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Acronyms

Acronyms can be useful when a title is long and cumbersome. However, it is essential for the reader to clearly understand what the acronym means. When using acronyms, the name of the group, organization, building, etc., should be spelled out on first reference followed by the acronym in parentheses. The acronym may then be used on second reference and thereafter.

  • A meeting will be held to recruit volunteers for the College’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) committee.
  • The Union College Academy for Lifelong Learning (UCALL) sponsors a variety of programs.
  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) assists local residents each year.

 

Periods are generally not used, since most acronyms use only the initials of each word.

  • Academic Opportunity Program (AOP)
  • Faculty Executive Committee (FEC)
  • Faculty Review Board (FRB)

 

Overall, avoid using too many acronyms at once, and never change or alternate the acronym that is formally used by a group. When possible, use the main identifying noun on second reference and thereafter. 

 

Some organizations and government agencies are widely recognized by their initials: CIA, FBI, FAA. However, as a general measure, it is always helpful to spell out these organization names on the first reference to avoid any confusion. In some instances, you may find that the same acronym may be used by another organization (National Endowment for the Arts, National Education Association).