Style Guide

Associated Press (AP) Style

The Division of Student Affairs uses Associated Press style as its primary source for style of written communication.

The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law (AP Stylebook) is an English grammar style and usage guide created by American journalists working for or connected with the Associated Press during the last century to standardize mass communication. Although it is sold as a guide for reporters, it has become the leading reference for most forms of public-facing corporate communication. The AP Stylebook offers a basic reference to grammar, punctuation and principles of reporting, including many definitions and rules for usage as well as styles for capitalization, abbreviation, spelling and numerals.

We recommend that all DSA employees who work in marketing and communication learn and follow AP Style. 

Purchase An AP Stylebook
Purchase A Subscription to AP Stylebook Online
Follow AP Stylebook on Facebook
Follow AP Stylebook on Twitter

With a simple Google search, you will find numerous online resources and “cheat sheets” that reference the most common AP Style issues.

Texas A&M University System & Texas A&M University Style Guides

Our secondary and tertiary sources for voice and written style are:

Texas A&M University System Style Guide
Texas A&M University Voice & Writing Guide

For questions about written style that is specific to the Division of Student Affairs, refer to the:

DSA Style Guide

Avoid Alphabet Soup

AP Style holds that a few universally recognized abbreviations are required in some instances. Some other abbreviations are acceptable depending on the context, but in general, as a writer, you should avoid having your writing appear as if it’s “alphabet soup.” In other words, do not use abbreviations or acronyms that your readers will not readily or quickly recognize.

With the exception of AP’s universally recognized abbreviations, we recommend that you simply spell out the words on first reference, include the proper acronym in parentheses, and use the acronym only on second reference.

Example: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center (GLBTRC) is hosting Lavender Graduation on April 27. To register, contact the GLBTRC at (979) 862-8920.

Despite these protocols, using acronyms is common among higher education professionals, so we have included a guide to the most common Division of Student Affairs acronyms. Please use them wisely and with care as many of your readers may not be familiar with them.

Acronym Description
AER Aggie Eco-Reps
AVP Assistant or Associate Vice President
AFS The Association of Former Students
A/L Annual Leave
ASCA Association for Student Conduct Administration
BVESA Brazos Valley Educational Support Staff Association
BGCC Becky Gates Children’s Center
CBE Council for the Built Environment
CIRT Critical Incident Response Team
CIS University Computing and Information Services
CLEAR Consensual Language, Education, Awareness, and Relationships (in the Offices of the Dean of Student Life)
CPR Comprehensive Program Review
CSBA Committee of Senior Business Administrators
CY Calendar Year
DMS Department of Multicultural Services
DoIT Department of Information Technology
DRL Department of Residence Life
DSA Division of Student Affairs
E.R.A.S.E. Encouraging Respect, Acceptance & Support through Education
FLO Freshman Leadership Organization (in Student Activities and MSC)
FY Fiscal Year
GLBTRC Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Resource Center (in the Offices of the Dean of Student Life)
GPSC Graduate & Professional Student Council (in the Offices of the Dean of Student Life)
GSC General Services Complex
HP Health Promotion (in Offices of the Dean of Student Life)
HR Human Resources
HSC Health Science Center
LCR Large Conference Room
MS Mail Stop
NAEOP National Association of Educational Office Professionals
NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
NODA Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention (Formerly known as National Orientation Directors Association)
NSC New Student Conferences (in Offices of the Dean of Student Life)
NSFP New Student & Family Programs (in Offices of the Dean of Student Life)
ODSL Offices of the Dean of Student Life
OCSS Off-Campus Student Services (in the Offices of the Dean of Student Life)
OVPSA Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
PDC UCEN Public Display Committee
RHA Residential Housing Association
SAFAB Student Affairs Fee Advisory Board
SAS Student Assistance Services (in the Offices of the Dean of Student Life)
SCR Small Conference Room
SCO Student Conduct Office (in the Offices of the Dean of Student Life)
SCS Student Counseling Service
SGA Student Government Association
SHS Student Health Services
S/L Sick Leave
SLLO Student Leader Learning Outcomes (In Student Life Studies)
SLS Student Life Studies (there may be confusion with Student Legal Services in ODSL)
SOFC Student Organization Finance Center (In Student Activities)
SRC Student Recreation Center
SS@WC Student Services @ White Creek
StuAct Student Activities
TAMUS Texas A&M University System
TESA Texas Educational Support Staff Association
TRSC Technical Review Sub-Council
UCEN University Center & Special Events
UDAP University Disciplinary Appeal Panel
UPD University Police Department
VPM Vice President’s Meeting (VP, AVPs and Directors meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month
VRSC Veterans Resource & Support Center
VSO Veteran Services Office
WRC Women’s Resource Center
FTAB Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band
OOTC Office of the Commandant
FOW Freshman Orientation Week
PMC Parsons Mounted Cavalry
D&C Drill and Ceremony
RV Ross Volunteer (member of the Ross Volunteer Company)

A Living Style Guide

We created this guide with input from professionals across the Division of Student Affairs, however, it is a living document that will improve over time with your suggestions.

Suggest an addition to the DSA Style Guide and/or the guide commonly used for Acronyms

DSA Style Guide Suggestions/Additions

Questions about written style? Email Sondra White with the DSA MarComm Team or call (979) 458-3296.