBRID CLASS
A type of class structure where the professor conducts part of the class online and the students have to meet often at least once a week.

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LSAT (LAW SCHOOL ADMISSION TEST)
The standardized exam that all students who are interested in getting admitted to law school in the US need to take. Minimum test score requirements differ from university to university.

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MCAT(MEDICAL COLLEGE ADMISSION TEST)
The standardized exam that all students who are interested in getting admitted to medical school in the US need to take. Minimum test score requirements differ from university to university.

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MAJOR (FIELD OF STUDY)
An academic field of study (or two) that a student chooses to specialize their studies in, at the undergraduate level. It consists of at least 30 semester credit hours of upper level course work (3000 and above). A lot of new students start in the General Studies major, until they choose a major field of study that they want to focus in. It is also common for college students in America to change their major field of study at least once, during their course of study at VSU.

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MINOR (FIELD OF STUDY)
An optional field of study that a student can choose to concentrate in, but not as much as their major field of study. It usually consists of 15-18 semester credit hours with at least 9 credit hours being upper division level courses (3000- 4000), the courses required to gain a minor in a field of study is determined by the department.

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MAYMESTER
Also called Summer I session. It is an intensive summer class that is starts in May, and only lasts for a month.

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MIDTERM
Some classes in the university give students a major exam in the middle of the semester and one final exam at the end of the semester. At VSU, it is usually also around this time that it is a student’s last change to withdraw from a class.

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ONLINE CLASS
All instruction, communication with classmates and the professor, as well as any assignments, quizzes and exams are done online through Blazeview D2L.

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PLAGIARISM/ ACADEMIC INTEGRITY
All students are required to uphold to the standards of academic integrity. For more information on plagiarism, check out this video series (you will have to login with your VSU email and password). 

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PREREQUISITES
The requirements that a student has to fulfill prior to taking a certain class. These can be something like requiring a student to take certain classes and pass them with a grade of “C” or better prior to taking an upper level course.

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SEMESTER
A semester is generally a 16 week academic term. At VSU, there are 3 semesters: Fall, Spring, and Summer. All F-1 students are required to be enrolled in the Fall and Spring semesters, as well as exchange students who are attending VSU for an academic year. Summer semesters are optional for F-1 students.

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SYLLABUS
Important information about a course provided to students by the instructor/professor on the first of class. It includes the books you will use, the professor’s name, office hours, phone number, and e-mail address. It also includes the deadlines for projects, papers, dates of exams, and sometimes their grading and attendance policy.

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TOEFL (TEST OF ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
This test is one of the more popular tests that academic institutions use to test a potential international student’s ability to use and understand English at the university level. If a student has successfully completed a degree program at a US academic institution, sometimes this requirement is waived.

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TRANSCRIPT
The record of a student's courses and grades. It is used to document a student's academic performance while attending a university. This is used by universities and some employers to determine the desirability of accepting or hiring a student.

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UNDERGRADUATE
These usually are students who are studying for their first degree in the university, and are aiming to be awarded a bachelor’s degree after the completion of the program’s requirements. There are also a lot of students that decide to return to university to gain a secondary (or even third) undergraduate degree.

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WITHDRAWING FROM A CLASS
Students are given the option to withdraw from a class after the first week of classes. After withdrawing, the student will see a “W” on their transcript instead of a letter grade. Students withdrawing from a class before the midterms/middle of the semester can do so online, and without the permission of the Dean of their college.

Students are also limited to 5 W’s on their transcript for the duration of their degree program. F-1 students must also remember that any withdrawal from their classes that will result in their enrollment being less than 12 credit hours must request authorization from the International Student Advisor first.

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WITHDRAWING FROM THE UNIVERSITY
Things happen, there might a reason that a student might have to withdraw from all their classes. In this case, the first contact should be the International Student Advisor or Exchange Student Advisor, as unauthorized withdrawals are a violation of the regulations for international students. Please go to the link listed on page - 33 - of this Handbook.

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