The Aspen Institute Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 150 2017

Writing Styleguides

Topic Rule Example
24/7 Refers to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. References should be 24/7, not 24x7.  
academic degrees Do not use academic degrees after names unless they are relevant/important to the text. Use: BA, BS, MS, MBA, PhD., etc. Do not capitalize doctorate, doctor's, bachelor's, master's, master of science, etc.  
academic years Do not abbreviate. Use lower case unless starting a sentence. freshman, sophomore, junior and senior
acronyms Spell out what the acronym stands for on first reference on a page. Follow it with the acronym in parenthesis. On following references on the same page, simply use the acronym. See MCC Acronyms
active voice Use active voice whenever possible. Active voice means, in general, avoiding forms of "to be."  
addresses Addresses should be centered in Web copy, with separate lines for name; street address; and city, state and ZIP.  
advisor AP Style uses "adviser" but use of advisor conforms with the use at MCC in job titles.  
affect/effect Don't use "effect" as a verb. "Effect" is more commonly used as a noun. "Affect" is the verb meaning to modify or take on.  
alum Do not use in copy. Okay to use in Web headlines.  
Alumni Association On first reference use: Mott Community College Alumni Association. Following references can be MCCAA.  
alumni, alumna, alumnae, alumnus, Use the correct word for the gender: Alumna is feminine singular. Alumnae is feminine plural. Alumnus is masculine and non-gender singular. Alumni is masculine and non-gender plural.  
ampersand (&) Spell out "and" unless the ampersand is officially part of a name or title. On the Web, it is acceptable to use the ampersand on buttons. AT&T
and/or Avoid this construction.  
annual Do not use the term "first annual." Instead, note that sponsors plan to hold the event annually. An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held at least two successive years.  
associate's degree Lower case unless it begins a sentence. However, specific degrees should be capitalized. He received his associate's degree from Mott Community College. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University.
building names Capitalize name, use approved building code abbreviations. View Building abbreviations list.
bullet points You need not use the word "including" or the phrase "as follows" before a bulleted list. The text that follows the bullet should be in lower case if it is part of the sentence at the beginning of the list. The text that follows should start with a capital letter only if the bullet point is a complete sentence.  
calendar items All items should include: date, time, location and event title or description. If applicable, items should include contact name and number, and cost. List events on the same day in time order.  
capitalization The standard rules for capitalization should be followed. Each sentence should begin with an initial cap. All proper names should be capitalized.  
capitalization, all caps Never use all caps—unless the word is an acronym or the proper/legal name is all cap. Legal documents posted on the Web site are an exception.  
capitalization; college Capitalize college only when it is part of a proper name or at the beginning of a sentence.  
click here (and other Web directional instructions) Do not use. Integrate hyperlink into appropriate text. Including "click here" and other phrases is redundant  
comma usage Do place a comma before the concluding conjunction in a simple series (a listing of three or more items.) Do place a comma before the concluding conjunction if the series contains a conjunction. Do: coffee, tea, and juice. Do: coffee, tea, milk, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
contractions Use of contractions is encouraged to make text friendlier to the reader/visitor. Be careful not to overuse.  
co-op Hyphenate.  
course names Full titles of an academic course should be capitalized. No quotation marks should be used. He teaches the popular course, 20th Century American History.
credit/credit hours Use term credit. Credit hours is redundant.  
dashes Used sparingly, the dash can provide emphasis or suspense. Use a dash for: irony, emphasis, breaks in thought, explanatory comments.  
dates/months Follow AP style: Spell out month and include year without separating by a comma. Abbreviate month when used with a specific date. When referring to month, date and year, offset year with commas. For Web copy and calendars, include the day of the week when previewing an event. January 1972 was very cold. Jan. 29 was the coldest day. Jan. 29, 1972, hit historic lows.
days of the week Include days of the week with dates in Web copy and calendar items when previewing an event. Offset dates with commas. Days of the week should be spelled in full. Standard days of the week abbreviations (not single letters) is acceptable in Contact Boxes. Monday, April 23, 2001
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, not M, W, R

