What is … ?

Ever hear a word or phrase and wonder what it means? We thought about some of the terms that get used a lot when talking about planning for your future and thought it might help to define them.

Academic and Career Plan
Starting in 2011-2012 academic year, all 7th grade students in Virginia will work with their counselors to develop a personal academic and career plan. This plan will offer guidance on what classes students should take throughout middle and high school to help them prepare for the career of their choice. The plan will also provide guidance for education and training that goes beyond high school - whether it's obtained at a community college, four-year college or university, in the military, at a technical school or on the job. Learn more at the Virginia Department of Education's web site.

AP Classes
AP stands for Advanced Placement. AP classes are college-level courses available to high school students. A student who takes an AP class has the option of taking the AP exam, which depending on the score, could earn the student college credits. There is usually a cost associated with the exams. AP offerings vary from one high school to the next. Talk to your counselor about AP class offerings and exam fees.

Career Assessment
A career assessment takes a look at your interests and your strengths and provides suggestions on types of careers that might be of interest to you. There are lots of career assessment tools available. Talk to your counselor to learn more. You might also want to check out the career assessment tool on the Virginia Wizard.

Career Clusters
Career clusters are a way to group many kinds of careers into broader categories. There are 16 career clusters. Examples include hospitality and tourism; government and public administration; science, technology, engineering and mathematics; marketing; and health sciences. Take a look at the career clusters.

Career Coach
Career coaches are community college employees based in local high schools. Career coaches help high school students define their career aspirations and recognize community college and other postsecondary programs, including apprenticeships and workforce training, that can help them achieve their educational and financial goals. Basically, career coaches empower students to make informed decisions about their career and educational plans. Learn more about

Career Pathways
Career pathways offer you direction on what classes you should take to help you achieve your career goal. Pathways can start as early as middle school and go through high school - even into college. Watch a video and look at some sample pathways.

If you are interested in taking a college course, but you are home schooled or the class you want isn't offered as a dual enrollment course in your high school, you become a concurrent student. Students who are concurrently enrolled take classes on a college campus in addition to their classes taught at their high school or in their home. Certain steps must be taken to become a concurrent student. If you are interested in becoming concurrently enrolled at John Tyler Community College, click here if you are currently attending a high school, and click here if you are currently home schooled.

CTE stands for career and technical education. These classes provide technical training and can lead to industry certification. They also cover a variety of topics. Examples of college-level CTE courses that you can take in high school include Cisco networking, computer-aiding drafting and photography/film. Your counselor can tell you about the specific CTE classes available at your school.

Dual Enrollment
Dual enrollment refers to college-level courses that are taught in the high school. They allow a student to earn both high school and college credit that can be transferred to a community college or four-year college or university. Dual enrollment classes are offered to juniors and seniors, and in most cases, these classes and associated textbooks are free. Dual enrollment class offerings vary from one school to the next. Check with your counselor for options and to find out the steps you need to take to sign up for a dual enrollment class. You may also want to check out our dual enrollment page.

Guaranteed Transfer Agreements
Guaranteed transfer agreements are a great way to save money while working toward a bachelor's degree. Under these agreements, students who graduate from one of Virginia's community colleges with an associate degree and a minimum grade point average and who meet other criteria can seamlessly transfer to one of more than 25 four-year colleges and universities in Virginia. Tuition at a community college like John Tyler runs about one-third of that at a Virginia four-year public college or university, so a lot of money can be saved. Want a complete list of agreements? Visit the Virginia Education Wizard.

Post Secondary
Post secondary refers to the education received after high school graduation.

Secondary refers to the education received after elementary school.

The VCCS or Virginia Community College System is comprised of 23 colleges around the Commonwealth of Virginia. Colleges within the system, including John Tyler Community College, offer associate degree and certificate programs, open-door admission, affordable tuition and guaranteed transfer agreements. Learn more about the VCCS. Explore John Tyler Community College.

The Wizard or Virginia Education Wizard,, is an online tool developed by the Virginia Community College System. Users can take a career assessment, research colleges, calculate college tuition, research careers and career pathways, look at guaranteed transfer agreements and much more.

Workplace Readiness Skills
Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth are a list of universal skills that employers in Virginia believe all workers should possess. These include creativity and resourcefulness; positive work ethic; critical thinking and problem solving; health and safety; internet use and security; and much more. Learn more at Virginia's CTE Resource Center.

Another career or higher ed term got you stumped? Let us know.