Editorial Style Guide

This guide answers questions about standardizing voice, word choice, punctuation, and usage according to adopted Colorado College style. For questions not covered in this document, consult the AP Stylebook or Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

If you need assistance in preparing your copy or have any questions, please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing at (719) 389-6603.


  1. Voice and Story Tense
  2. Word Choice
  3. Names and Titles
  4. Punctuation
  5. Capitalization
  6. Abbreviations
  7. Contact Information
  8. Photo Captions

1. Voice and Story Tense

  • The CC voice is:
    • Active
    • Creative
    • Inquisitive
    • Inclusive
  • Use present tense in writing news and stories.
    • “The exhibit will be on show until the end of the month,” Schrute says.
    • “I never thought I could slackline,” says Greene. “But it was fun.”

 back to top

2. Word Choice

References to people and places

2.1 Referring to alumni

  • The word “alumni” refers collectively to graduates. “Alums” is more informal but acceptable.
    • “Alumni” is plural, therefore, do not refer to an individual as “an alumni.”
  • Use “alum” in reference to an individual. It is also fine to refer to an individual as a graduate (if they did indeed graduate). 
  • Anyone who completes at least two semesters at Colorado College is considered an alum. 
    • Someone who attended less than two semesters at CC is referred to as a “former student.”
  • Class year:
    • Class years are used anytime a name is printed. In articles, only use the class year the first time the name appears.
    • Use an apostrophe before the class year to indicate the omitted prefix of 18, 19, or 20. 
      • Delaney Grant Kenyon ’23 is an alum of Colorado College.
      • Ken Salazar ’77 is an alum.
      • Delaney Grant Kenyon ’23 and Ken Salazar ’77 are CC alumni.
    • Class years are assigned based on the fiscal year of actual graduation (August 1996 graduates will be considered 1997 graduates) unless they tell us otherwise.
      • While we cannot change a transcript, we will change a person's year on their record for the purpose of identity.
    • Former student:
      • This phrase is used to refer to an individual who attended CC for less than two semesters and did not graduate. Former students are considered members of the class with which they would have graduated if they had stayed.

2.2 Using “maiden”/given/surname/family names and other name changes

  • When possible, ask the alum, “How would you like your name to appear?”
  • If that is not possible, and an alum has married and taken their spouse's last name, use their previous last name at the time they were a student first in a list, on nametags, in directories, etc.
    • Diane Brown Benninghoff ’68

2.3 Language

  • Colorado College’s policy is to avoid language that contains discriminatory connotations.
  • Avoid language that denotes age bias, cultural bias, gender bias, racial bias, or sexual orientation bias.
    • Your word choice should not default to a white, cis, hetero, male “norm” unless used in a quote.
  • Gender bias: Replace the following terms with the suggested alternatives:
    • chairman – chair, chairperson, department chair
    • manmade – handmade (or synthetic, manufactured)
    • foreman – supervisor
    • housewife – homemaker
    • craftsman – artisan
    • fireman – firefighter
    • freshman – first-year student
    • councilman – councilor or council member
  • In general, use terms that can apply to any gender.
    • Such language aims to treat people equally and is inclusive of people whose gender identity is not strictly male or female.
  • Since not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender — as in the cases of nonbinary and intersex people — avoid references to both, either or opposite sexes or genders.
  • Balance these aims with common sense, respect for the language, and an understanding that gender-neutral or gender-inclusive language is evolving and in some cases is challenging to achieve.

2.4 Ethnicity/Origin

  • Afghan The term for the people and culture of Afghanistan. Afghani is the Afghan unit of currency.
  • Use the term Hawaii residents— not Hawaiians — for the overall population of Hawaii. Use the term Hawaiian or Hawaiians only for members of the ethnic group indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. They also may be called Native Hawaiians or Hawaii's Indigenous people. Someone can be Hawaiian even if they weren't born in Hawaii or have never lived in Hawaii.
  • Avoid use of this term “Third World.” “Developing nations” is more appropriate when referring to the economically developing nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • When referring to the areas of the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, use "the Palestinian territories" rather than "Palestine."

 Other References

2.5 References to holidays

  • Use the term Indigenous Peoples Day. Do not use Columbus Day unless it is part of a quote.