Contact Box: Monday — Mon. Wednesday — Wed. Thursday — Thu.
Disability Statement People with special needs who need assistance to participate in this program should contact (insert department name and phone number).  
double negatives Do not use.  
e-commerce Hyphenate and lowercase unless it begins a sentence. When it begins a sentence, capitalize the "E."  
EEO Statement Mott Community College is an equal opportunity and affirmative action institution.  
EEO/Disability statements The EEO and disability statements should appear on most materials used for publicity, recruitment (of students or staff) or information to the public.  
e-Learning Lowercase "e", hyphen, capital "L" earning. NOT: ELearning or E-Learning or E-learning, etc.
e-mail Hyphenate, lowercase. Always include with contact information.  
ensure/insure Insure: To cover with insurance. Ensure: To make sure or certain.  
exclamation point Use with discretion and avoid using in formal communication.  
FABLAB All uppercase, "FAB" is bold text , "LAB" is normal text FABLAB
FAQ Acronym for frequently asked questions. Okay to use as acronym on Internet. Spell out in copy.  
fax Lower case, unless it begins a sentence.  
freshman Lower case, unless it begins a sentence. There are no acceptable abbreviations.  
full time, full-time Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier. She works full time. He has a full-time job.
his/her, she/he Do not use. Use the plural instead. Use: They
homepage One word, lower case unless starting a sentence.  
Internet Initial cap.  
intranet Lower case unless it begins a sentence.  
legal documents Legal documents posted to the Web should be posted as approved and distributed by the legal department.  
login, logon, logoff One word, lower case.  
mid Do not hyphen unless a capitalized word follows. Midterm, midsemester, Mid-Continent Conference
money Use figures with the dollar sign in copy. For even dollar amounts do not add decimal followed by double zero. Spell out the word cents in lowercase, using numerals for amounts less than a dollar: 5 cents. Use the $ sign and decimal system for larger amounts ($1.05). The fee for activities is $25. The exact amount of the bill is $19.48.
monthlong One word.  
months/dates Follow AP style: Spell out month and include year without separating by a comma. Abbreviate month when used with a specific date. When referring to month, date and year, offset year with commas. For Web copy and calendars, include the day of the week when previewing an event. January 1972 was very cold. Jan. 29 was the coldest day. Jan. 29, 1972, hit historic lows.
more than Follow AP style: "More than" should be used when relating to numerals. When you refer to spatial relationships, use "over." Numerals: Salaries increased more than 10%. Spatial: The plane flew over the city.
Mott Community College Do not use “Mott” by itself. There are too many other institutions in the community named “Mott.” Acceptable forms are Mott Community College, Mott College or MCC. Mott Community College was founded in 1923. Mott College serves more than 10,000 students. MCC has a branch campus in Fenton.
names Individuals should be referenced by their full name on first reference of each (Web) page. Following references should be last name only. Do not include courtesy titles in the first or following references.  
names; junior, senior, II Use Jr., II, etc. only on first reference with the individual's full name. The abbreviations are not set off with commas.  
names; middle initials Use middle initials in full name reference only if the person uses it regularly.  
names; second reference On second and subsequent references on the same page, refer to individuals by last name only.  
noon, midnight Use noon or midnight. Do not use 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.  
numbers Units of measurement and percents should be indicated in numerals. Spell out numbers nine and under. Use numerals for numbers 10 and higher.  
offices, departments, divisions Capitalize office, department, division, program, institute, center, etc., when they are part of official titles. Otherwise, use lowercase. The Office of the Dean. The dean's office.
online One word in all cases for the computer connection term (per AP style).  
over Follow AP style: "More than" should be used when relating to numerals. When you refer to spatial relationships, use "over." Numerals: Salaries increased more than 10%. Spatial: The plane flew over the city.
parenthesis In general, parenthesis create clutter. If your copy has parenthesis, review the material and consider omitting the information in parenthesis or reorganizing the material.  
part time, part-time Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier. She works part time. She has a part-time job.
passive voice Avoid it. Limited usage may be okay when it is used to achieve a special effect—that should be rare.  
percent When spelled out, it is one word.  
percent sign Use the % symbol in Web copy with the numeral when in copy. Use the sign with numerals in table. Spell out in all other cases. The survey received a 73% response. There was a five percent increase in enrollment.
phone numbers All phone numbers should include ten digits. Use parentheses for the area code with a single space separating area code from basic number, and a hyphen after the first three numbers of the basic number. (248) 370-2100 not 248.370.2100 or 248-370-2100
room numbers Use building code and figures. Capitalize specific rooms with names. The seminar will be in MMB 1045. Lunch will follow in the Applewood Café.
rooms Capitalize the names of specifically designated rooms. We will meet in the Genesee Room.
seasons Do not capitalize seasons unless they designate an issue of a periodical. The winter of 1978 was the coldest on record. Have you seen the Fall issue of College Clamor?
semesters References to semesters should be uppercase. The Spring 2004 semester.
sentence length Use short, direct sentences instead of long, complex ones.  
state names When standing alone in copy, spell out the name of the state.  
state names, abbreviations Use AP accepted state abbreviations in copy. Use two-letter postal abbreviations with full address and ZIP code. AP state abbreviations:
Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kan., Ky., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.M., N.Y., N.D., Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Vt., Va., Wash., W. Va., Wis., La., N.C., Wyo. Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah are not abbreviated.
time Use am and pm to designate day or evening times. Do not capitalize am and pm or use periods. Maintain a space between the hour minutes and the am or pm designation. Use midnight or noon instead of 12:00 am or 12:00 pm. For full hour times use the colon and zeros. 8:00 am not 8 am
time reference/days Do not use in copy: today, tonight, tomorrow or yesterday.  
titles, books, publications, TV shows, movies, magazines, etc. Enclose the title in quotation marks in the Web copy.  
titles; academic Like other professional titles, formal academic titles should be capitalized when they immediately precede an individual's name. Lower case titles when they are used after a name; offset with commas. Shortened versions of titles are acceptable in Web copy. Vice President of Administration and Student Services Scott Jenkins. Michael Kelly, executive director of Public Information.
titles; college president On first reference use full name and title. On subsequent references use last name only.  
today Do not use in copy.  
tomorrow Do not use in copy.  
tonight Do not use in copy.  
U.S. Use as an adjective, but not as a noun. Spell out United States when used as a noun.  
under way Two words in almost all cases.  
underline Do not underline text in Web copy unless indicating hyperlink.  
Web Use upper case W when referring to the World Wide Web. Use upper case W for all references.  
Web page Two words. Upper case W, all other letters lower case.  
Website One word. Lower case unless starting a sentence.  
webcast Online broadcast. One word, lower case (per AP style).  
webmaster One word, all lower case (per AP style).  
weeklong One word.  
Wheelchair Use terms like wheelchair access or wheelchair use. Avoid using limiting terms such as bound, handicapped, impaired, etc.
World Wide Web All initial caps, no hyphens. Can be shortened and referred to as "the Web."  
year Do not use the year in copy when referring to a recent date—especially if date is in headline (for news releases) or title. The competition is Monday, April 23.
yearlong One word.  
yesterday Do not use in copy.  
October 3, 2016
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