How Do I Transfer to a Different College Without Losing a Lot of Credits?

ow Do I Transfer to a Different College Without Losing a Lot of Credits?A key way to think about college credits prior to graduation is that they’re sort of stored value, making it important to transfer without losing credits if a student wishes to complete their degree at another institution. Every credit was previously paid for, worked for, and studied for. That means it’s important to take as many college credits from an old institution to a new one as possible. Thankfully, today’s students have never had an easier process awaiting them as they look to transfer schools. With official articulation agreements, professional accreditations, and growing mobility between campuses, transferring credits is a pain-free process in most cases. Here’s what you need to know if you are considering transferring to a different college but don’t want to lose a lot of your hard earned credits.

Attend a Regionally Accredited College of University

The absolute most important thing to consider when selecting any university is its regional accreditation. A university with a Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) regional accreditation will have its credits accepted with more consistency by other universities that boast the same regional accreditation or a similar accreditation from another part of the country. There are several easy ways to determine the accreditation status of a university and to assure that all credits earned will stand a good chance of transferring to another institution.

In most cases, the school will state its accreditation status on its website. If the school’s status is hard to find on their website, the website of the CHEA has a full database of all accredited colleges and universities in the United States and elsewhere.

Don’t Change Majors When Transferring

The easiest way to lose credits, aside from attending a non-accredited university, is to change majors at the time of the transfer. While many students change their majors throughout the course of their undergraduate education, this does represent a loss of “stored value” in credits. Most students will have to take new core classes, extend their stay at the new school, and rack up extra student loan debt in the process. Students who are maintaining the same major at both schools may very well find that their credits all transfer, allowing them to begin a new academic year without falling behind their peers in terms of total credits earned and expected graduation date.

Don’t Transfer Schools at the Graduate Level

Undergraduate students can freely transfer between schools. They can even do this multiple times if they wish. Graduate students aren’t quite as lucky. In most cases, universities will accept a very small number of transfer credits, if they accept any at all. Most schools will welcome up to 6 credits, or two classes, from students with prior graduate coursework. Aside from those two classes, all other credits earned are lost money. For this reason, it’s recommended that all students choose their graduate institution with the utmost confidence in its quality and its benefits for their career goals.

Look for Identical Programmatic Accreditation

Aside from regional accreditation, programmatic accreditation is the most important when transferring schools. Students who maintain the same major, and attend another school with the same programmatic accreditation, stand the best chance at successfully moving all of their credits to the new institution. Programmatic accreditation typically comes from organizations like the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and others.

Transferring Credits is Easy with Proper Planning

Students owe it to themselves, and their student loan balances, to properly plan for a transfer of schools at any level. The best way to transfer without losing credits is to look for a similar professional accreditation, a similar major, and an identical or similar regional accreditation that will ensure wide acceptance of previous coursework completed.

Please also see: What Should I Know Before I Attend a Community College with the Intent to Transfer After a Year or Two?