2.6 References to abortion

  • Use the modifiers anti-abortion or abortion-rights; don't use pro-lifepro-choice, or pro-abortion unless they are in quotes or proper names.
  • Phrasing like pregnant peopleor people seeking abortions is also preferred to include people who have those experiences but do not identify as women, such as some transgender men and some nonbinary

2.7 Fund raising, fund-raising, fund-raiser

  • “Fund raising” is a verb. “Fund-raising” is an adjective. “Fund-raiser” is a noun.
    • Fund raising is difficult.
    • They planned a fund-raising campaign.
    • A fund-raiser was hired.

2.8 Books, movies, TV shows, plays, poems, speeches, and works of art

  • The titles of long works, such as books, movies, magazines, newspapers, TV series, and plays should be in italic.
    • Ebony & Ivy by Craig Steven Wilder
    • The Wall Street Journal
    • A League of Their Own
    • The Office
  • Quotation marks should be used around the names of all shorter works such as articles, poems, songs, TV episodes, and speeches. 
    • “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
    • “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire
    • Season 5, Episode 9: “The One With Ross’ Sandwich”

2.9 Full time, full-time

  • Hyphenate only when used as a compound modifier.
    • He works full time.
    • She has a full-time job.

2.10 Adviser or advisor

  • Use adviser.

2.11 Electronic and computer speak

  • For electronic mail, use “email”.
  • To refer to an internet site, use “website”.

2.12 Residence hall

  • Avoid using "dorm" or "dormitory" when referring to campus student housing.
  • Use "residence hall" instead (or "theme house", "language house", or “apartments” when appropriate).

  back to top

3. Names and Titles

3.1 Official titles

  • Use complete, accurate titles of campus buildings, persons, positions, and official units.
  • The Catalog of Courses and the CC Directory are good sources for correct titles.

3.2. Faculty rank

  • The levels of faculty rank are as follows:
    • professor
    • associate professor
    • assistant professor
    • professor emeritus
    • adjunct professor
  • Uppercase formal titles.
    • Tomi-Ann Roberts, Winkler-Herman, Professor of Psychology 

3.3 Use of a person's name in publications

  • In first reference, refer to the individuals by first name, last name, and title (if applicable).
  • Subsequent references are by last name.
    • Colorado College President Song Richardson addressed the incoming class of 2022. Richardson’s speech was well received.
  • Whenever possible, use a position or title instead of a name in recruiting or promotional publications. (This helps make the content more evergreen.)
    • For further information contact the Director of Communications.
    • Send your application to the Director of Financial Aid before March 1.

3.4 Academic Titles and Degrees

  • Whenever possible, ask the individual how they would like to be referenced in a story.
  • If requested, use Dr. in the first mention of an individual who holds a PhD, followed by their level of faculty rank.
  • Subsequent references are by last name.
    • Brian Linkhart, professor of Biology, conducts research on flammulated owls.
    • Linkhart will be teaching his most popular course this year in Block 5.
  • The same rule applies to others - such as administrators, staff, and faculty from other colleges - who have a PhD.

3.5 Program Names and the "@" Symbol

  • Avoid using the "@" (at) symbol in program names.
  • Instead, spell out the word "at."
  • The @ symbol is potentially confusing when used in program names because of its common usage in social media and email addresses.
  • The "@" sign is meaningful in social media, so if a program name contains the symbol and is used in social media, it will tag whatever follows the symbol.

  back to top

4. Punctuation

4.1 Periods

4.1a With abbreviations

  • Use periods with lowercase abbreviations:
    • The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Periods are not used with uppercase acronyms or degrees:
    • KRCC
    • GPA
    • BA, MA, or PhD

4.1b With lists

  • Listed information conveyed in sentence form should be punctuated with periods.
    • If the items in a vertical list are complete sentences, capitalize the first word and place the appropriate punctuation at the end of each item.
    • With sentence fragments in a vertical series, do not use punctuation at the end of each line.
      • To participate in Commencement:
  1. You will need to apply for graduation by the March 1 deadline.
  2. You will need to arrange to rent or purchase a graduation gown.
    • The agenda contains the following items:
  3. construction plans
  4. personnel decisions
  • Do not place "and" before the last item.

