How to Transfer University Credits

She’s the best reason for you to continue your distance learning education (Photo by KAT_bike)

It happens. You started college, then had to put it on hold for awhile. Now you’re ready to resume your studies, but you need to transfer to another university. Or you graduated with a bachelor’s degree, and now it’s time to work on your master’s. Start by submitting transcripts from the college or university you previously attended, to the university you want to attend, along with your application. If the Admissions Office accepts your credits, you’re up and running. But what do you do if the Admissions Office denies your request?

Don’t Take No For An Answer,” says the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), in a 10-page brochure designed to help students navigate the maze of transferring credits. While it is in the province of the new university to decide whether to award transfer of previously earned credits, each Admissions Office does have some leeway in making its determination. Some follow-up on your part can make the difference between being awarded credit for previous work done, and having to repeat courses.

Before enrolling in a new university, obtain a transcript of your previously earned credits for review. Make sure that your transcript is accurate and up to date. Next, look over your proposed degree track, to compare the credits you’ve already earned with the courses you will be required to take. When you file your application, include a syllabus for each course that you think may be transferrable, along with the Title and Course Number of the class with which it is comparable.

Note that there are many regional accrediting agencies. If the accrediting agency for your old university is in a different region from the new one,  you may also want to supply a letter from the accrediting agency of your old university, stating that it has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. (Click here for information on accreditation.)

DETC states that “[i]nstitutions should analyze credit accepted for transfer in terms of level, content, quality, comparability, and degree program relevance.” The Council cites four reasons that a university may refuse transfer of previously earned credits:

• Course content doesn’t fit into the curriculum;
• Poor grades (grades of “D” or “F” don’t transfer);
• You already filled all of your elective credits; and
• You already reached the limit of transfer credits allowed by the college.

The most often reason given for refusing to transfer credits is that the courses don’t match what is required at the new institution. Therefore, if your previously earned credits are denied, request a formal appeal, so that you may present evidence of your competence in a subject. You may also ask the Dean of your degree department for an interview, to show him a portfolio of your work. Further, inform the old university of any difficulties that you may be having. It is in their interest to assist you in transferring your credits.

Finally, if your appeal is denied, and the Dean won’t be swayed, you may wish to consider applying to another accredited university, especially if you have already accumulated substantial credit hours.

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