Colleges have steadily become more and more liberal about allowing students to transfer credits to them from other schools.
You can save a great deal on your degree by transferring credits, but there are pitfalls to watch out for as you try to decide what college to transfer to:
1) Credit hours per class. If you took a class in, say, communication at your old college and want to avoid taking it again – you will need to make sure that your new and old schools count an equal number of “credit hours” toward that course. “Credit hours” are a confusing concept — but they’re usually given based on how often a class meets. In most cases, one credit hour is given for every actual 15 class hours in the course. (continues below)
Transfer-friendly online schools
Purdue University Global is a very large and well-known online school, with over 270 online degree programs across the full range of certificate, associate, bachelors and graduate levels. It offers numerous “advanced start” degrees in communications, many different business specialties, information technology, teaching, health science and criminal justice.
Get information on Purdue University Global
AIU, a large online school, gained attention earlier this year by announcing that it would take up to 75% of all credits toward its bachelor degrees. That effectively turns all the 20-plus bachelor degrees the school offers online into completion programs. AIU is a bit different in that its quarterly schedule means you need 180 credits for a BA or BS, though in general the number of courses will be generally similar to what you would take to earn 120 credits on most bachelor programs. The school has a vast number of bachelor degree programs online in business, computers & information technology, healthcare management and criminal justice.
Get information on American Intercontinental University
Liberty offers a variety of online degree programs at all levels in business, accounting, education, criminal justice, information systems, psychology, religion and more.
Get information on Liberty University
Founded in 1951 to help World War II veterans get a new start in life, Grantham is one of the earliest online-only colleges in the U.S. It offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in business, engineering, computer technology, human resource management, criminal justice and more.
Get information on Grantham University
Colorado Technical University is a Colorado Springs-based school with over 25,000 students, and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Transfer credits can be accepted for your past experience, certification or training or learning at a prior school. Transfer credit will be accepted upon evaluation and at the discretion of Colorado Technical University in all cases.
Students complete a minimum of 25% of the total credit hours for an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree program at Colorado Technical University.
Get information on Colorado Technical University
If the communication class is a four credit-hour course at your new school but the one you took at your first school was three credits, the odds are you probably won’t be able to transfer credit for that class forward.
2) Classes must relate to your new major. If a course you took in the past is either not part of the curriculum for your new major or does not relate directly to the subject you are studying, it’s unlikely that you will be able to transfer the credits from it.
3) Vocational courses usually don’t transfer. If you took courses in auto repair, dental assisting are another vocational topic for a certificate or “terminal” degree at a community college or trade school, you probably will not be able to transfer those credits toward a new program. Bachelor’s and associates degrees at online and campus based schools often have a career focus, but are generally not focused on what’s traditionally called “vocational” learning.
4) Courses you got poor grades in may not transfer. Many colleges only accept credit transfer only for courses you got at least a “C” on. Be careful to investigate this, however. It’s not uncommon for a school in insist that you got a “B” on a course before they’ll allow credit transfer. A weak grade transcript is one of the most common reasons for deciding not to transfer schools.
5) Life experience or career credit. Many online schools give at least some limited credit for life experience or direct career experience. But you should not expect too many of these type of credits. In fact, it’s a good idea to watch out for a college that says it will grant you a tremendous number of life experience credits if you want to transfer to a good quality school.
6) Lastly, be aware that, while online schools are generally very welcoming of credit transfer from traditional schools, the opposite is not true. It may not be entirely fair, but there’s no doubt that traditional colleges often refuse to accept credits from the large online schools.
Here’s more on the keys to transferring college credits successfully.