Style Guide

Renton Technical College Style Guide

For public facing documents and publications, Renton Technical College follows the Associated Press (AP) Style. This style guide is meant to be used as a quick reference document. It includes resources and information in the following areas: the College website, the College Catalog, accreditation reports, quarterly class schedules, news releases, electronic reader board, campus fliers, posters, brochures, advertisements, program information cards, admissions materials, social media, logos, bookmarks and official College documents.

Following these guidelines helps all college employees use a consistent editorial style. This manual will help us write correctly, clearly and concisely, leading to enhanced credibility with our students and the community.

This will ultimately benefit our students, alumni, and anyone else who engages with the college by improving the clarity of materials we produce. Its suggestions on word usage, concise writing and plain language also aid people who read at all levels of time, interest, education, and literacy, including readers with limited English proficiency and those who use English as a second language.

Academic Degrees

•           A.A. for Associate of Arts

•           Associate of Applied Science

•           B.A. for Bachelor of Arts

•           M.A. for Master of Arts

•           M.S. for Master of Science

•           M.B.A. for Master of Business Administration

•           M.F.A. for Master of Fine Arts

•           Ph.D. for Doctor of Philosophy

Note: associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree and master’s degree have an apostrophe and are not capitalized

Administrative Titles

Capitalize titles when they appear before a name:

•           Renton Technical College President Kevin McCarthy

•           Dean of Humanities Jane Doe

•           Adjunct Instructor of Psychology John Smith

When titles appear after a name, do not capitalize:

•           Kevin McCarthy, president of Renton Technical College

•           Jane Doe, dean of humanities

•           John Smith, adjunct instructor of psychology


The address of the College should be written as follows:

3000 NE 4th St.
Renton, WA 98056


Avoid using st, nd, th after numbers.

When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only: Jan. Feb. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

Example:   March 1, 1995 and Dec. 1, 1996


Spell out a numeral at the beginning of a sentence.

Spell out numbers below one through nine (one, two, three…) and use a figure for 10 and above (10, 11, 12)

Always use numerals with:

•           Percentages

•           Page number

•           Money/Dollars


winter, spring, summer and fall are not capitalized. 

Example: spring quarter 2014


Instead of 12 a.m. and 12 p.m., spell out noon and midnight.

Use lower case letters and periods when writing “a.m.” and “p.m.”.  Separate the numerical figure from a.m. or p.m.

Example:  9 a.m., 4:30 p.m.

Commonly Used Words and Phrases

Adviser. Not advisor.

Advisory Committee

Board of Trustees - do not capitalize, unless in formal references.

Example:  The Renton Technical College Board of Trustees elected a new chair.

Debra Entenman was elected to the board of trustees.

Cabinet – when referring to the College’s Executive Cabinet, the C in Cabinet is capitalized

College – when referring to Renton Technical College as “the College,” the C in College is capitalized

Commencement – Lowercase, except when referring to a specific RTC Commencement.

Example:  The 2014 Commencement begins promptly at 7 p.m.

The University of Washington holds their commencement program in June as well.                

Core themes, mission, vision, values – no capitalization

Course Catalog – the C’s in Course Catalog are capitalized

Drop out or dropout – drop out is a verb; dropout is a noun.

Example: “He dropped out of school."

“Tim is a high school dropout.”

Faculty – When referring to the teaching staff, lower-case “faculty” to distinguish it from the academic unit.  Ex. The University plans to hire 30 new faculty members over the next 12 months, mostly in the Faculty of Engineering.

Flier – When referring to promotional pieces or information sheets, flier is correct, not flyer.

I-BEST – I-BEST is hyphenated and all caps but needs to be spelled out when first used.

Internet – the I in Internet is capitalized.

Ivy League - Ivy League is always capitalized because it’s a proper noun.

Library – when referring to the College Library, the L in Library is capitalized.

Nonprofit – nonprofit is one word, and not hyphenated.

Non-traditional – non-traditional is hyphenated.

Student Handbook – the S and H in student handbook are capitalized.

Washington state – the "s" is lowercase unless it is part of a formal name (Washington State Board of Community and Technical College, for example). The same rule applies to "state of Washington."

*Didn’t find the answer you were looking for? Contact the Communications and Marketing team. We’re happy to help you with editing and design questions!



Katherine Hedland Hansen
Executive Director of College Relations and Marketing