4.1c In addresses

  • Use periods in Washington, D.C. (Note: There is always a comma between “Washington” and “D.C.”)
    • The cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., bloom in March. (Note: There should be a comma after "D.C." when it falls in the middle of a sentence.)
  • Do not use periods in: PO Box


4.2 Commas

4.2a In a series

  • Use a comma to separate elements in a series and use an Oxford comma before the "and" in a series: 
    • The flag is red, white, and blue.

4.2b With numbers

  • Use a comma after digits signifying thousands: 
    • 2,150 students
  • The major exceptions are:
    • street addresses: 1234 Main St.
    • broadcast frequencies: 1460 kilohertz
    • years: 1985
    • temperature: 3200 degrees
    • test scores: SAT score of 1200

4.2c With quotations

  • Follow a statement that introduces a direct quotation of one or more sentences with a comma. But use a colon after "as follows."
    • Dorothy Parker's epitaph reads, "Pardon my dust."
    • Dorothy Parker's epitaph reads as follows: "Pardon my dust."

4.2d With introductory words

  • Introductory words such as "to wit," "namely," "i.e.," and "e.g.," should be followed by a comma. An alternative would be to use parentheses.
    • International students are required to submit proof of identification; e.g., a passport, immunization record, visa, or some other form of identification.

4.2e With dates

  • When writing a date, place a comma between the day, if given, and the year, but do not place a comma between the month and year when the day is not mentioned.
    • She ran the marathon in October 2022.
    • She ran the marathon on Oct. 9, 2022, in Boulder.
    • She ran the marathon on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Boulder.

4.2f With seasons

  • The comma is omitted when citing seasons.
  • Spring 2007
    Fall 2018


4.3 Hyphens

4.3a Hyphenation should not interrupt the flow of reading.

4.3b Hyphenating compound words

  • Use a hyphen in compound adjectives that come before the words they modify:
    • full-time student
    • upper-division course
    • part-time faculty
    • out-of-state tuition

4.3c Hyphenation with prefixes

  • Words beginning with "non," "anti," "sub," "co," and "pre" can usually be combined without a hyphen.
    • Nontraditional, nondenominational, coeducational, antinuclear, substandard, premedicine, prephysical therapy, precollege, nonprofit.
  • Use the nonhyphenated spelling if either spelling is acceptable.
  • Exceptions: Hyphenate words when a prefix causes confusion in reading the word that follows.
    • pre-enroll, not preenroll
    • pre-engineering, not preengineering
    • co-op, not coop

4.3d Hyphens with regional campus names

  • Hyphenate the names of the regional campuses as follows:
    • Colorado College-Baca campus

4.3e Hyphens with telephone numbers

  • Area codes and other codes for telephone numbers are to be set off in parentheses from the phone number with a hyphen.
    • (719) 867-5309
    • (800) 555-1234

 4.3f Hyphen or a dash

  • Hyphens are joiners. Use them to avoid ambiguity or to form a single idea from two or more words:
    • He recovered the money. He re-covered the leaky roof. 
  • Many combinations that are hyphenated before a noun are not hyphenated when they occur after a noun: 
    • She works full time. She has a full-time job.
  • Use dashes to denote an abrupt change in thought in a sentence or an emphatic pause: 
    • We will fly to Paris in June - if I get a raise.
  • Put a space on both sides of a dash in all uses.

4.4 Quotation Marks

4.4a Used with other punctuation

  • Quotation marks should be placed outside a period and comma, but inside a colon or semicolon. They should also be set inside exclamation points and interrogation marks that are not part of the quotation.
    • See Richter's comments on "journalist expertise," in the second section of this book.
    • The board had only two reservations about "the proposal": the cost and the time needed to implement changes.

4.4b Quotes within quotes

  • Use single quotation marks for quotations printed within other quotations.
    • The nonconformist student replied, "I follow Emerson's dictum, 'A foolish consistency is the petty hobgoblin of small minds,' to its logical extreme."

4.4c Block quotations

  • If several paragraphs are to be quoted, use quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph, but only at the end of the last paragraph.

