College Transfer Credit Policy

Explore how to transfer your college credits and how previous academic work can affect your transcript.

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How can you take advantage of classes you’ve already taken – whether in high school or at another college – to get credit, shorten your time in school or help you get into advanced classes?

After you’ve been accepted to school - either as a traditional or transfer student – you’ll be faced with the task of getting as many credits transferred as you can.

Transfer credits do not typically count toward a student’s GPA at his new school.

The number of credits you can transfer from another school depends on your school’s transfer credit policy.

Typically, transferring credits is a three-step process.

  1. Assessment: Your college’s registrar assesses your credits by reviewing your transcript from your previous college (or high school).
  2. Evaluation: The registrar compares the syllabus of the courses you took to similar courses at your new college.
  3. Determination: Your credits are either accepted or rejected. Your new college or university will have distinct policies regarding the transfer process.

Credit Transfer Types

There are seven main types of credit transfers:

  1. Credit from another accredited college
  2. Advanced Placement (AP) credit
  3. International Baccalaureate (IB) credit
  4. College Level Examination Process (CLEP) credit
  5. Military credit
  6. Employer-sponsored credit
  7. Life experience credit

Whether your school accepts all types of transfers will depend. For example, only certain institutions accept the “life experience” credit as it is not strictly based on previous academic work.

Community College Transfer

Some transfer students took classes or completed an associate’s degree at a community college before transferring.

If you complete an associate’s degree program before transferring to a four-year college or university, you will probably have an easier time getting your credits to transfer.

For example, Sarah Lawrence College in New York accepts the associate degree in liberal arts from any accredited college in the country for the full 60 credits, which is the equivalent to two years.

Berkeley College in New York participates in the New Jersey Statewide Transfer Agreement in which New Jersey community college students who have completed their associate’s degree are granted full credit transfers to participating colleges.

However, students who complete a few courses from a community college will have to go through the general credit transfer process.

Other Credit Transfer Requirements

Usually, the minimum grade that will be accepted is a C-, although some universities such as Berkeley College are slightly stricter and accept only grades above a solid C.

Transfer credits do not typically count toward a student’s GPA at his new school. Only credits earned at his new institution are calculated toward his final grade.

For each college, there will be a specific amount of credits that can be transferred and for a few categories. Fisher College, a for-profit private college with campuses across the country, accepts 30 credits for an associate’s degree and 90 credits for a bachelor’s degree program.

Some colleges work hard at making the credit transfer process easy. Unlike some colleges, Missouri State University accepts courses taken at colleges accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) and courses taken outside the country that are accredited by the Ministry of Education of that country.

Online and distance learning courses may be a bit more difficult to transfer to traditional campus-based schools. In fact, some colleges, like Sarah Lawrence, still refuse to accept online course transfer credits.

Some students may express interest in taking a few courses at a different college. Many schools require you to get written approval before taking these courses, and may restrict the amount of credits you can take outside the college. However some schools are stricter, such as George Mason University, which does not accept credit from any other institution after the student has matriculated into the school.

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