Transferring 101: How to Keep Your College Credits
Are you attending a community college and thinking about transferring to a four-year school to continue your studies? Maybe, you’re not happy with your current college and just need a change of scenery? Whatever the case may be, you’ll need to plan ahead to ensure you keep as many of your college credits as possible. First, make sure your current college is accredited. If it’s not, you may have difficulty in getting any of your credits to transfer to another institution. Second, start researching potential colleges and their transfer requirements, as these differ from school to school. Some states offer tools to help you easily identify which credits will be accepted at other schools, such as iTransfer (Illinois) and the Virginia Education Wizard, but you can also find this information in the admissions section of most colleg websites. Here are a few other things you should consider before changing schools.
1. Transfer Agreements
Many community colleges have transfer agreements with other college and /or universities within the same state. These are sometimes referred to as an articulation agreement. Basically, it’s an agreement that specifically outlines what classes you should take to ensure all your credits transfer. In some cases, you may also receive guaranteed admission into the college you are transferring to, as long as you follow the specific requirements set forth in the agreement. You can research available transfer agreements by visiting CollegeTransfer.net, or check with your current college advisor to see what may be available in your state.
2. Required Grades
In general, you will need to receive a ‘C’ or better in your classes in order for them to be accepted for transfer. Classes that are pass/fail are typically not eligible for transfer credits. For the most part, vocational and occupational courses will also not transfer, but the majority of your general education courses should be accepted. Remember, your grade point average (GPA) from your current college will only be used for admission purposes. Once you transfer schools, you’ll start back at square one, which can be a good or a bad thing. For example, at the University of North Florida (UNF), you must earn a minimum of 48 credit hours to be eligible for Latin Honors (3.5 GPA or higher). So, even if you had a 4.0 at your community college, you could miss having that recognition on your diploma if you earn less than 48 credits at UNF or your new GPA falls below the required level.
3. Credit Limits
Most colleges will set limits on the number of credits you can transfer, so be sure to ask before you apply for admissions. Many colleges will accept up to 64 credits from your previous school to use toward your bachelor’s degree. Even if a course credit is transferred, it may be used as an elective credit instead of one that fulfills your degree’s core requirements. To ensure you don’t waste time and money on classes that won’t transfer, speak to your college advisor as soon as possible.
You may find that there are limited grants and scholarships offered to transfer students. Most colleges and universities give incoming college freshmen more financial aid than those coming from another school, but don’t let this discourage you. There are other scholarships available through organizations and businesses. You can easily find most of them by using a free, online tool scholarship tool, such as ScholarshipExperts.com. It’s a good idea to start applying for these scholarships approximately 12 months before you plan to transfer schools.
If you are coming from a community college, you may not experience too many bumps during the transfer process if you plan ahead and prepare. Unfortunately, moving from one four-year college to another can be a totally different experience. Most schools have different program requirements, so an entry-level course at one school may not be recognized by another. This means you may find yourself retaking some freshman courses to fulfill your degree requirements, which means more time and more money. Weigh all your options and find a school that will give you the best transfer package to ensure your transition is as smooth as possible.