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Advising and Counseling

SFSC’s Advising and Counseling Most Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.

The following is a list of questions commonly asked by new students at SFSC. This section will assist students in becoming acclimated to college life and terminology.


Q: What is college credit?
A: A credit is a unit of measurement that indicates the number of hours a given class will meet each week of the term. For example, PSY 2012 is a 3 credit hour course that typically meets for three hours each week.

Q: What is a Certificate Program?
A: A certificate program is earned upon completing a specialized, short-term, hands-on-training and study in a specific occupational area (i.e. Automotive Service Technology, Commercial Air-Conditioning Technology, etc.). Certificate programs at SFSC may be either college credit certificate programs or occupational programs. The credits earned in either a college credit certificate program or occupational certificate program may be applied to a related Associate in Applied Science program.

Q: What is the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree?
A: An A.A.S. degree program is a college credit occupational program of study designed to prepare students for employment in a variety of high technical or mid-management fields of study in agriculture, business, health, technical, industrial, or public service occupations. The Associate in Applied Science requires a minimum of 60 credit hours, with approximately 15-18 credit hours of general education. This degree is not designed for university transfer.

Q: What is the Associate in Science (A.S.) degree?
A: An A.S. degree is a college credit occupational program of study designed to prepare students for employment in a variety of high technical and mid-management fields in business, electronics, hospitality, criminal justice, or nursing and provides limited transferability into an articulated program of study at one or more of the state universities or independent colleges in Florida. The Associate in Science degree is a minimum of 60 credit hours, with approximately 18 credit hours of general education. The Associate in Science degree gives a student the flexibility of entering the job market after two-years of study or continuing their education. Students are encouraged to discuss their options with a counselor.

Q: What is the Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree?
A: An A.A. degree is commonly referred to as the university parallel program. Students completing an A.A. degree intend to transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a particular field of study. The A.A. degree requires the completion of a minimum of 60 credit hours, with approximately two-thirds of the courses distributed among general education requirements. The remaining one-third of the courses are specific to the major. In completing the A.A. degree, students are enrolling in lower division courses (freshman and sophomore level courses) at the community college.

Q: What is the Bachelor of Art (B.A.)/Science (B.S.) degree?
A: The B.A. and the B.S. degrees are awarded by a four-year college or university after the completion of a specific number and sequence of upper division courses (junior and senior level courses). The bachelor’s degree typically requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of course work to be completed after the associate’s degree is awarded. A student has typically completed a total of 120 credit hours by the time the B.A. or B.S. is awarded.

Q: What is a prerequisite?
A: A prerequisite is a requirement or condition that must be met before enrolling in a particular course or program. Prerequisites may be placement test scores or preparatory courses, as well as college credit courses.

Q: Why is general education course work necessary?
A: General education courses are designed to broaden a student’s knowledge base, assist in the development of analytical and expressive skills, assist in the development of critical thinking skills, and to prepare students for the pursuit of life-long learning. Degree-seeking students at SFSC will complete courses in communications, humanities, social and behavior sciences, and mathematics to fulfill their general education requirements.

Q: What is the Gordon Rule requirement?
A: Mandated by the Florida State Board of Education, the Gordon Rule requires students to demonstrate college-level communication and computation skills through the completion of course work in English and mathematics. Students must complete Golden Rule courses with grades of C or better.

Q: What is a college major?
A: A college major is a specific program of study with a set of required and elective courses designed to provide intensive education/training. Students are encouraged to select a major that fits with their interests and abilities.

Q: What is summer school?
A: SFSC currently offers two six-week sessions during the months of May, June, and July.

Q: What are lower-division credits/courses?
A: Lower division credits refer to courses taken during the first two-years of college, typically the freshman and sophomore years. They are generally 1000 level and 2000 level courses respectively. Students enrolling at the community college generally complete lower division course requirements.

Q: What are upper-division credits/courses?
A: For students seeking a bachelor’s degree, upper division credit refers to courses typically taken during the last two years of study, the junior and senior years of college. Upper division courses are designated as 3000 and 4000 level courses, and are not available through SFSC.

Q: Does SFSC award a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree?
A: SFSC is a community college and the highest degree awarded is an associate’s degree. However, SFSC students have an opportunity to complete one of several bachelor's degree programs of study without leaving the area. The SFSC University Center was established to bring baccalaureate opportunities to residents within SFSC’s district. For more information, see a counselor or contact SFSC University Relations at (863) 784-7401.

Q: What are common prerequisites?
A: The state of Florida has identified common prerequisites for all university programs. The common prerequisites outline all required courses and electives and/or substitutions to be completed by all students pursuing a particular program of study that must be accepted by all of the public state universities. The lower division prerequisites should be completed at the community college as a part of the Associate in Arts degree or at the state university prior to admission to the program of study.

Q: What is a transferable course?
A: A community college transferable course or credit is one that is accepted by a four-year college as the equivalent of its course having the same description. Transferable courses are courses used in the Associate in Arts degree. The state of Florida uses a common course numbering system to make transferring easier from one participating institution to another. All of the state universities and community colleges have adopted this course numbering system, as well as a number of independent colleges within the state of Florida. Transferable courses are noted in the course descriptions in the back of the SFSC Catalog.

Q: What is a transfer major?
A: A transfer major is a program of study within the Associate in Arts degree that meets the lower division requirements outlined in the Common Prerequisites manual.

Q: What is a transcript?
A: A transcript is a record of your academic work. It includes course number, course name, grades (including W’s) and GPA.

Q: What is an official transcript?
A: An official transcript is a record of a student’s academic work sent from a high school, college, or university to another educational institution or corporation. Hand-carried transcripts or transcripts stamped “Issued to student” are not considered official transcripts.

Q: What is the difference between dropping a course or withdrawing from a course?
A: Dropping a course results in no record of a student ever being enrolled in a given class, and is not reflected on a student’s transcript. Dropping a course is limited to the first week of classes, otherwise known as the Drop with Refund Period. Students payment is refunded.

Withdrawing from a course occurs after the Drop with Refund Period and is noted on a student’s transcript with a grade of “W”. Students payment is not refunded.

Q: Is there a foreign language requirement for Associate in Arts degree?
A: There is no foreign language required for the AA degree. However, students seeking admission to any of the 11 state universities will need to satisfy a foreign language entrance requirement by completing two years of the same foreign language in high school or by taking two semesters of the same foreign language at the community college. Students should be aware that there may be a foreign language graduation requirement for certain majors. Students should speak with a counselor to determine whether or not they will need to complete foreign language courses while at SFSC.

Q: How do I contact a SFSC Advisor or Counselor?
A: Call (863)784-7131, or e-mail us at: advising@southflorida.edu
Advising and Counseling Center
South Florida State College
600 West College Drive
Avon Park, FL 33825

To contact us:
Phone: 863-784-7131
Fax: 863-453-2365