Click here for a list of Online colleges & universities that accept lots of transfer credits
Knowing how to transfer credits from one college to another is a key part of getting a degree program finished as quickly and economically as possible. The rules on transferring credits are not always cut and dried. You may find that putting in some extra effort – and pushing a bit for all the credits you deserve for previous study – yields you a a better result than approaching this as a formality.
The first and most important step is to hone in on exactly what degree you want to earn. Students use transfer credits most often into a bachelor degree program. But in some cases, it’s also possible to use transfer credits toward an associates degree. (Click here for a list of online completion degree schools that accept lots of transfer credits.)
Completion degree programs that allow students to transfer a lot of credits in tend to be career-oriented specialties like nursing, criminal justice or business rather than more academic subjects like history or philosophy. There are quite a few accelerated programs out there in “general studies.” You may, however, want to consider this kind of degree will get you the type of job you really want.
Can Online Be Credits Transferred?
The answer is yes in many cases, but it depends on the accreditation of the school where you earned those credits. If you didn’t confirm the accreditation status of the school you studied at the past, now is the time to do so. Many schools allow you to transfer college credits in only from colleges that are accredited by particular agencies. As you’re looking into degree completion programs at schools that interest you, take time to speak with all their admissions counselors. Make sure they give you specific answers on how much college credit transfer you can do from the particular school you attended and the specific courses you took. You don’t want to sign up for a degree program and then find that you can’t transfer your old college credits because they come from a school that fails the accreditation test. (more on understanding accreditation) Also, make sure to find out what your new school’s “residence requirement” is. It’s the minimum number of credits they require you take from them to get a degree with their school name on it. Finally if you are wondering “do online schools accept transfer credits?” the answer is also yes. In fact, many online colleges have more liberal transfer policies than campus-based schools.
Is It Better To Transfer With An Associates Degree?
Officially, it should not make a big difference whether you actually complete your assocate’s degree before transferring to a new school. There can be, however, a small advantage to having completed all the “basic” or “general education” courses normally included in an AA progran. If your new school accepts your associates degree in it’s entirety, you probably won’t have to spend much time trying to prove that each basic course you took matches one at your new school. You can simply start working on your elective courses for your chosen major. In some cases, having a completed associates degree can help you get admitted to a completion program if your new school has what’s known as an “articulation agreement” with your original school. If so, you may be able to transfer to the school you want with a relatively minor review process.
How Do I Send My Transcript To A College?
When you settle on which school you want to attend, you’ll virtually always need to have a transcript sent to their admissions office from your previous school or schools. Colleges almost never accept transcripts from a student directly – they want a signed and sealed version from your original school. Your transcript will be reviewed by your new school, after which you’ll get either a written or a phone notification of how many of your credits can be transferred to count toward your degree (you’ll also be told if any of your work experience can count).
You may have to deal with both an advisor’s office and an admissions office in this process. Don’t be overly shy about asking why you can’t transfer any college credits you feel they should be acccepting. If you explain the value of certain courses you have taken, your new school may be willing to change their mind and give you a more generous credit transfer. It can be a big tuition saver. At the end of this process, you’ll be given a list of courses you need to take in order to complete your degree. To make sure can transfer all the college credits you deserve:
- Bring a syllabus of the courses you took from your previous school or schools when you discuss your credit transfer (these should be available in your old school’s catalog, which will often be available online). Having a clear and complete description of what you studied can help you make a good case for why your new school should accept credits for those courses.
- Focus on pushing to get credit for courses that clearly relate to the major you are going to be working in, and courses you got a B or better in. Schools will generally not give you credit for vocational courses, courses with no bearing on your major or courses you got a poor grade in.
- If you’re having a tough time getting credit for a course you feel strongly about, contact the head of the appropriate academic department. Showing your class notes and discussing what you learned with an economics department head, for example, may get the department to vouch for your credits with the admissions office.
- Be aware that you may be able to get credit for special projects like a large research paper you may have done at your old school – as long as it relates to the major you plan to finish your degree in. You may even be able to get college credit for work experience you have, if it relates directly to your degree major.
Finally, be nice but don’t give up too easily. You have every right to get a specific answer from your school on why you can or cannot get transfer credit for each college course you took previously.
John O’Brien has been a writer, editor and consultant in higher education for over 14 years. His background includes writing for insidehighered.com and The Chronicle of Higher Education. As editor of College Degree Complete, he has advised hundreds of adult students on how to transfer colleges without wasting the credits they’ve already accumulated, to finish their degree programs in the fastest and most affordable way.