4.5 Apostrophes

4.5a With dates

  • In making the plural of dates, do not use an apostrophe.
    • The school was established in the late 1800s.

4.5b With class year

  • Use the apostrophe to punctuate years of college classes.
    • Class of '78

4.5c With degrees

  • Associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees, when used generically, should be written with an " 's."
    • master's degrees, not masters' degrees

4.5d With possessives

  • The possessive case of singular nouns is formed by adding " 's," the possessive of plural nouns by adding an apostrophe only.
    • the horse's mouth
    • the puppies' tails

  back to top

5. Capitalization

 5.1 Academic positions or professional titles

  • Capitalize a position or title in all instances.
    • Titles with names:
      • President Song Richardson
      • Dean Sandra Wong
      • Jim Swanson, Director of Financial Aid
    • Titles without names:
      • For further information, contact the Vice President of HR.
      • The President of Colorado College spoke at the presentation. 

5.2 Degrees

  • The degree is capitalized only when it is included as an official part of the degree title.
    • Tom was working toward a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.
  • Lowercase informal titles of degrees.
    • Bob received his master's degree after seven years of part-time study.
    • Glen hopes to earn his doctoral degree this month.

5.3 Titles of campus-related areas

  • Capitalize all formal titles of campus-related areas.
  • Institutions:
    • Colorado College
      • Subsequent reference, the college or CC. CC is acceptable on subsequent reference in all but formal occasions.
    • Academic calendar:
      • Block Plan
      • Block Break
      • Block 1, Block 6
      • Half Block
    • Publications:
      • Cipher Magazine
      • The Catalyst
        • Note: Always use italic for newspaper and magazine names.
      • Committees or councils:
        • Faculty Executive Committee
      • Programs:
        • The Global Health Program
      • Departments and Offices:
        • Capitalize the names of all college departments and offices.
          • Office of Communications
          • Office of Alumni and Family Relations
          • Department of Anthropology
          • Campus Safety
        • Boards:
          • Board of Trustees
            • Use "trustees" or "board" on all subsequent references.
          • Lowercase fragmentary or informal references: the school, the program, etc.
            • The board meets on the first Saturday of April.
            • The students in the program will visit the campus next week.

5.4 Titles of campus activities

  • Capitalize formal titles of campus activities.
    • Homecoming
    • Commencement

5.5 Titles of grants and awards

  • Capitalize formal titles of grants and scholarships.
  • Lowercase cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude, but put them in italic.
    • She received the Kresge Endowment Challenge for Science.
    • He earned the Gaylord Endowment for Pacific Areas Studies.
    • She graduated summa cum laude.

5.6 Titles of courses

  • Capitalize all formal course titles.
    • Introduction to Psychology: Basis of Behavior
    • Global Industrial Relations with Emphasis on Writing
      • Note: Always use italic for course names.

5.7 Majors, thematic minors

  • When used in reference to the department or area of study, majors and minors should be capitalized.
    • The Physics Department will host the event.
    • She was an Economics major.
    • He majors in English on the Creative Writing Track.
    • The museum has an exhibit about anthropology.

5.8 Student classification

  • Lowercase "sophomore," "junior," and "senior" when referring to student classification. (Note: Colorado College does not classify new students as "freshmen." Instead, we use "first-year students.")
    • All sophomores must fulfill the sophomore-level composition requirement.
    • The course is for juniors and seniors who have completed the prerequisites.
    • Please join us in welcoming CC’s new first-year students.

5.9 Greek organizations

  • Capitalize the names of fraternities and sororities, but not the words fraternity, sorority, honorary, honor society, or chapter.
    • She is a member of the CC chapter of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

5.10 Academic block

  • Academic blocks are uppercase. Capitalize "Block Plan" on all references.
  • Use numbers, not Roman numerals, to indicate the block.
    • Block B, Summer 2018
    • Block 4

5.11 Headlines

  • Lowercase articles, prepositions, and conjunctions in headlines, except when prepositions contain more than four letters.
    • Enrollment at 2,000
    • Enrollment Under 2,000

5.12 Geographical designations

  • Lowercase geographical designations, unless designation is part of an official title.
    • State of Colorado Department of Natural Resources
    • The event will take place in the city of Colorado Springs.
    • They were in southern Colorado.
    • The school is in the Pikes Peak Region.

