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Key Terms and Phrases


The means by which we determine the level of math or English you are prepared to take. Assessment can also include multiple measures beyond the placement tests. For examples, we can also review your high school transcripts to help determin which courses you are ready to take.

Associate in Arts (AA)/Associate in Science (AS)

The graduation degrees issued by Foothill College that usually require at least two years of full-time study and completion of 90 quarter-units including major and GE courses. The requirements to complete the A.A. and A.S. degrees can be found in the program and course description section of the college catalog, and on this website.

Associate Degree for Transfer (AD-T)

Obtaining an AD-T guarantees the student priority admission to a CSU in a similar upper division program. Students who obtain this degree have a junior standing when transferring to a CSU.

Career Technical Education (CTE)

An educational program that specializes in the skilled trades, applied sciences, modern technologies, and career preparation. At Foothill College, we offer a variety of certificates and degrees related to CTE in high-demand industries such as: Accounting, Business Administration, Child Development, Dental Hygiene, EMT, Graphic & Interactive Design, Music Technology, and Paramedic. The curricula for each CTE program is developed in coordination with advisory committees that consist of faculty, administrators, and industry experts to ensure the latest standards and technology are integrated into the programs.

Certificate of Achievement

The following state requirements apply to Foothill Certificate of Achievement programs: Completion of 27 units that follow a prescribed course pattern; a minimum GPA of 2.0 for these units; a maximum 12 transfer quarter units from other colleges or universities; and proficiency in mathematics and English as evidenced by examination or completion of college-level courses. The requirements to complete the certificate are found in the college catalog.

Community College

A college that offers lower-division college credits, and awards associate degrees and career-related certificates.


A formal course of study required to be taken simultaneously with another.

Course Catalog

The catalog is your key to a successful Foothill College experience. Published annually, the catalog includes a wealth of information about courses, campus resources, student services, program descriptions, degree requirements and college policies. You can purchase the catalog for $4 at the on-campus bookstore or review it online.


Certification of the successful completion of a course, usually expressed in units of coursework.


The procedure of dismissing a student for poor academic achievement or for incurring excessive course withdrawals. Also see probation.

Double Counting

A course that will fulfill two requirements, such as GE and major pre-requisites.


Collaborative efforts between high schools and Foothill College through which high school students are permitted to enroll in college courses and are awarded college and high school credit for the same course.

Dual Enrollment

An opportunity that allows current high school students to take college courses, with the permission of a designated school administrator and parent/guardian.

Dual Enrollment Student

A student who is simultaneously enrolled in high school and college.


You are considered a freshman until you have completed 45 transferrable units.

Full-Time Status

You are enrolled in a minimum of 12 units in a given term.

General Education (GE) or "Breadth" Requirements

A series of required courses in the primary academic areas, regardless of major, required of all students enrolled in college who are working toward a degree. Also called breadth requirement.

Grade-Point Average (GPA)

The grade-point average gives a measure of your performance in letter-graded courses. To calculate your GPA, access Foothill's grade point average calculator.  

Lower Division

The freshman and sophomore years of study in a college program, which generally includes GE and major pre-requisites.


Courses required in the student's main area of academic/career program interest.

Multiple Measures

Different tools used to assess a student's understanding of an academic subject. An example of an assessment tool is the Accuplacer Placement Test; and another example is the information found on a high school transcript (i.e. a student's grade point average, high school courses taken, and the grades earned in each of those courses). This information is used to determine which class level is most appropriate for a student's first class within the English or ESL and math course sequences. 

Part-Time Status

A student who is enrolled in 11 or fewer units.


A comprehensive program, that includes a specific course sequence, that leads to the attainment of a certificate of achievement, or associates degree.

Placement Testing

The process of gathering information about the individual student, reflecting the student's academic strengths and areas for improvement. Placement testing is offered at no charge.


Previous background or course completions required for entry into another course. Prerequisites are listed in both the college catalog and class listing.


 The ability to comprehend a subject at a specific level, in such courses as foreign language, math, or English.


A period of time during which a student who has done unsatisfactory work must improve scholastic achievement. A student may be on probation for either progress or for academic reasons. Lack of improvement may lead to dismissal. See the college catalog for specific policy.

Quarter System

One-fourth of the academic year. At Foothill College, the Fall Quarter begins in September; Winter Quarter begins in January; Spring Quarter begins in late March or early April; and Summer Session begins in late June or early July.


Official process of enrolling in courses. Registration can be done online through MyPortal or in person in the Admissions and Records Office.

Schedule of Classes

A list that shows the range of subjects that are offered in a term. You can also see the days and times in the week at which particular subjects are taught; and locations where the classes are scheduled to meet. 

Section Number

A number assigned to differentiate sections of the same courses offered during a term. 


You are considered a sophomore after you completed 45 transferable units. 


A student's academic record. 

Transfer Pathway

The alignment of courses with transfer institutions, that allows the student to earn optimal credit for university majors.


Measure of the quantity of work in a course. Sometimes used synonymously with "credit" in referring to the value earned in a course.

Upper Division

The junior and senior years of study in a college program. Community colleges do not offer upper division courses.


Dropping a course. It is the student's responsibility to drop courses by the appropriate deadline in order to avoid non-passing marks on their transcripts.
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Academic Dates & Deadlines


Memorial Day Weekend. No classes held May 25-27.


Juneteenth Holiday. College closed.