You’ve worked hard for your existing college credits, so transferring them to a new school can help you reach your goals. When you transfer credits from classes that you have already taken and subjects you have already mastered, you ensure that your hard work does not go to waste and that you get full credit for all you have done. When you choose a new school to complete your bachelor’s degree, one of the key considerations is if they accept credits – and how many of your credits will “count” and transfer – and will your previous work experience be considered for possible credit.
Getting Back on Track
People transfer credits for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the original school is a two-year program and does not offer a bachelor’s degree. Even a four-year school could be left behind if it doesn’t offer a degree in the right area of study. In many cases, life simply intervenes: illness, the need to go to work, rising costs or even starting a family can disrupt your college experience.
When your circumstances change, you may need to head back to a different school than you started out with. The ability to transfer credits for classes you’ve already completed will help you pick right up again without delay and without having to take a step backwards – provided the school accepts those credits.
How the College Credit System Works
Each class you successfully complete in college is worth credits towards graduation; most courses are worth three hours of credit each. You’ll need to complete about 120 credits to get a bachelor’s degree in most subjects. If you stay at the same school the entire time, the calculation is straightforward – complete the required coursework and receive your degree.
When you make a switch either immediately or after some time away, though, the process is a little more involved. There is no way to determine the number of credits a college will accept and no guarantee that the new school will accept the credits. Each school has their own policies and preferences, so choosing a school that accepts as many existing credits as possible is a must if you want to complete (or graduate) without having to spend additional time in school.
Every college is unique, but most consider one or more of the following factors when they determine which credits to accept from an incoming student:
- The original school
Where are the credits coming from? In some cases, local colleges partner together and accept transfer credits. Your local community college may have an articulation agreement in place that makes it easier to transfer to a local four-year school.
Non-accredited schools are less likely to meet the standards of your new college of choice…and, therefore, less likely to see credits transferred.
- Your grades
Did you pass the class? That is enough for some schools to accept the credits; others prefer a final grade of at least a B.
- When the class was taken
Some classes have content that does not change all that often; a class on Shakespeare and his contemporaries won’t change much throughout the years. Other programs do change regularly – credits earned in a computer class taken two decades ago may not transfer at all, since the class information will be dreadfully out of date.
How well does the past credit align with the current program? If you are heading to a four-year computer information technology program, your math and science credits may be more appealing to the school than your sociology classes.
Each school uses different standards and criteria to determine which credits to accept and gives different weight to each of the factors above. Most students find that their existing credits that match the above categories will transfer to a new school, allowing them to swiftly complete a degree in their chosen subject.
How to Tell if your Credits Will Transfer
You can get an idea of the transferability of your credits by looking at the courses you’ve taken and the criteria above, but the best way to be sure is to launch an application and let the school review your existing coursework and records.
You can get some insight into what to expect by visiting the school’s website and finding out if your credits transfer. In some cases, actually completing the application will provide you with details about what credits the school will accept.
How to Transfer College Credit to Finish Your Bachelor’s Degree
Start by completing the school application; this will begin the process. Most applications are fast and easy and can be completed online. Next, you’ll need to send your transcripts to your new school. The Registrar or Records office of your existing school can do this for you. Allow some time for the process and expect to pay a small fee to have the records sent.
Wait for the new school to view and assess your records and application. At this point, you’ll be notified of which credits are being accepted and which classes you may have to revisit.
Get the Credit you Deserve
Since credits are subjective, there is no way to guarantee that your hard-earned credits will be accepted, but you can tip the odds in your favor. Choosing a school that is very transfer friendly and that supports and caters to returning or continuing students is a good first step. Make sure all transcripts go to the new school, including your high school transcripts and community college work. It is easy to overlook or forget an older class that you should get credit for from your new school.
Work with the new school to double check your options — they may have a checklist or ideas you have not thought of yet. You should also apply for credit from work-related experience when possible; your job history, expertise or professional experience can be converted to college credits at select schools.
Taking the time to research and transfer your existing credits can help speed you on your way to your bachelor’s degree and your new career.
If you are interested in completing your degree, contact us today to start the transfer process and discover just how many of the credits you’ve earned will transfer. We will carefully consider all your classes, work history and more to ensure you get the best possible results from your hard work.