Getting Full Credit
Do your homework. Sit down with your new university's
course catalog and read the course descriptions. Get
a clear understanding of the general education requirements,
elective options, and major course requirements. Read
the course descriptions of the classes that satisfy
those requirements. Which descriptions sound like classes
you have already taken? Take detailed notes as you read.
Think about your completed courses. How can you best
apply those old courses to the new requirements?
Your old course catalog is your best friend.
University course numbers and descriptions change all
the time. If you attended school back in the dark ages,
as I did, the current catalog will probably not list
the classes you completed in your younger days. In fact,
your old course numbers may have been reassigned to
entirely different classes. Pull your dusty course catalog
from the shelf and copy the pages containing your completed
courses. This will help you evaluate how to apply your
old courses to new requirements, and will provide evidence
essential to your claims.
Your old university library is your second best
friend. If you didn't save the course catalog from
twenty years ago, don't despair. Your old university
will have one - somewhere. You just have to track it
down. Be prepared with a list of the classes you took
and the year you took them; a copy of your transcript
would serve this purpose. Start your catalog search
with your former university's library. Also try campus
guidance counselors, the career center, the admissions
or re-admissions office, and the graduation office.
Make these people your friends, as you are creating
extra work for them. You will probably not be able to
obtain an entire course catalog so will need to rely
on photocopies of the relevant pages. Does the page
include a header listing the catalog's origin and year?
If not, ask the kind person helping you to fax the pages
to you with a cover sheet explaining what they are.
The fax and cover sheet will document the source of
your course descriptions.
Who's in charge? At your new university, who
has the authority to approve your course substitutions?
My advisement counselor couldn't do it; I had to approach
the Dean of Admissions. You may have to work your way
up to the correct person at your university. As you
go, be polite to everyone you deal with; but if you
feel you are right, don't accept 'No' as a final answer.
Prepare separate requests. I wrote up a formal
memorandum for each class substitution I requested.
Each memo included:
Copy all approved requests before submission to the
Registrar or Admissions Office. Need I say more?
- The old course name, number, and description quoted
from the old catalog.
- The date I completed the course and the grade I
received for the course.
- The name, number, and description of the new university's
course for which I was requesting credit, as well
as the general education requirement that the course
- A written paragraph explaining why I thought the
credit was appropriate. I included information like
what I'd learned from the class and how the old course
and the new university's course coincided in information
- A signature line for the administrator to approve
Hand deliver approved requests to the Registrar.
Write down the name of the person who accepts the memo
from you. Be friendly with them so they will want to
help you. Check back in a week to see if the approval
has been processed. Ask for them by name.
When the dust cleared, I had cut out 25 of the 27
credit hours my counselor told me I needed. I saved
an entire year of course work by doing my homework.
And since my memo system was working so well, I went
on to design my own minor, using classes I'd taken at
my former university. The department chair approved
my proposal without any problem.
The moral of my story is threefold. No one cares as
much about your education, time, and efforts as you
do. No one will go out on a limb for you unless you
are willing to climb out there first.
And doing your homework can really pay off.
Connie Myers graduated Summa Cum Laude from BYU-Hawaii
in 1997. At the commencement ceremony, her husband and
their five children cheered.
also Roll the Credits.