As a future Scot, there are some things you should know. For example, our students take pride in our extremely friendly campus squirrels.

You should also know that on the first day of classes, every student wears a kilt …

OK, that isn’t true, but we wouldn’t be upset if it was!

In all seriousness, there are some things that will be important to know as you take the next steps to become a Scot.

Let’s take some time to explain the popular Alma lingo that will come up — and probably already has! — during the onboarding process.

  • ID Number: It’s essentially your Social Security number for college. This 12-digit code will be found on your ID card and will follow you throughout your time at Alma. This number can be found in the top right corner of your financial award notification that you should have received in the mail and via email.
  • Student Portal: The online gateway to everything! You can find documents and links for your next steps, your email, your “my self-service” account to check your financial aid and billing statement, and much more! Visit to familiarize yourself with the portal. Can’t remember your username? Reach out to your admissions rep.
  • Handshake: This is the software platform that the college uses to post on-campus job opportunities, events, and workshops. Our students utilize Handshake to search for internships and jobs across the globe.
  • Canvas: The place where your academic future comes to life. This online tool (and mobile app) is where you receive and complete class assignments, collaborate with professors and peers, and much more.
  • Proxy: A proxy is someone who has access to view your student portal with their own separate login information. Assigning a proxy provides a way for your parents or supporters to see your academic and financial information.
  • FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that that protects the privacy of student education records. It also grants the college certain rights, too — such as the permission to release information over the phone, in-person or by email to your designated proxy.
  • Hamilton Commons (also known as Saga): Hamilton Commons is our dining hall that students frequent for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Although our dining services have not been been provided by a company called “Saga” for years, the name has stuck!
  • SAC: The Swanson Academic Center (SAC for short) is our largest academic building on campus, with 28 classrooms, 61 faculty offices and an 80-seat lecture hall.
  • Munch Money: The currency of Alma College dining. Munch Money is accepted at all of our on-campus dining locations and several off-campus restaurants. It’s loaded onto your student ID card and spends like cash for a meal, coffee or a quick snack.

Now that you are familiar with the Alma lingo, take it for a spin! You’re becoming a Scot more and more every day. We also recommend sporting your maroon and cream Alma gear when you have the chance.

You could even go as far as wearing a kilt. We won’t judge.

If you have any questions regarding your first year at Alma, contact your admissions representative or call 800-321-2562.