PUSH POLL

Are you going to take a gap year?




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Jargon Jungle (S)

A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z


Sabbatical (sabb):
Every year at most colleges, a few students either take a year off their studies or hang around after them because they've got nothing better to do. In the meantime they are employed (sub-peanut wages) by various student bodies, such as SUs, Rags, newspapers, athletics unions and so on. Not just anyone can do this though - they almost always have to be elected by the other students, who then spend the rest of the sabbatical's year of office wondering why they ever voted for them. Just like real politics.

Sandwich course:
Not a catering course (although, come to think of it, you could do a sandwich course in catering), but a course that involves vocational experience. So, the bread in a sandwich course is academic study and the filling is a work placement usually in business or industry. Usually it takes a year to fill a sandwich (as a result, most last 4 years), but there are thin and thick versions that involve different amounts of filling dispersed between different thicknesses of bread. Push eagerly awaits the introduction of toasted and club sandwich courses.

Semester:
A semester is the American word for a term and is used in Britain to describe American-style college terms that are longer (usually about 15 weeks) than British ones (between 8-11 weeks). Generally speaking, universities have either two semesters or three terms.

Seminar:
A teaching class, overseen by a lecturer, in which anything from half a dozen to about 35 student discuss and maybe even do exercises. Sound familiar? They're rather similar but larger than tutorials.

Senior Common Room (SCR):
Like a Junior or Middle Common Room, but this is for the fully qualified academics and the emphasis is exclusively on the room itself and a few clubby activities rather than any kind of students' union or representative role.

Single honours:
An undergraduate degree involving one main subject.

SLC:
Student Loans Company.

SNP:
Scottish National Party.

Social science:
A social science is any subject which uses scientific methods to study human society, rather than the natural world. Originally regarded as a soft option, some social scientists can now earn big wads by going on the telly and talking lots.

Sociology:
The study of how people operate within social groups (eg families, schools, football crowds). Sociologists have to use a variety of skills, such as dealing with data and statistics. Sociology still has an undeserved reputation as a dumping ground for left-wing under-achievers, but it's as intellectually rigorous (and attractive to employers) as any other social science subject.

Socs:
Short for 'societies', these are the student clubs which range from serious political battlegrounds to sporting teams, from cultural groups to seriously silly socs, such as the Rolf Harris Appreciation Club and Up Shit Creek Without A Paddle Soc - both genuine.

Students' Association (SA):
Just another name for a students' union really. Common in Scotland.

Students' Union (SU):
  Almost all colleges have a students' union and students are usually automatically members, though they can opt out if they wish. As a rule, an SU is usually a services and representative organisation run by students for students or the building in which such services are housed.

Students' Representative Council/Committee (SRC):
Yet another name for a students' union or part of one, especially the part that focuses on representation.

SU:
A students' union.

Subsidiary course:
A course that acts as a side dish to the main course usually in a single honours course.

SWSS:
Socialist Workers' Student Society.

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B

Last updated on: 01 May 2008

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