AA/AS Degree (Associate of Art/Science)
An Associate of Art or Science Degree is awarded by a Community College like West Valley. The degree requires completion of 60 units of lower-division courses. It will include general education and major coursework in a particular program of study.
Academic Dismissal (also called Progress Dismissal)
A student on academic probation is subject to dismissal if the student has earned a cumulative grade point average of less than 1.75 in all units attempted in each of three consecutive semesters.
A student is placed on academic probation after attempting a minimum of 12 semester units of work and earning less than a C average. In terms of grade point average, that means less than a 2.0 average.
Students must add and drop classes within certain periods of time. Be aware of each semester’s add and drop dates. Also, even though an instructor may drop a student from a class, adding and dropping is ultimately a student’s responsibility. Always double check your schedule in the Portal to confirm that any adds or drops show up accurately.
The process of comparing the content of courses that are transferred between postsecondary institutions.
Assessment is a test to evaluate your skills in Reading, Writing, Math and English as a Second Language. After completing an assessment, a student will attend an orientation or meet with a counselor to select courses based on assessment results.
Auditing a course means that you are observing or "sitting in" on a course. To audit, you must get the instructor's permission and then fill out an Audit form to submit to the Admissions office.
The notification of financial aid award. The award letter lists the types and amounts of financial aid the student is eligible for. To finalize the award package, the student must sign and return the award letter to the Financial Aid office.
BA/BS Degree (Bachelor of Art/Science)
A Bachelor of Art or Science Degree is awarded by a four-year college or university such as a Cal State University, University of California, or private University. The degree requires completion of all lower- and upper-division prescribed coursework. For example, general education as well as major coursework in a particular program of study.
A college catalog is a yearly publication that provides official information about a school, including academic and behavioral policies, courses of study, degrees and certificates offered, admission and enrollment procedures, financial aid information, and more.
A certificate is an official document indicating completion of core requirements for a specific occupational or career program of study. Some examples of certificates offered at West Valley College include Interior Design, Fashion Design, Paralegal, Child Studies, Business, Digital Media, and Park Management.
A corequisite is a required course that you must take in the same semester as another course. For example, Econ 1A: Principles of Economics has a co-requisite of Econ 2A: Principles of Macroeconomics Lab.
High School students can take community college classes with the approval of their High School officials, and this is called Concurrent Enrollment. For the High School student to enroll in West Valley College classes, a form must be completed by the High School and submitted the West Valley admissions office.
In some cases, a student wants to enroll in two classes that overlap in meeting time—for example, an early class finishes at 9:30 a.m., but the next class starts at 9:20 a.m.—then a student may request instructor permission to take both classes as long as the overlap does not exceed 10% of the class meeting time. The course overlap form is available on the West Valley Admissions webpage.
12 units is considered a full-time load although students may take up to 18 units. Students wishing to take more than 18 units must meet with a counselor to complete a course overload form in order to enroll in the additional units.
CSU General Education
The California State University is a public system comprised of 23 campuses, including, for example, San Jose State, Chico, Cal Poly and CSU Monterey Bay.
A curriculum is a program of courses approved for a particular degree or certificate. To earn a degree or certificate in a specific program, you must complete the curriculum for that program.
Early Alert is a system put in place by the college so counselors can reach out to students who may need additional help early in the semester. If an instructor reports concern about a student’s progress with attendance, homework, or quizzes and tests, a counselor will reach out to that student, either by phone or email, to offer support.
Educational Plan (Abbreviated)
An abbreviated Ed Plan is what you develop during Orientation so you can get started on the courses you need to complete your goals. This plan includes the first 2 semesters of coursework, including prerequisites, general education, and electives. A more comprehensive Ed Plan is what you develop one-on-one during a counseling appointment. It will include the major and general education coursework required to graduate and/or transfer to a University.
Educational Plan (Comprehensive)
A comprehensive Ed Plan is what you develop one-on-one during a counseling appointment. It will include all of the major and general education coursework required to graduate and/or transfer to a University.
Electives are courses of choice that may be taken for credit toward transfer, a degree, or a certificate. For example, you may choose from a list of elective courses in order to meet a certain requirement.
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The forms are available and may be completed online at the FAFSA website. Staff in the Financial Aid office are there to help you. If you need help filling out your FAFSA, just ask!
West Valley College has a Final Exam week schedule that is DIFFERENT from the schedule for the rest of the semester. Every class has ONE final exam meeting time, regardless of how many times a week it meets during the regular semester. Find the Final Exam schedule on the website or in the schedule of classes, and map out your own final exam week schedule early each semester. That way you have time make any arrangements needed--for example to your work or childcare schedule--to make sure you can attend all of your finals.
Many forms of financial aid are available to help you pay for college, including grants, scholarships, loans, and fee waivers. Check out the financial aid information available on the West Valley website, or stop into the Financial Aid office for assistance. Financial Aid staff are there to help you!
12 units is considered a full-time course load although students may take up to 18 units. Less than 12 units is considered a part-time load.
General Education (GE)
Students need to complete a pattern of General Education courses along with major requirements in order to receive an AA/AS Degree or an ADT.
