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Will My Credits Transfer to or from an Online College?

Student pondering

A growing body of research shows that it's becoming more and more common for students to transfer to another school in the middle of their college education. In fact, as the Chronicle of Higher Education pointed out in their 2012 report, as much as a third of all students transfer schools at least once before earning their degree. It makes one wonder about the outcome of these transitions; for example, were those students able to transfer all of their college credits, and if not, how far did it set them back?

There are plenty of reasons why it's crucial to know if your online college credits will, in fact, transfer to another school. There can be a lot of risks involved if you're ill-prepared. Imagine how you would feel if you completed an entire year of college courses only to find out that none of them were transferable to your school of choice. With the rising costs of a college education, paying for college is an arduous process.

Will My Credits Transfer?

A lot of factors can play into whether or not your credits will transfer, and it all depends on your unique situation. The following chart shares some reasons your college credits may not transfer:

Will my college credits transfer if…….

Answer

I earned a C- or lower in a specific class.

Maybe. Each school has its own policy when it comes to transfer credits.

The course I completed is not offered at the school I want to transfer to.

Most colleges only accept transfer credit if they also offer courses with similar content and scope of work.

My school is not accredited.

It depends. Some schools will allow you to transfer credits from an unaccredited school provided you meet certain requirements, such as enrolling and maintaining an acceptable GPA.

My previous courses were pass/fail only.

It depends. Your courses might transfer if you can prove you earned high marks in the class.

My existing college credits are from more than ten years ago.

Maybe. It depends on the school you want to transfer to and their specific policy.

When Should I Find Out Whether My Credits Transfer?

It's best to find out if your credits will transfer before you begin your coursework. That way you're prepared if you do need to transfer to a new school at any point during your college career. If you've already started school, the best time to find out is now. If you're already enrolled in courses and considering a transfer, start by studying the transfer policies at schools you're interested in. You can usually find them on their website and in their FAQs. If you're unable to find the information you need online, contact schools directly for more information on their transfer policies.

What Do I Do If My Credits Don't Transfer?

If you're afraid your existing college credits will not transfer, don't despair. While one school may not accept them for a specific reason, that doesn't mean that all schools will react the same way. Each college has its own policy on transfer credits and it is likely you will find a school that will accept your credits.

Earning a college degree can be expensive. That's why it's important to make sure you're not making it unnecessarily expensive by pursuing college courses that will not count toward your future degree. As always, a little bit of research can go a long way when it comes to avoiding college credits that may not transfer to your school of choice.


Sources:

1. Adams State University, Transfer Credit from Non-accredited Schools, May 27, 2014, http://www.adams.edu/academics/100-13-12-transfer-credit-nonaccredited-schools.pdf
2. "A Third of Students Transfer Before Graduating, and Many Head Toward Community Colleges," The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 28, 2012, Jennifer Gonzalez, http://chronicle.com/article/A-Third-of-Students-Transfer/130954/
3. Century College, Transferology, http://www.century.edu/currentstudents/transferservices/willmycreditstransfer.aspx
4. University of Maryland, Transfer Credit Services, http://www.tce.umd.edu/faq.html#ans1