Being a college student is no small task. After you spend months working on applications and choosing the right school, many changes take place that can throw you off course. Needless to say, life happens, but that reality can lead you to discovering other opportunities that better suit your needs.
It doesn't matter if you're currently a student looking for a different experience or you're just getting back into college after a long hiatus, transferring university credits can be tricky to navigate. At NCU, we welcome students at any point of their academic career, and we also want to make sure that you know exactly how to prepare yourself for any big changes.
Changing schools or starting over doesn't have to be as difficult as it sounds, so to help alleviate some of your concerns, here are 7 things you should know when transferring university credits:
1. Some of Your Classes May Not Transfer
This is always tough to accept because you've put in long hours getting through lots of courses, but sadly, there are always a few credits that won't transfer over once you change schools. The reason for this is because universities have specific courses with unique lesson plans that fulfill their overall curriculum.
General education courses, like college level Mathematics, English, Science, Foreign language, etc., will most likely transfer without a hitch when exchanging credits between schools in the same state, but out-of-state universities may operate under different guidelines. The same rules apply for courses geared toward a specific major. To make sure that your credits will be accepted, consult with a counselor at your desired school to see what courses are eligible for transfer.
2. Your Grades Matter
As a rule of thumb, all college-level courses that are completed at a regionally accredited institution will be accepted for transfer with respect to each school's criteria. However, having a grade of "C" or better is mandatory in order for units to be approved. Having a "C-" or a "D" can potentially be approved depending on the college's flexibility, but in most cases, they will be denied. Any classes that offer a PASS/FAIL grade will require further approval by a professor to ensure that you actually did pass the class. Upon that distinction, colleges will most likely approve the transfer.
3. Only So Many Credits Are Accepted
When transferring from another university, on average, 60 credits from a community college or two-year college will be accepted. If there is a combination of the two, up to 90 credits can be accepted, but incoming students are expected to complete a minimum amount of credits, between 30-60, while in residence at a new university to obtain a degree. For example, undergraduate students transferring to NCU cannot exceed a maximum of 90 lower and upper division semester credits upon enrolling.
4. Quarter Credits Are Not the Same as Semester Credits
Sadly, if you're transferring from a school that operates on a quarterly system, that means you could lose credits when applying to a school on a semester basis. In this situation, many colleges will grant a split credit that equals .667 credits for each unit hour completed. A good way of understanding this is that for every course credit you completed on the quarter system, multiply it by .667, and you'll have the amount of units that are eligible for transfer to a semester system.
5. Credits Earned In the Past May Not Help
For some people, their first attempt at college could have happened decades ago, and if that's the case, then some courses may have to be retaken. Most universities enforce a time limit when it comes to transfer credits, but those stipulations vary for each school. Also, having long gaps in your educational pursuits runs the risk of institutions no longer existing, certain courses may become obsolete due to changing philosophies and technology, and in many instances, it may be better for you to start from scratch to ensure that you're fully prepared for your desired career.
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6. Transcripts Are Your Best Resource
Think of your transcript as your ultimate guide to understanding what your academic history consists of and how it will apply to your next school. Your transcript will show you every class you've enrolled in, followed by the amount of credits you've earned for each class and overall term (quarter, semester). Whenever you go to meet with an academic counselor or admissions officer, they will ask you to bring a copy of your most recent transcript to correspond your accumulated units with another university's requirements.
In addition, many universities have their own organizational tools that personally keep track of your progress throughout a term, giving you insight into what classes you need to fulfill certain majors to other schools. If you're not familiar with these tools, speak to your academic counselor and learn what programs your current university has to offer so that you can stay ahead of the game.
7. Your GPA Doesn't Transfer With You
Although you worked hard to get a 4.0, that effort will only serve you when it comes time for colleges to make their admission decisions. Once you do finally get accepted to a school, your GPA will essentially get wiped clean, and your new GPA will be determined by your level of success in your new classes at the new institution. Don’t worry, your academic history is recorded on your official transcript at the school.
NCU Makes Transferring Easy
Trying to figure out the rules and guidelines for transferring credits can certainly be frustrating regardless if you're an undergraduate or graduate student. Making the right decisions comes with many questions and concerns, but the good news is that NCU follows the same basic requirements as other major universities throughout the country. Your only job is to fill out an application for admission and make a request for transfer credits from your previous institution. After that, an admissions specialist will review your materials and determine which courses are eligible for transfer. Once you get your acceptance letter, the number of semester credit hours that will be accepted in transfer will be documented, giving you a good idea of what classes you'll need to prepare for moving forward.
NCU may be an online university, but the resources and support are anything but remote. Our friendly staff and faculty members are dedicated to making sure that your educational path is one that best honors your past, present, and future. If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for transfer, feel free to consult with our academic advisers online or over the phone.
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