Before transferring to any four-year college or university, a student needs to complete the Golden Four classes. The Golden Four includes two transferable writing classes, a communications class, and a transferable math class. See your counselor for details.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
A cumulative GPA is a number that represents the average value of all final grades earned in your courses. For a GPA calculation, an A is equal to 4 grade points; a B is 3 grade points; a C is 2 points; a D in 1 point; and an F is 0 points. Grades of W (Withdrawal), P (Pass), and NP (No Pass) are NOT calculated into your GPA.
A hold is placed on a student's academic record when there is an outstanding obligation, for example, unpaid fees for a lost library book. The hold is released when the obligation has been met. A student with a Hold will not be allowed to register or receive other services from the college until the hold is released.
In some cases, an instructor may assign an incomplete, which is a grade of "I", to a student who has not completed a major assignment or examination because of extenuating circumstances. Course requirements must be completed within a mutually agreed upon time frame by the instructor and student before the instructor can change the grade. Any Incomplete that has not been completed within one year will automatically change to an “F.”
Lecture vs. Laboratory Classes
In lecture classes, students attend class on a regular basis and the instructor lectures on class material. Laboratory classes require students to perform certain functions in controlled situations that help them test and understand what is being taught in the lecture.
Online Asynchronous Classes
Online asynchronous classes have NO class meetings on set days/times. All instruction is conducted via the college’s learning management system (such as Canvas). While there are no scheduled meetings, asynchronous classes are not self-paced. Assignments are to be submitted online and are due on specific dates.
Online Synchronous Classes
Online synchronous classes meet on specific days/times via Zoom (or some other video conference platform). This includes classes with ANY scheduled synchronous meetings, even if there is only one scheduled synchronous meeting.
Orientation is designed to introduce students to the registration process, educational planning and West Valley programs and services. Orientation is required for all students who have no prior college experience or who have completed fewer than 15 college units. Before orientation, you need to complete assessment.
Pass/No Pass Option (P/NP)
In designated courses, students can choose to earn a Pass for any grade of C or above or a No Pass for a D or below grade. A Pass or No Pass grade is not computed into your GPA. With a Pass, you will earn the credits for the course. If you earn a No Pass, you will need to repeat the course in order to earn credit.
A prerequisite is a required course that you must passed before taking a specific course. For example, Math 106: Intermediate Algebra is a prerequisite for Math 10: Statistics.
Priority Registration students with priority registration will be able to sign up for classes before incoming students and those students who have not completed “The Big Three,” which are assessment, orientation, and educational planning.
Our students transfer to many private colleges and Universities, both in California and across the country. Stanford, Santa Clara University, and Menlo College are examples of private schools in our local area.
Progress Dismissal (also called Academic Dismissal)
A student on progress probation is subject to dismissal after three consecutive semesters when the cumulative amount of units completed is less than 50%.
A student is placed on progress probation if they have enrolled in a total of at least 12 semester units and have completed less than 50% of those units.
A student who has been dismissed may request reinstatement by submitting a petition for readmission to the college. A student can submit this petition after an absence of one semester or after explaining other extenuating circumstances.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
The Department of Education and Student Financial Assistance Programs require schools to develop and apply a consistent standard of academic progress. It is important for your Financial Aid to make sure you maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. Review West Valley’s SAP policy carefully and talk to a counselor if you are unsure about your SAP.
SSSP (Student Success and Support Program)
Triple SP stands for Student Success and Support Program. It includes Assessment, Orientation and Educational planning. California passed the Student Success Act of 2012 which requires that community college students complete “The Big Three,” (Assessment, Orientation, and Ed Planning) in order to get Priority Registration.
A syllabus is a required document for every course. It is like a contract between the student and the instructor. A syllabus includes a course description, student learning outcomes, and student expectations, as well as an instructor’s contact information, policies, and grading scheme. Keep the syllabus for every course you take, at least until you receive a final grade for that course.
A transcript is a permanent academic record. It may show courses taken, grades received, academic status, and honors received. Official transcripts can be ordered through the Admissions office.
Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG)
West Valley offers six University of California Transfer Admission Guarantees for students who meet specific grade, course, and unit requirements. By participating in a TAG you will receive an early review of your application and if you fulfill certain requirements, you will be guaranteed acceptance to the campus. You may apply for a TAG to only one UC campus
The University of California is a public system comprised of multiple campuses, for example, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, or UCLA. One campus, UC San Francisco, enrolls only graduate and professional students in the medical and health science fields.
Units are used to quantify hours of instruction. One unit is equivalent to about one hour of instruction per week for a full-length semester. A degree, diploma, certificate or other formal award will require a minimum number of units.
W or Withdrawal
Students may withdraw from a course before 75% of the total days in a course. While a withdrawal does not impact your GPA, it does appear on your transcript as a “W.” Also, it does count as an attempt to complete the class, and registration fees for the course will NOT be refunded. A withdrawal is sometimes the best option, but do not treat withdrawals lightly. You do not want a pattern of withdrawals reflected on your transcript.