Trying to transfer credit? You're not alone. Today's academic world is much different than 20 years ago. Students like you are no longer expected to move directly from high school to a university. Many go to a community college after they complete high school. As plans, goals and circumstances change, students make decisions to move back and forth between different institutions and different kinds of schools. Some of the most common transfers are those between universities, from community colleges to universities, from one community college to another, and from a technical school or vocational training program to community college or university.
How Credits Transfer
College courses usually transfer as one of three types of credits: Elective Credits, General Education Credits or Major Field of Study Credits.
What are elective credits?
These are courses that are not part of your major or part of your general education requirements, but still count toward your degree. Most majors allow only a limited number of elective credits.
What are general education credits?
These courses are similar at many colleges and meet the general education requirements for many degrees. General education courses often include courses in basic English, history, science, math and other subjects.
What are major field of study credits?
Major Field of Study courses may not meet the requirements of your major at your new college. Prerequisites to courses in your major field of study usually can be transferred.
The admissions or transfer committee at the college you’re transferring to is made up of admissions officers and faculty members. Usually, this group decides which of your credits will transfer and into which category your transferable credits will fall based on information from you and your old college.
Please remember: The people making the decision on which of your credits will transfer do not always have access to all of the information they need to make appropriate decisions. It's important that you take an active role in the process and be willing to provide additional information regarding the courses you've taken.
Questions to Ask
- Is there a person in the admissions, counseling or advising office who can help you with transfer information?
- Is there a maximum number of college credits you can transfer from one college to another?
- If you've taken developmental algebra (a preparatory course for college-level algebra) or any other developmental course, will the credit transfer?
- What is the minimum grade that colleges will accept for transfer courses? If you made a "D" or "F" in a course, will the new college accept that credit?
- Do grade point averages transfer, or only credits?
- Do credits earned by examination or through placement testing transfer?
- If you took Marketing 101 as a freshman at a community college, and the new college requires Marketing 101 to be taken by juniors and seniors, will the new college accept the credit or will you have to repeat the course?
- Does the college or university have a residency requirement (i.e., do they require that you take a certain number of courses at the college or university from which you plan to graduate)?
- Are some of your credits too old to transfer (i.e., credit for courses taken ten or more years ago)?
- If your credits won't transfer as part of your new general education requirements, or as part of your major field of study courses, will the college accept them as electives?
- You have an associate's degree in applied science from a community college, a technical college or a proprietary school (a private, for-profit school). Will all of the credits you earned transfer?
- If you took freshman English (or any other general education course) at a proprietary school (a private, for-profit school), will it transfer to the new college or university?
Few colleges in Texas have agreements with proprietary schools to accept their credits.
- Does the college or university give credit for work or life experience?
- Does the college or university accept grades and/or credit for work done through distance learning such as correspondence and internet-based courses or those taken through extension programs?
- If I am denied admission because of grades from previous coursework or some coursework is not accepted for transfer, is there an academic appeal process?
Myths and Facts About Transferring
You're locked into a specific college track in high school and move directly from high school to a university where you finish your degree.
An increasing number of students are co-enrolled in more than one college or university. Other students move around among colleges and universities as courses they need or want to take become available.
When you transfer from one college or university to another, you lose most of your credits.
If you're a good planner and have gotten information on transfer of credit ahead of time (both from the new college or university and from your current college or university), you'll lose few or no credits in the transfer process. If you're transferring from a proprietary school (a private technical or vocational school), you should contact your new college for information on whether credits will transfer to your new school.
There is no limit on the number of credit hours a college or university can accept from a community or technical college.
No university is required to accept more than 66 community college credit hours, whether in transfer or toward a degree. Universities, however, may choose to accept additional credit hours.
Grades do not transfer, only credits transfer. Even if you make a "D" or an "F" in a course, the new college or university will still accept your credit.
Many colleges will not accept credits for courses when a student has earned a "D" or an "F".
Courses taken at The University of Texas at El Paso will transfer 100% to The University of Texas at Austin.
Whether the courses you took at your old college will transfer to the new college (even if the transfer is to another college or university in the same system), is determined by the admissions office or transfer committee. It is best to speak with the admissions, counseling or advising office ahead of time and plan to take courses you know will transfer.
There is a statewide database with information on all of the courses at all of the colleges and universities in Texas.
There is no system in Texas which admissions officers, counselors or advisors can tap into for information on courses and the appropriateness of the course for transfer.
You have an associate's degree in applied science from a community or technical college or a proprietary school. All of the credits that you earned, because you have a degree, will transfer to a four-year college or university.
Credits for courses which are purely technical in nature may or may not transfer. The likelihood that credits will transfer is higher if the majority of the courses you took were part of the core curriculum and were taken at a regionally-accredited college or university. Check with the admissions, advising or counseling office to find out if the new college or university has a special agreement (called an "articulation agreement") to accept all of the credits from the sending community or technical college or proprietary school for students like you who have completed a degree.
Credits for developmental courses (sometimes called "remedial" courses) transfer just like credits for general academic courses.
Because developmental courses cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of a degree program, most colleges will not accept these credits—even as elective credits.