We all have them. We all say them. We sometimes know what they stand for… but do our students?
Acronyms – An 8-letter word that has hundreds, thousands, millions of iterations, and heavily relied on in higher education. We have the FAFSA, FERPA, and FOIPOP. FOIPOP? Yes, FOIPOP! CLEP, PSEO, and ESOL. Let’s be honest, half the time we can’t keep our acronyms straight, so how can we expect our students to understand them?
What does FAFSA stand for? Listen to these students!
There was a recent article from The Hechinger Report titled, “One surprising barrier to college success: Dense higher education lingo” which describes the challenges that students face given the complex language used in higher education and demonstrates that this complex language can actually be a barrier to students. The article further states that institutions can fix this problem by “writing in the active voice, using more concise grammar and bullet points, explaining abbreviations and acronyms and simply subbing the word “you” for wordy descriptions of students”.
We’ve started a list of acronyms, which we will continue to build with your help. What acronyms do you use that could be a barrier to students? What is the craziest or most often misunderstood acronym that you know? Add your acronyms to the discussion below.