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When you transfer from one college or university to another, it isn’t as simple as just packing a suitcase.
It’s often an intricate process of paperwork, deadlines, and the slippery fate of college credits. After all, courses completed at one institution might go unrecognized by another, and credits earned toward a degree at one school might be meaningless elsewhere.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure a smoother transition and increase your chances of being able to transfer credit to your new school.
Most colleges and universities share basic standards regarding credit transfer.
First and most important, the school you’re transferring from should be accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). This is the primary accreditation agency in the US, and its seal of approval is nationally recognized. Various regional accreditation agencies also exist, and it’s not uncommon for schools to request validation from one of these instead.
Second, many schools limit the number and kind of credits that will transfer. Core courses — often called General Education Core Curriculum courses — are similar at US colleges, but be prepared for careful scrutiny when you try to transfer these credits. Every school will want to confirm that you’ve met its basic requirements before focusing on your college major.
Third, there are differences between departments and degree programs, and it’s to your advantage to know what they are. Departments establish specific requirements before awarding a college degree, and the more you understand these the better you can evaluate yourself and your academic progress.
Finally, if you earned less than a C in any course, it is unlikely that the academic credit will transfer. An equivalent course at your new university will have to be taken as a replacement.
We can’t guarantee that your credit will transfer, but there are steps you can take to make the process easier. These steps will not only help instructors at your new university, but also will help you organize and clarify your academic experience.
Doing all you can to transfer credit is to your advantage. When you earn credit for classes you have already taken, you will save both time and money.