Advising Vocabulary


Navigating through your academic career can be confusing and complicated. Your academic advisor is here to guide you, but knowing common college vocabulary and what to ask will allow you to better chart your path.
The following terms are often used in higher education but may take on different contexts depending on the campus.
Advising Form

The advising form is used to created your course schedule. You will need to submit it every semester so your academic advisor can remove your advising hold.

Academic Advisor

Undergraduate students are assigned to a professional academic advisor. Academic advisors provide support through guiding students in major exploration, course selection, reviewing academic services and policies, and setting academic and career goals.

Graduate students are assigned a faculty advisor.

Academic Requirements Report

The Academic Requirements Reports is your official degree audit that tracks which of your major, college, and university graduation requirements are completed.

The report is located in the Student Center of the myWSU portal.


The formal process of declaring a major. Certification requirements are set by degree program and you will work with their academic advisor to make sure you are meeting them.

Students who have not certified or are not eligible to certify are often referred to as “uncertified” or “pre-certified.”

Continuing Student

Students who are currently enrolled and are enrolling into the next semester.

Credit or Credit Hour

Each class is worth one to three credits and you will need 120 semester credits to graduate. Credits are calculated based on the number of classroom hours over the course of a term.

Example: Math 106 is 3 credits and meets for three hours each week over the 16 week term.

E-Advising Form

This is an electronic form available to continuing students that have worked with their advisor prior to registration and have reviewed their Academics Requirements report to know what classes are still needed. Still requires advisor approval to release the Undergraduate Advising Hold.

Faculty Mentor

Each academic area has a faculty member dedicated to working with students who are seeking information specific to the academic program or degree.

Faculty mentors are not academic advisors but can provide insight into what courses to take in relation to students’ career interests, internships, information on graduate programs and employment options after graduation.

Major and Academic Planning Sessions (MAPS)

This is a group pre-advising session held each semester for new and continuing students to prepare them to officially register for classes on their assigned date. New students are required to attend one session.


myWSU is an online portal. Students can access a variety of information through their student portal from student organizations to academic information and tracking. Academic information and degree tracking is found in the Student Center of myWSU. This is where students have access to admissions and financial aid information, course history, Transfer Credit Report, and the Academic Requirements report (degree audit).

New Students

Students that have not attended a WSU campus and applying to attend. This could be for incoming freshmen and transfer students.

  • Incoming Freshmen: Students who are attending directly out of high school, even if they earned credit through Running Start or College in the High School programs.
  • Transfer Students: Students who attended one year of college or university after high school graduation and received college level credit.
Peer Advisor

Second, third and fourth year students who are also New Student Orientation Leaders. Peer advisors assist in the MAP Sessions for new students and connect with new students throughout their first year at WSU Tri Cities.


The process of officially enrolling for classes each term. An assigned date is determined by students’ academic level. Select student groups are eligible for priority registration. Students can find assigned registration dates within their myWSU’s Student Center.

Returning Student

Students who have attended a WSU campus and are have not been enrolled in two or more consecutive semesters. Returning students are required to re-apply for admission and go through any processes necessary reflected by most recent academic information.

Example: A student who is returning with a GPA below 2.0, will be required to go through the reinstatement process in order to be re-admitted.

Transfer Credit Report

This report indicates how credits earned at another institution transfer to WSU. The Office of Admissions articulates lower-division courses (100- and 200- level) to determine if they will fill UCORE requirements. Departments articulate upper-division courses to determine if they will that can be used to fill major requirements.

If a class does not transfer, a student may work with their academic advisor to have it reviewed. In this case, a catalog and course syllabus must be provided.

Transfer Equivalency

The evaluation of how a course taken at one institution transfers to another institution.

Example: ENGL 101& from Columbia Basin College transfers as ENGLISH 101 at WSU.

Transfer Equivalency Database

A comprehensive list of classes offered by colleges or universities and how they transfer into WSU. The online tool can be found on the Transfer Credit web site.

University Core Requirements (UCORE)

The general education requirements that all undergraduate students must complete in order to graduate.

Undergraduate Advising Hold

A service indicator is automatically placed on students’ accounts prior to fall and spring registration. The hold will prevent students from registering for classes until they receive approval from their academic advisor.

Approval can be gained by attending a MAP Session, scheduling an individual appointment, or submitting an e-advising form.

What If Report

An automated tool located within the students’ myWSU student portal that will track progress toward a degree. The report is intended to help students with major and minor exploration.

Get started on your academic path…