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Gregory LloydRoll the Credits

How to ensure a trouble-free transfer

by Gregory Lloyd

Like many other adults, you may have accumulated many college credits but never finished your degree. Or you may currently be attending a community college, vocational school, or technical school and wish to transfer to a four-year school. If so, there are a number of steps to follow to ensure your credits will be accepted for your degree at the new school.

First, call the student affairs office at the four-year college you’ve chosen (contact more than one school, if possible) and schedule an appointment with a pre-admissions advisor to find out which credits transfer. Do this as soon as possible. If you’re currently attending another school, it is important that you work with your current college advisor and a pre-admissions advisor from the four-year school at the same time to ensure there are no surprises. Many programs at four-year schools have specific classes you must take before you can be accepted.

Also, many four-year schools are still biased against two-year schools and may not accept as many credits as you would hope. This is because of the variety of accrediting organizations. Some schools are accredited regionally, others nationally, and others both regionally and nationally. Regionally accredited schools—the traditional four-year institutions—tend not to accept credits from nationally accredited schools, such as nursing schools, religious schools, and culinary arts schools.

If you’re not yet ready to transfer, a pre-admissions advisor will help make sure the classes you take at the community college are the ones you need. They will also let you know if the required prerequisite classes change. Generally, courses transfer as one of three types of credits:

Elective Credits. These are courses that are not accepted as part of your major or as part of your general education requirements but still count towards your degree.

General Education Credits. These courses—-basic liberal arts courses such as English, history, science, and math—are similar at many colleges and meet the general education requirements for many degrees.

Courses in Your Major Field of Study. These are courses that may not meet the requirements of your major at your new college. Prerequisites to courses in your major field of study usually can be transferred. Coursework for advanced classes varies from school to school and is often rejected when transferring credits.

If you are transferring fewer than 40 college credits, most colleges require SAT or ACT scores. Some colleges require SAT or ACT scores from all transfer students. If you have already completed an associate’s degree, you may not have to provide these scores.

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