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The Truth About College Transfer Credits

Updated on December 17, 2011

Just because you attended a college previously doesn't mean that the credits you earned will transfer to your new college.

Most students are under the impression that all their credits or courses taken at one college will automatically transfer to the next college.

Let me share with you how this really works. Let me tell you the truth about college transfer credits.

Accreditation Can Play a Part in Transferring College Credits

Your college or university's accreditation can definitely play a part in how transfer credits work. Typically most of your state and community colleges are "Regionally" accredited. Smaller trade schools are mostly "Nationally" accredited.

This is where I'm going to have to put my caveat in. "All colleges are different and the advise I am giving you here only represents a few situations but not all. It is your responsibility as a student to ask the college in which you plan on attending for further information."

So, now that I've said that, let's get on with it.

One situation:

Some "Regionally" accredited schools will not accept credits from "Nationally" accredited schools. I get more into this in my other post The Difference Between Regional and National Accreditation.

In this situation you will want to get a copy of your "transcripts" from your current college to give to your new college for them to review the credits for transfer. Only the receiving school of the transfer credits can officially tell you whether or not they will accept credits. Your current college really can't say what another college or university will or will not accept. They just can't tell you that - not for sure anyway.

Another situation

Most all "Regionally" accredited colleges will honor other "Regionally" accredited colleges credits.There are also some "Regionally" accredited colleges that will honor "National" accreditation, but they are typically online universities - they can do this because most online colleges are privately owned, not State operated. But again, it's still up to the receiving school.


Beware of those schools who promise you transfer of credits to another school. They don't know what college you will be transferring to next, they can't speak for that college. You will need to ask the college that you will be transferring the credits to about that.

However, for those students who attend a community college and look to transfer to a university after General Education Requirements are completed it typically isn't any problems with that. Most community colleges are "Regionally" accredited and those type of credits are typically accepted everywhere.

There is a lot that goes into the transfer of college credits. Let me enlighten you on what happens for credits to be transferred from one college to the next.

*This might vary depending upon the college. Each college is different.

Typical Process for Transferring College Credits

  • Most schools require a certain grade in a class in order for that course to transfer over. For example: only C's or higher can get transferred - once that is determined they look at
  • your previous college's course description for the year that you attended and compare that to the present day course description of their own College or University. If they fell that you meet the requirements then they will award you that credit.

You can see how this can take some time and research on the part of the person who is evaluating your transcripts for college credit. Some students have been out of college for over 10+ years.

But every credit, regardless of how long ago it was taken is worth fighting for. It saves you time and money.

Why Your Credits Won't Transfer

There may be several reasons why your credits won't transfer and again, this depends totally on the school. Every school is different.

  • Class may be too old. Some science and math classes will expire, just depends. The school will tell you.
  • You might not meet the proper grade requirement for a class. You might need a "C" to transfer but got a "D" in the class.
  • They might not accept credits from a "Nationally" accredited institution.
  • You will need to provide official transcripts and have them on file with the school for the credits to officially count.

Again, the information provided in my articles are based solely on my own knowledge and experience. Make sure that you talk with the receiving college in regards to transfer credits. Also, make sure you read my Hub The Difference Between Regional and National Accreditation, so you can learn how important accreditation really is. Don't let their names fool you.

Do you have transfer credits? What was your transfer credit experience?


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