College Plans: Navigating Credit Transfers

Transferring college credits from one institution to another can be a big messy migraine if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. Whether you’ve taken concurred enrollment or advanced placement in high school, you’re getting the jump on your generals at a community college before attending a more expensive university, or if life just happened and you need to switch schools, here is a detailed guide on how to transfer your credits.

Step #1: Figure Which Credits Will Transfer and How

This step really should come before you even sign up for classes. If you know, you’ll be trying to transfer your credits to another school, talk to a counselor first. Go in with a list of classes you plan on taking and ask what they know about them regarding transferring to another school.

If you’re in high school heading for college and you want to take advanced placement (AP classes), be aware that these classes rarely transfer how you want them to. Yes, they will always count as college credit. However, they will usually only transfer as general electives, and you will have to take those courses again for your required core general education requirements. Concurrent enrollment classes are more likely to transfer as a required course.

If you already have college credits and you need to transfer them, then call the school you intend to transfer to, and make an appointment to talk with a counselor. They can help you anticipate which of your credits will transfer, and how.

Besides talking to a counselor, you can also use websites like This site allows you to enter the courses you want to transfer and it shows you which schools accept them and how they accept them. It’s a great option for exploring before you sign up, and it will give you a lot of great information.

Step #2: Gather Your Papers

You can’t just sign up for a college and tell them about your transferable credits. You will need to collect transcripts from all the schools where you earned the credits you would like to transfer. Make sure they are in sealed and timestamped or signed envelopes. If you have a degree from another college, you will need proof of that degree for your new university.

Step #3 Contact the Registrar’s Office

Contact the registrar’s office at your new college. Ask them for all the paperwork you will need to fill out. This is also a good time to double check the deadlines for credit transfers. Complete this step as soon as you possibly can. Credit transfers are messy and, unfortunately, registrar’s offices tend to be overloaded to the point where things get missed.

Step #4: Follow Up

After you provide all the information to the registrar’s office, they should give you a time when you can check to make sure the transfer is complete. If that time passes and you haven’t heard back from the registrar’s office, then call them immediately. Do not let time pass hoping they’ll get it done. Be proactive and clear up any mistakes as early in the game as possible.

Credit transfers are rough. As soon as you know you will need to transfer credits, start looking into the requirements. The earlier you gather your paperwork, correct mistakes, and get informed, the easier the process will be

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