5.13 With abbreviations

  • Lowercase the following abbreviations: a.m., p.m.
    • The show will begin at 8 p.m.
  • Other abbreviations should be capitalized:
    • GPA (Grade Point Average)
    • NASU (Native American Student Union)

5.14 Half Block

  • Half Block is the academic session in January between Winter Break and the start of Block 5.
  • Hyphenate Half-Block when it is used as a modifier.
    • A Half-Block course.

5.15 Text References

  • Capitalize chapter when used with a numeral in reference to a section of a book or legal code. Always use Arabic figures: Chapter 1, Chapter 20. Lowercase when standing alone.

  back to top

6. Abbreviations

6.1 Titles

  • Abbreviate the following when they precede a name:
    •  Dr.
    •  Mr.
    •  Mrs.
    •  Rev.
    • Gov.
    •  Lt. Gov.
    •  Rep.
    • Sen.
  • Capitalize a military rank when used as a formal title before an individual's name.
  • Spell out and lowercase the title when it is substituted for a name.
    • John Doe arrived today.
    • An aide said the general would review the troops.

 6.2 Ampersand (&)

  • Use the ampersand when it is part of a company's formal name.
  • Otherwise, avoid using ampersands and use the word "and" instead.
    • Simon & Schuster
    • The gym will be open to students on Wednesday and Thursday.

6.3 Geographical references

  • Abbreviate Ave., Blvd., and St. with a numbered address.
    • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
  • Spell out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number.
    • Pennsylvania Avenue.
  • All similar words (alley, drive, circle, road, terrace, etc.) are always spelled out.
    • 9 Morningside Circle
  • Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names. Use figures with two letters for 10th and above.
    • Fifth Avenue
    • 100 21st St. 

6.4 City names

  • Abbreviate the word “saint” when used as part of a city's name.
    • Louis
    • Petersburg

6.5 Degrees

  • Use the following for these degrees:
    • Bachelor of Arts – BA
    • Bachelor of Science – BS
    • Master of Science – MS
    • Master of Arts – MA
    • Master of Fine Arts – MFA
    • Juris Doctor – JD
    • Doctor of Medicine – MD
    • Doctor of Philosophy – PhD
    • Doctor of Divinity – DD
    • Doctor of Education – EdD

6.6 Numbers

  • Spell out numbers under 10 and use figures for the numbers 10 and above.
  • However, when a number 10 or higher starts a sentence, spell it out.
    • The event featured seven students and 12 faculty members.
    • The orientation lasted five hours.
    • Fifteen students were honored.
  • Numbers in Addresses:
    • The stationery or return address should be checked.
    • Some corporate headquarters may prefer the spelling of their street number.
      • One Embarcadero Center
    • Special note: The term for 150-years is “sesquicentennial.”

  back to top

7. Contact Information

7.1 Addresses

  • Campus addresses should have the building name followed by the room number.
    • Spencer Center 301
    • Armstrong Hall 205

7.2 Telephone numbers

  • Use figures with parentheses around the area code.
    • (719) 867-5309
    • (800) 555-0123

7.3 Electronic communications

  • Lowercase email, unless it begins a sentence.
  • Do not use a hyphen.
    • His email address is emonster@coloradocollege.edu

  back to top

8. Photo captions

  • When captioning a photo for a news story: Who, what, where, when. Photo attribution.
  • Give the name of the person/people in the photo (with class year if they’re a student or alum).
  • Comprehensive but brief description of what they’re doing.
  • Where the photo was taken.
  • When the photo was taken.
  • Name of the person who took or provided the photo.
    • Jorge Adan '22, Bennie Lewis IV '22, and Jared Mendiola '22 celebrate their upcoming graduation during the Champagne Showers around the Earle flagpole on Wednesday, 5/18/22. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III / Colorado College.

  back to top


Report an issue - Last updated: 08/17/2023

The Office of Communications and Marketing is located on the 4th floor of Spencer Center, at 830 N. Tejon St.

We can be reached via telephone at 719-389-6603 or via email at communications@​coloradocollege.edu