Orientation Help > Glossary


Ability to benefit:

In order to apply for federal financial aid, a student who has not graduated from high school or does not have a GED or the equivalent must take an “ability to benefit” assessment. See our current college catalog at: http://babyface.cabrillo.edu/programs/courses.jsp

Articulation agreement:

These are agreements between two institutions to establish course equivalency or acceptability of one course in lieu of another. An articulation agreement between Cabrillo and a four-year university tells you exactly what classes you can complete at Cabrillo for your particular major, and what classes at the university are accepted as equivalent to Cabrillo classes. Articulation agreements between community colleges and colleges in the University of California and California State University systems can be found at www.assist.org.

There are also articulation agreements through the local high schools. Look them up at:



A course that must be taken in the same semester (or session).


The ongoing total. Your Cabrillo cumulative units and grade point average (GPA) reflect the totals from all previous academic work at Cabrillo.


An Associate in Arts (A.A.) or Associate in Science (A.S.) is a two-year degree from a community college. A Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) is a four-year degree offered at a University of California, California State University, private or out-of-state college or university. You can complete a B.A. or B.S. degree by completing specific requirements at a community college and then transferring to a four-year college or university as a junior and completing your junior and senior years at the university. Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) degrees require additional study (typically 2 years) beyond the bachelor’s degree. A doctorate (Ph.D., Ed.D) degree typically requires 4-7 years of additional study beyond the bachelor’s degree. There are also professional degrees such as M.B.A.s (business) and J.D.s (law).

Educational goal:

An educational outcome identified by the student. Examples: A.A. degree, certificate, general education for transfer, etc. It is a requirement of Matriculation Services that a student knows and can identify why s/he is attending college.

Educational plan:

A multi-semester academic plan, designed by a student with a counselor, which moves a student towards his/her educational goal in an efficient yet flexible manner. Required categories of general education, electives and major preparation are laid out over multiple semesters. It moves a student towards his/her educational goal in a timely manner.


Additional courses a student completes beyond general education and major requirements in order to achieve enough units for graduation or transfer. The number varies greatly between majors, and depends on the number of courses already completed.


This is an acronym for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All colleges and universities in the U.S. use this application to determine financial aid for students. This process can take up to eight weeks for submission, return for corrections, etc. and therefore, should be started the semester before a student plans to attend at the earliest. March 2nd of each year is the priority deadline to be considered for all types of aid.

Financial aid:

A general term used to refer to any form of financial assistance received by students to help with their college expenses. This can be in the form of loans, grants and scholarships. Check with Cabrillo’s Financial Aid department.

General education (G.E.)

Also referred to as breadth requirements. These are patterns of courses that a particular college or university requires for graduation (typically including English, history, arts, math and science, social science, literature and language) in addition to the courses required by the major. There are multiple GE patterns available for different transfer and degree goals. Select the appropriate one with a counselor.

Junior status:

A term used when a student has completed 60 or more transferable semester units and is beginning his/her junior year at the four-year university.

Major preparation:

Lower division (freshman/sophomore) courses taken at the community college in preparation for the major a student has applied for at the four-year university. Completing these “major prep” or “support for the major” courses increase a student’s chances of acceptance into competitive majors.

Placement assessment:

A standardized assessment (test) is given by the college to assist a student in selecting the most appropriate math and English courses. It is administered in group settings throughout the school year. It is one measure for placement. Additional factors (multiple measures) are added to the points. Assessment is another way to show that a student has met a prerequisite and can move on to the next class in a series.


A course that must be completed with a C grade or better in order for a student to advance to another course. A student can challenge a prerequisite if s/he feels it has already been met. The process is administered through the Matriculation Office.


Cabrillo is on the semester system. Colleges typically divide the academic year into either semesters (two semesters per academic year), or quarters (three quarters per academic year). Each academic year, Cabrillo offers two semesters: fall (August-December) and spring (February-June), summer sessions (June-August) and winter session (January). There are 16 weeks of classes plus a week of finals in the fall and spring semesters, four and six week sessions in the summer, and a four week session in the winter session. If a student has attended colleges that use different systems (semester vs. quarter), the units can be recalculated for consistency.


The official record of a student’s academic coursework. Official transcripts of Cabrillo work are maintained by Admissions & Records. If a student has attended any other colleges, a transcript must be requested from each college previously attended so that Cabrillo has the student’s complete academic history.

Transfer Admission Agreement:

Is a contract between a student and a four-year college or university which assures his/her early admission for a future specific term. This contract is known as a Transfer Admission Agreement (TAA). With a TAA, you can be provisionally admitted to the university approximately 6 months earlier than through the normal application process. To write a TAA you must meet the specific unit, course and grade point average (GPA) requirements of the university. A student works with a counselor on completing this agreement as there are set timelines.

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