Academic terms you need to know

Blog Header: 6 Academic Terms You Need to Know

There’s a lot to keep track of as you choose your university. Struggling through new terms specific to higher education shouldn’t be one of them.

While you may run into some other words you’re unfamiliar with, these six should get you started as you consider Colorado State.

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The university is the entire institution. While there are a lot of different offices, colleges, and people on campus, we all belong to Colorado State University.

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This is an easy one. After all, CSU is a college, right? Well, not quite.

A college is a collection of academic programs and departments. There are actually eight colleges at Colorado State which specialize in specific academic areas. While many people use the word “college” to refer to an entire university, that word means something different on campus.

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Now we’re getting more specific. A department is a collection of faculty members with similar areas of expertise. Departments might also house multiple academic programs depending on how it’s organized.

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Simply put, your major is the program that will be on your diploma when you graduate. Each major has a specific set of criteria and courses you must meet before graduation, even though there is a lot of room to explore other interests at CSU as well.

There are 74 unique majors you can choose from at Colorado State.

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A minor is a secondary area of study that can be related to your major, or be totally unrelated. Some majors require minors, and some minors can enhance your skills and complement your major, but you aren’t required to do them. There are a lot of benefits to declaring a minor, including making you more competitive in the job field, or offering you opportunities for internships and field studies you may not get within your major.

There are currently 81 minors to choose from at Colorado State.

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A concentration is a specific area of interest within a major. All students will have a major, but not all students will have a concentration. Concentrations are opportunities for specialization.

For example, students in the College of Business can’t major in Accounting, but they can choose the Accounting concentration in the Business Administration major.

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Some students don’t know exactly what they want to study and that’s normal. Those students will be considered “Undeclared-Exploring” until they find the right program.

Around two-thirds of CSU students will either be undeclared or change their major while at CSU. It’s all part of the learning process.

Are those the only terms you’re going to hear when you’re applying for admission that might be confusing? Probably not, but we hope they give you a solid foundation while you’re comparing programs and universities.

Still have questions?

That’s what your admissions counselor is for. Contact your counselor today for more help navigating the admissions process.

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