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A Guide on How to Transfer College Credits

written by: Terry Caron•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 11/29/2010

Knowing how to transfer college credits from one school to another can save time and money when aspiring for a college degree. This knowledge can even benefit high school graduates looking to begin their college education.

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    There are some key principles to know when it comes to the understanding of how to transfer college credits. Although the college itself will make the rules for how many credits can be transferred and what type of credits can be transferred there are some general guidelines to know before beginning the process.

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    The Credit Transfer Process

    Start this process as soon as possible when starting at a new college or university. The process of transferring can take time and sometimes may require a push, so get this process started early.

    Upon leaving a school make sure to acquire a copy, or multiple copies, of the official school transcripts. This will be required when the transfer process is started. As you are going through school it will also benefit you to keep copies of the course syllabus for each course that is being taken. A course syllabus can also be used with the official transcripts to help identify courses for transfer.

    The process starts when the credit transfer form, depending on the school, is completed and submitted with the official transcripts and any course syllabuses that were obtained. These courses will then be reviewed by academic advisors who will review and identify if the courses taken compare to the courses offered at the current college or university. This is where the course syllabus can be handy. This will provide further detail for the course that was taken and how it relates and compares to the course offered by the college or university. If a syllabus is not provided then the school may have to request one and this will add time to the process. Be sure to check with your academic advisor periodically to make sure the process does not run into any unnecessary snags that can delay the overall process.

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    What Credits Qualify for Transfer

    The credits that will qualify for transfer will depend on the degree program attended, the type of credits, and how closely they match the current institutions curriculum. For instance, if both schools measure their calculus courses in credit hour increments and both calculus courses were 3 credit hours this is a close match. The next thing that will be reviewed is if the concepts for the calculus course covered are the same as the concepts that are covered at the new school. If the colleges are both members of the same accreditation then there may be a good chance that these credits will transfer. Remember that much of this is determined by the school's policies and reviewing advisors.

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    How Many Credits Can be Transferred

    The number of credits that can be transfer will usually be dependent on the college or university accepting the transfers. Many times this will be determined by the degree program and the schools guidelines on minimal credits taken at that school. Most schools set a minimum number of credits required, from that school, in order to graduate. For example; if the college you are transferring to has a 60 credit minimum then you must attend enough courses to obtain at least 60 credits from that institution in order to graduate. Another important guideline to check is to find out how many credits are required to receive honors from that college. Some schools will set a minimum number of credit hours attended in order to receive honors, along with the necessary grade point average and other criteria.

    Overall, knowing how to transfer credits from one college to another can be a simple but time consuming process. It is definitely worth it when the credits transfer because it can speed up the time to graduate and help avoid taking classes twice. Make sure to check with the school's transfer guidelines and other rules and speak with the academic advisor for other information. Don’t forget to save those syllabuses and start the process early. Good Luck!

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    References

    Colorado College Credit Transfer Guidelines: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/international/study_abroad/credit.asp

    University of Colorado Boulder: http://admissions.colorado.edu/undergraduate/admissions/transfer/transfercredit

    Metro State College Denver: http://www.mscd.edu/admissions/transfer/transferring_credits.shtml