Transferring from One College to Another? Look at Credits Before You Leap

Jaime Dalbke

A student we know named Sophie got some good news last April. Her transfer application was approved! As she was hoping, she could leave her quiet little all-women’s college and transfer to a big university that offered football, excitement – and boys.

Then the following week, a fat envelope arrived. It contained instructions on procedures she needed to follow before her new university would accept the credits that she had earned at her old school. And the procedures were not simple! Sophie had to submit copies official syllabi for the courses she had taken. (Many of those were no longer live on her college’s Website, so she had to ask professors for them.) She had to provide copies of papers and exams that included her old professors’ handwritten comments and grades. (She had already tossed a lot of that stuff, and needed to get her profs to recreate some of it.) She also had to get her high school to submit documentation of the advanced placement courses she had taken there.

Sophie got all the paperwork assembled and submitted – but when she arrived at her new university in September, the registrar said that it had not approved the General Studies courses she had taken at her old school. She had to take another course at her new school, which placed more emphasis on life in classical Greece and Rome. 

So the lesson is that the college credits you earn at one school might not be accepted at others – even if you are moving from one excellent institution to another. That’s why it is a good idea to ask about the transferability of credits before you move from one school to another. Taking the same courses twice to satisfy the whims of a finicky college is costly, time-consuming and frustrating.

The message? Look before you leap from one school to another.

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