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Who Does What on College Campuses: A Glossary

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As you prepare for your various college visits, you may become aware that colleges and universities have a language of their own. And titles and terms that meant one thing in high school may have a different meaning in a college setting.

Below is a listing of important offices and personnel you may encounter in your college search and once you enroll. While this list is specific to Meredith, most of these offices and people can be found at other colleges and universities, with slight variations. And if you’re not sure who can help you, your admissions counselor is always a great place to start

Academic Advising – this office can provide information about your class schedule and assist you with choosing classes for future semesters. Once you declare your major, your Faculty Adviser may change to align better with your major and assist with class selection for the remainder of your college career.

Accounting – responsible for the day-to-day financial workings of the College. Staff in this office can help you with questions about your account once you’re a registered student.

Admissions Counselor – the primary person you interact with during your college search and throughout the application, admission, and college choice process. Admissions Counselors can  connect you with departments across campus, helping you gain important information to make an informed college choice.

Career Planning/Center – this office can help prepare you for internships, provide support with your resume, assist with majors and/or careers, and more. You can start using Career Planning during your freshman year! Staff may also teach a course for undecided students such as Career Planning 101.

Chaplain – the campus chaplain helps people of all faith backgrounds feel at home on campus. The chaplain can provide spiritual and emotional support to help you thrive at college. 

Counseling Center – The Counseling Center staff is ready to help with any type of concern or issue a student may have. Services at Meredith’s Counseling Center are typically free for current students of the institution - and everything at the Counseling Center is confidential. 

Dean of Students – The Dean of Students is an advocate for all students and can assist with social, personal, and academic concerns. The Dean works closely with others across campus to address concerns about students who may need assistance either in the classroom or socially. 

Disability Services – if you have a medical or learning disability and want to know what accommodations are available in college, it’s best to talk with a Disability Services Coordinator or Director. 

Faculty Adviser – a faculty member who will help you choose classes according to your academic interests and intended major. May also be the same person who supports you through Orientation.

Financial Assistance Counselor – helps you and your family identify and understand a variety of funding sources for your college education. Financial aid counselors can help you complete the FAFSA process, apply for loans and grants, or private scholarships, and they'll also help you understand your financial assistance award letter.

Health Center – The Health Center takes care of common colds and such and is also a good resource for health-related concerns and referrals to local resources. Services in the Health Center are confidential. The services are usually included in the tuition and fees for residential students. 

Resident Assistant or Resident Advisor (RA) – this is a student leader who will live on your residence hall floor. The RA has been selected and trained to assist residential students with needs or concerns related to living in the residence halls. Your RA can provide information, assist with personal or social concerns, and help address roommate issues. 

Residence Director (RD) or Residence Hall Coordinator – RDs or Coordinators are typically full-time staff members who live in apartments in the residence halls. They typically have offices in the residence hall as well. RDs and Coordinators supervise the RAs and provide assistance for residents in the hall and on campus in general. This person also serves on duty for crisis and emergency situations. 

Registrar – the registrar's office is where you will go to get information about your academic records and your graduation eligibility. The registrar maintains important academic information about the college and prepares information such as honors lists and transcripts.

Residence Life Director or Director of Housing Services – The director oversees everything related to residence life and supervises the RDs/Coordinators. This person works closely with residence life staff to assist with resident crises and concerns. The director is available to assist residents and parents regarding any issue in the residence halls.

Student Adviser/Orientation Leader – this student leader guides a small group of students through Orientation activities and possibly assists you through the first semester. They may be paired with a faculty member who will also support the group.

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