ConceptKCTCS/KCTCSConcept Terms to Know | Bluegrass Community & Technical College

Terms to Know


AdvisorTrac is a computer program helping students and advisors communicate with each other. Students use it to find the name, phone number, and office location of their advisor is and to schedule appointments each semester so they can discuss their progress and determine which courses to take the following semester. Advisors track their appointments at a glance and make notes to remember for the next visit. The AdvisorTrac link is found at the “Current Students” part of the BCTC web site.

Block Transfer

Block transfer is the process of getting your coursework transferred in “blocks” or groups. This is much easier than having to have each course evaluated individually for transfer. BCTC participates in a General Education Transfer Agreement with other colleges and universities in Kentucky, so BCTC’s A.A. or A.S. degree automatically fulfills the general education requirements for transfer (as a block) to any public four-year university in the state of Kentucky.

It is also possible to transfer smaller blocks of courses, not just the A.A. or A.S. degree coursework. Your advisor or BCTC’s Transfer Center can help you with this.

Certificate Program

Certificate programs give students entry-level skills in the workplace and may qualify them to take licensure or other examinations in certain fields of work. A certificate can be earned in as little as one semester, depending on the program. They prepare students to work at the skill levels expected in an occupation in the local economy.

Certificate coursework includes at least one general education course. Certificate work may also be counted toward a diploma or associate degree in the same or a similar field.

Distance Learning

“Distance learning” gives students choices about the ways they take courses—allowing them to learn even when they’re not in the same place with their instructors or classmates. Even though students may not be in the same place as the instructor, they will be able to contact him or her.

Some BCTC courses are offered online, meaning that instead of attending classes on campus, students can take them wherever they have access to a computer that can handle course requirements. These classes have deadlines and tests or papers to complete, just like other courses, and it’s important that they log on to the course and complete work regularly.

Another kind of distance course is the telecourse, in which students watch the course via television or a link on a computer. Students complete textbook assignments and submit work to their local instructor.

Students may also take course taught at another location but broadcast to their campus via closed-circuit TV. In these classes, they can talk with your instructor or classmates during the scheduled class time. To submit assignments they mail, FAX, or email their work.

Focus Areas

Students have two options in earning an AA or AS degree. They may decide on a degree in general pre-baccalaureate studies, which allows a wide choice of courses and an opportunity to explore many subject areas, or they may decide on a Focus Area, which allows them to explore one field of study in more depth. A Focus Area is not a major or a minor but is a concentration of related courses.

Focus Area requirements are 12-21 hours with at least one 200-level course or one course with appropriate prerequisites. If students plan to transfer after earning their AA or AS degrees, they may fulfill a number of their pre-major requirements by choosing a Focus Area. Obtaining a Focus Area, however, does not mean that a student has fulfilled all pre-major requirements for a four-year degree at the University of Kentucky or elsewhere. It’s important to work with an advisor or with a representative from BCTC’s Transfer Center.

General Education Courses

General education courses lay groundwork for understanding life from a broad perspective. They include oral and written communication, the arts and humanities, the social and natural sciences, and quantitative reasoning. Typically, four-year colleges and universities want students to have explored a range of thinking in these areas before narrowing their focus to a major or career goal.

Hybrid Course

Hybrid classes - also called “Blended Learning” - are a combination of traditional and online formats. These courses use systems such as Blackboard as well as face-to-face instruction. While many BCTC hybrid classes meet one time per week on campus, instructors may experiment with hybrid offering formats. Check the Schedule of Classes to see when a hybrid class meets.

Mandatory Placement

Mandatory placement is a policy requiring students to enroll in courses for which their ACT scores or the COMPASS (placement) test shows they are ready. The process is state-mandated and is used at all KCTCS institutions. Skills areas in which student test scores must demonstrate readiness are math, writing, and reading. The reasoning behind mandatory placement is that students are more likely to finish courses and graduate from college if they begin at the starting point that fits them best. A range of transitional, or developmental, courses can prepare students to succeed in college work.

Priority Registration

Students enrolled in the current semester have priority in selecting and registering for classes for the next semester. They are notified by email sent from Wendy Bolt of the Advising and Assessment office and from their advisors. By meeting with their advisors and registering for classes months in advance they are more likely to get days, times, and instructors they want. They also avoid late registration lines and frustration. Advance registration helps BCTC schedule planners know whether enough sections are being offered in particular courses.


A proctor is a person who supervises students as they take an exam. Many BCTC online courses require a proctor for tests which must be taken in person within a particular time frame. Students arrange for a proctor by contacting AppointmentPlus, an online scheduling service.

Program Plan

A program plan is an organized list of courses a student must take in order to earn a credential (certificate, diploma, degree) in a particular program. The program plan typically includes a description of the program and the types of jobs one might find after completing the credential. Also, the program plan will feature the BCTC coordinator’s contact information for any student needing more information. Program plans or programs of study are at the Academics link on the BCTC web site.

Repeat Option

A student may repeat a course to improve a grade. The highest grade earned will count as the official grade and will be the only one included in the cumulative GPA. To use the repeat option, a student should visit the Records Office to complete the necessary form. Students who plan to transfer should check about repeat option policies at their transfer institution. Some colleges and universities limit the repeat option work they will accept. Either BCTC’s Transfer Center or the Registrar of the transfer institution can provide needed information.

Selective Admission

Selection admission involves admitting students with the best qualifications to a program. BCTC has over 40 technical programs, some of which have limited numbers of openings. A number of programs require that students take tests to acquire certification in their professional field. Students interested in a particular program can look at the program’s requirements at ? and talk with an advisor for that program about the admission process.

One of the most important things students can do, if they want to be admitted to a program with selective admission, is to work hard from their first day in every course until the end of the semester. Grades will probably be one criterion for which students can be admitted.