Transfer Student FAQ

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We know that the process of transferring from community college, school, or institution can be stressful and full of questions—will my credits transfer, why is accreditation important, when should I apply, etc. To help you, we’ve put together some frequently asked questions that students often have about the transfer process.

transfer student faqQ: Will my credits transfer?

A: This is a popular question, but the answer is complicated and isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Whether your credits transfer is dependent on whether the school you’re transferring to accepts the courses you’ve taken at current school. There’s a very good chance that credits will transfer if the courses you took are a part of a Common Course Numbering System—a system that ensures that equivalent courses at different institutions have the same title, prefix, and number, and that all such equivalent courses will be accepted in a student’s transfer as though the courses had been taken at the new school.[i] The school you’re applying to will be able to evaluate which credits transfer either before or after you apply.

If some credits don’t transfer, you may need to take similar classes over. Or you may come into the new institution as at a year lower than you are. For example, if you are a first-semester junior at your current school but some of your credits don’t transfer, you may be entering your new school as a second-semester sophomore.


Q: How do I find the transfer equivalency of courses I’ve taken?

A: A course’s transfer equivalency is the course at your new school that correlates to one you took (or are planning on taking) at your current school, and whose credits will transfer for the same amount. Many schools will have a list of course equivalencies that will transfer on their website.

Every student’s situation is different, so your existing coursework will still need to be evaluated by the new school in order to see which credits transfer. Call the admissions office at the school to which you’re applying to find out if you are able to submit your transcript(s) before submitting your application to get an idea of which credits transfer.


Q: What if I’m transferring from a community college to a two-year or four-year school?

A: If you are enrolled at a community college, already with the intention of transferring to a four-year school at some point, make sure that all the courses you take will correspond to the school(s) you plan on applying to. Or you may be able to sign up, at your two-year or community college, for a transfer program that closely resembles the courses you would take in the first couple years at a four-year college.

If you are transferring from community college where you have earned or anticipate earning an Associate’s degree, you will most likely not be transferring credit by credit. An Associate’s degree “locks in” the credits you’ve earned so degree holders could transfer in as a two-year student or higher.[ii]


Q: When do you apply to transfer colleges?

A: Finding out when do you apply to transfer colleges depends on when you’re looking to transfer in. If you want to transfer in for the fall semester, applications are typically due in March and April of that year. If you want to transfer for the spring semester, applications are typically due as early as the preceding October and November. Look on the school’s website for verification of the deadline.

But your preparation for transferring should start as soon as you’ve decided you most likely want to transfer. Make an effort to do exceptionally well in your classes, make your request for transcript(s) from you school(s), ask professors for their letters of recommendations—do it all in advance so nothing is delayed or late to the school you’re applying to.


Q: What does accredited mean?

A: According to the US Department of Education, “Accreditation is the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.”[iii]

Accreditation is important when transferring because institutions will typically not accept credits from a school or institution that is not accredited. Many schools have their transfer credit policy, as it applies to accreditation, available on their website.

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