Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

1.1: Speaking The Language of College

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    original content by Alise Lamoreaux 

    Getting started in college can seem like an uphill battle. One of the first challenges a student can encounter is navigating the college’s website. In the attempt to get as much information as possible into the hands of current and future students, college websites are crammed full of information and language that may be new to the first-time college student. Trying to figure out how to get started can be confusing, even when the website says, “Steps To Enroll.” Registration, admission, enrollment… are they all the same thing? If you are registered, are you admitted and enrolled? Is enrollment in the college the same thing as enrollment in classes? And that’s just the beginning of the potential for confusion! How can a student know the answers to these questions?

    Learning to speak the “language of college” can seem even harder than learning a foreign language because as a new student, you have no idea what words you need to learn. If you travel to a foreign country, there are core vocabulary words you will find most helpful – resources that will allow you to order the food you like and services you need. Basic needs like bread and water can be correlated among different languages. A dog is a dog all over the world and not confused with a cat. However, the vocabulary of college is not so straightforward. Learning to speak the language of the college is part of learning the school’s culture. It is important to remember that not all colleges use the same words in the same way.

    As a college student, you will need to come up with a strategy for learning lots of information, such as the specific language of your school. Mike Boyd has a video about mastering skills by deconstructing them into simpler tasks. When you deconstruct something, it means to take something large, and break it down into smaller parts. It also means to identify why you might fail before you start and make a plan to stop failure before it happens.

    - Video: How to Learn Anything Quickly, Mike Boyd (2017)

    Directions: View the short video below. Then answer the bullet-point questions below the video link.

    Video: How to Learn Anything Quickly.

    • Based on the ideas of simplifying and deconstructing a task in order to learn it, think of how those ideas could be applied to mastering the language of college.

      • Can you see any ways to simplify the task of learning 30 words? If so, explain.
      • Are there any connections between the words that you can see? If so, explain.
      • Will you need all the words all the time? Why or why not?
      • Will you need some words more frequently than others? Why or why not?
      • When and where might you need each of the words? Explain.
      • Can you think of any words not included in this list that would be helpful to know in relationship to your college vocabulary? If so, explain.

    License and Attributions

    • CC licensed content, Previously shared: A Different Road To College: A Guide For Transitioning To College For Non-traditional Students. Authored by: Alise Lamoreaux. Located at: License: CC BY: Attribution. Adaptions: Reformatted, some content removed to fit a broader audience.
    • Mike Boyd: How to Learn Anything Quickly. Authored by Located at: License: CC BY – NC – ND 4.0 International.

    This page titled 1.1: Speaking The Language of College is shared under a CC BY-NC-ND license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Dave Dillon.

    • Was this article helpful?