Many factors drive students to transfer schools, from a lack of fit with their current school’s academic programs or culture to the desire for more diverse opportunities on campus. Whatever the reason, finding a new college is a big commitment that requires careful planning. One of the most important considerations is making sure that most – ideally, all – of your prior coursework will be counted toward your degree. The ability to do so will save time and money, and increase the likelihood that you’ll earn your bachelor’s degree within the college’s stated time frame.
In order to be accepted, transferred courses must meet the minimum grade requirements of the receiving institution. In addition, course work must have been completed in the previous institution and be listed on an official transcript. The receiving school may also review the course curriculum to determine if it is appropriate for the program of study being pursued by the student. If the course does not meet the minimum requirements, it is usually not considered transfer credit and will not be counted towards the student’s degree.
Courses that are deemed to be unacceptable for transfer credit are typically those that do not have a common counterpart in the program of study being pursued. This is a safety net to prevent students from being placed into academic programs that are too difficult for them, and to protect the integrity of their academic credentials. Courses that are deemed to be of poor quality, those which have no relevance to the program of study being pursued and those for which an unsatisfactory grade (F, I, J, X, U) has been awarded are also unlikely to be accepted.
The transfer process varies by school, but you can generally expect that a school will require an official transcript with the course listing, and will evaluate each course individually. Some schools will consider only those courses which have earned a C or higher, while others may take into account the subject area and other criteria. It is important to research the transfer policies of your desired school thoroughly, so that you know what to expect from them when it comes to the evaluation and acceptance of your prior coursework.
Some states offer a block of credits that will automatically transfer to any public college in the state, regardless of their specific academic program or curriculum. These types of agreements are becoming increasingly common and can make it easier to get into a new school, especially for adult students returning to college. Similarly, some colleges will accept professional training and certifications as transfer credit. Often, these are the types of courses that have been offered by business and industry, such as those by The National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs or the Life Office Management Association. These types of professional credits are known as “experiential learning” and “professional development” credit. If the credits you’ve taken do not transfer as expected, it is possible to appeal the decision.