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Should I Get My Associate's Degree or Transfer?

Updated on July 18, 2012
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This Hub's Purpose

is to help you consider some of the aspects on getting an associate's degree or transferring. I encountered this problem when transferring from a local college to my local university. I did decide to transfer, but it was a bit easier for me because my university often handled this kind of situation. Here's some things to consider.

What Are Your Goals?

  • Do you want to put school on pause and work? If that's the case, you have to consider how close you are to getting your associate's, whether it will really help you in the job market, and what your future education goals are.
  • Do you want to graduate from another university with your associate's? You might need to take a certain number of classes at the designated school before you can earn a degree from that institution.

Will All Your Classes Transfer?

At my schools, they had an updated list of which classes would transfer and what the classes would count for under the new model, and which classes wouldn't transfer at all. They had this because they so often had transfers between schools. Many local schools will have this, but not all schools. Talk to the desired counselors and ask around to find out.

Here's a major benefit to getting your associate's: it can really suck to see a semester or semesters worth of work mean almost nothing in a transfer. When you earn your associate's from an accredited institution, it is accepted almost anywhere. So all of your classes should transfer with an associate's. Talk to the desired school's counselor, of course.

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How Strongly Will It Affect Your Financial Aid?

Although I don't have personal experience with this, I have heard that having even an associate's degree can affect how much money you may receive from FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If you aren't receiving any aid, you won't have to worry about this. Ultimately, this is the main factor that made me transfer rather than graduate.

What is the Acceptance Rate and Policy of Your Candidate School?

Schools have all kinds of policies and red tape. There may be special cases and scenarios per school. In some instances, if you did poorly in high school, you might be able to get into a good college with good transfer grades or an associate's. However, you probably won't get into Harvard with an associate's from a community college. Going to college can often feel like travelling in an area filled with landmines, and the best advice I think anyone can give is try to be as prepared as possible. Always contact the recruiters and counselors about policies and other outlooks.

Did you choose to graduate or transfer?

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    • PhilosopherPrince profile image
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      Elliott Ploutz 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thank you for your input! I think you did the right thing. Having a degree definitely looks better than "some college".

    • Learn Things Web profile image

      Learn Things Web 5 years ago from California

      I earned my associates first and then transferred. I felt like if anything should happen and I couldn't finish school at least I would have some sort of degree. I didn't have any trouble getting financial aid but I did go to college in the late 90s. Maybe things have changed.

    • Bredavies profile image

      Bredavies 5 years ago

      I transferred and did not get all of my credits or even credit toward my gpa but I am glad I transferred because I got more of the college experience. Great hub. It raises a very important question.