So you want a marketing degree. Although you worked hard to get a 4.0 at your community college, that effort will only serve you when it comes time for colleges and universities to make their admission decisions. Once you have been accepted to a school, your GPA will basically get wiped clean, and your new GPA will be determined by the level of success you have in your new classes at the new institution. However, your academic history is recorded on your official transcript at the new school.
Transferring, changing schools, or starting over does not have to be as overwhelming as it sounds. Here are a few things to keep in mind when transferring university credits:
Some Classes May Not Transfer
This can be hard to accept because you have put in long hours getting through all your courses, but unfortunately, there are always a few credits that do not transfer over once you change schools. Typically, this is because universities have specific courses with unique lesson plans that satisfy their overall curriculum.
General education courses, including college-level Math, English, Science, Foreign language, etc., will usually transfer without a hitch when exchanging credits between schools in the same state, but be prepared if out-of-state universities operate under different guidelines. The same rules apply for courses focused on a specific major. To ensure that your credits will be accepted, check with a counselor at your preferred school to confirm which courses are eligible for transfer.
Your Grades Do Matter
The general rule of thumb is that all college-level courses that are done at a regionally accredited institution will be accepted for transfer with respect to each school’s criteria. However, having a C or better grade is required for units to be approved. Having a C- or below may be approved depending on the college’s flexibility, but typically, they will be denied. Any classes that offer a PASS/FAIL grade require further approval by a professor to confirm that you did pass the class. Upon that note, colleges will typically approve the transfer.
Only So Many Credits Are Accepted
On average, when transferring from another college 60 credits from a community college or two-year college will be accepted. If there is a combination of the two, up to 90 credits can be accepted, however incoming students are expected to complete a minimum amount of credits, usually between 30-60, while in residence at a new university to obtain a degree.
Quarter Credits Aren’t the Same as Semester Credits
Unfortunately, if you’re transferring from a school that works on a quarterly system, you could lose credits when applying to a school that operates on a semester basis. In this situation, many colleges will allow a split credit that equals .667 credits for each unit hour completed. An easy way of understanding this is that for every course credit you completed on the quarter system, multiply it by .667, and you have the amount of units that are eligible to transfer to a semester system.
Past Credits Earned May Not Help
For some people, their first attempt at college could have happened year, or even decades, ago. If that is the case, some courses may have to be retaken. The majority of universities enforce a time limit for transfer credits, but those stipulations vary by school. Also, having long gaps in your educational pursuits means the institutions many no longer exist, certain courses could be obsolete due to changing philosophies and technology, and in many cases, it can be better for you to start from scratch to make certain that you’re fully prepared for your chosen career.
Transcripts Are Your Best Resource
Think of your transcript as the ultimate guide to understanding what your academic history is made of and how it will apply to your next school. Your transcript shows every class you have enrolled in, followed by the amount of credits you earned for each class and overall term, whether it is quarter or semester. When you meet with an academic counselor or admissions officer, they will ask you to bring a copy of your most recent transcript to confirm your accumulated units with another college’s requirements.
Additionally, many universities have their own organizational tools that individually keep track of your progress throughout a term, which gives you insight into what classes you need to fulfill certain majors at other schools. If you are not familiar with these tools, meet with your academic counselor and learn what programs your current university has to offer so you can stay ahead of the game.
What if my college courses and studies were taken at an institution overseas?
Many colleges and universities evaluate coursework taken at overseas institutions of higher learning in a multi-step process. Schools will need to have as much information as possible about your coursework, your previous institution, and the previous educational system. Courses will be evaluated based on their comparability to courses and curriculum offered. Generally, institutions are required to be recognized by the Ministry of Education in the home country. All transcripts, course syllabi, and descriptions have to be translated from the original language into English and certified by a professional translator. A diploma supplement prepared by your sending school is immensely helpful. Credits are typically evaluated on the basis of comparable bachelor’s degree requirements at the sending institution.
Can I receive college course credit for military study, for work experience or test out of courses?
Many colleges and universities award military credit earned through regionally accredited institutions. Schools recognize comparable credit from the Community College of the Air Force, the Defense Language Institute, the National Cryptologic Institute, one of the service academies, or to any other regionally-accredited institution. Most schools do award credit based on ACE or Dantes recommendations, but keep in mind that many do not. There can be a significant issue in that most institutions do not accept as transfer, credit course credit awarded as PLA credit by other institutions. In some cases, schools may recommend sitting for a departmental exam or attempting to earn credit through the CLEP College-Level Examination Program.