Transferring college credits

Posted by: Old Dad

Transferring college credits - 05/30/17 10:41 AM

I'm just curious to see how many others have run into a lot of difficulties in transferring credits from one college to another or even AP credit from HS days.

It's been our family experience that most colleges have the standard path down pat, however, when it comes to anyone who is taking a non-traditional path, we've quickly run into a considerable amount of problems in this area, including even between state funded colleges within the same state. We even had one college tell our eldest son, "Once you start your first semester then the professors will look it over and let you know what transfers." That of course doesn't play well when you're trying to decide between numerous colleges to attend next semester.

I also know many colleges now are limiting how many credit hours of AP classes they'll accept to 6 or 9 credits. The state college our youngest son attends is looking at disallowing credits from online classes in at least some subjects.
Posted by: Val

Re: Transferring college credits - 05/30/17 01:07 PM

My eldest is only now starting this process, but I worked at a community college for a little while, and I learned a few points about transfer credits.

1. Individual colleges often have web pages addressing this subject. Try a web search for [college name] "transfer credit".

2. You can ask admissions counselors. That said, it looks like you may have gone this route and aren't making much progress. Did your son tell them explicitly that he needed the information so that he could plan ahead?

3. State-school to state-school: look for a systemwide policy regarding credit transfer. At the CC where I worked (in California), all classes were classified as to whether they were eligible for CSU and/or UC credit, and what kind (e.g. Gen. Ed.; major-specific, etc.).

4. If your son has been taking classes at a community college, check with someone at the community college. The academic counselors should know about in-state transfer credit.

The thing is, many community college students who are aiming for four-year degrees are on very tight budgets and can't afford to take classes that don't qualify for transfer credit. In this state, at least, the result is that the CCs are very serious about designing courses that qualify for transfer credit at UC and CSU.

I hope that helps.

ETA: I found this link for UC transfer credits.

I found this link for New York.

I found these links by searching for [state name] transfer credit from community college.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Transferring college credits - 05/30/17 01:43 PM

Thanks for your input Val. Yes we've viewed pages as you've described and even at that we get responses that such information is under review and changes frequently.

Unfortunately the admissions counselor was of little help, and this was the admissions counselor in charge of transfers. This wasn't a problem at just one college, both state colleges had the same problem. It took us nearly 4 months of weekly e-mails and phone calls to get things straightened out.

Unfortunately also, our state doesn't have a system wide policy regarding credit transfer.

We've worked though all of this now, my reason for posting was mostly to give a heads up to other people who may be college students or parents of HS and current college students to start early and really be careful about what transfers when making college plans and choices.
Posted by: Val

Re: Transferring college credits - 05/30/17 01:57 PM

Wow! Amazing.

...we get responses that such information is under review and changes frequently.

Again, wow. Introductory physics and introductory chemistry just don't change that much. DS took it a year ago and it was little different from what I learned in the 80s. The basics of certain sciences are just... the same. Obviously, other stuff has changed (e.g. particle physics and biomedicine), but not, you know, the basics of redox reactions and mechanics.

Interesting that your state doesn't have a transfer policy. What do community college students do? Do they get stuck taking more classes than they should have to?

Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Transferring college credits - 05/30/17 02:38 PM

Humanities I didn't transfer from the community college here in town to the state college.

Differential Equations at one state college was 3 credits, in the other state college it was 4 credits, that took 2 months to straighten out before they'd accept it.

Physics I for Engineers / Physics studens at one state college is 4 credits, in the other it's 5 credits. It doesn't necessarily transfer.

Colleges are getting hungry for money of course, they're attempting to limit the number of credits from other sources. They're getting very picky and looking for reasons not to accept credits from other sources.

We're blessed to have a strong community college here in town, still, one needs to be very careful what they sign up for to ensure it transfers.
Posted by: Quantum2003

Re: Transferring college credits - 06/18/17 03:17 PM

Thank you for bringing up this issue for discussion! DS and DD are incoming 9th graders who are taking their first courses at our local community college this summer. While we have a mostly coherent transfer policy between the CC and state universities, when you add in AP credit and CLEP credit and possible overlap among the three sources, the end results can be confusing and not completely predicable. I am still trying to figure out possible options and avoid causing issues if they end up at a private out of state college.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Transferring college credits - 06/22/17 09:14 AM

One of the other considerations is that there are, for instance, different Physics I classes at many colleges. Physics I, and then Physics I for Engineers / Physics Students. If one takes the normal Physics I class at a community college and then enters into an Engineering program, that normal Physics class might not transfer to the College of Engineering. I've seen math classes and Chem. classes in similar situations.

I'd just encourage everyone make absolutely no assumptions, consider each college and each class on an individual basis and do your homework.
Posted by: Val

Re: Transferring college credits - 06/22/17 09:40 AM

Old Dad makes a great point.

There's also the reality that some community college classes aren't as demanding as equivalent classes at colleges and universities. Thinking about it now, my son took a couple classes at the CC last year, and they definitely didn't cover the amount of material that perhaps they might have. When asked about the slow pacing, one professor told my son that he had to move through the material very slowly in order not to lose his students.

So that's one end of the spectrum, and the problem stems directly from students who lack skills in mathematics.

The other end of the spectrum is when too much material is covered too quickly. IMO, racing from one topic to the next doesn't allow students time to ponder what they've learned. IMO, this process makes it hard to acquire an understanding of how what the topic at hand is connected to different topics in the subject itself, as well as to other subjects. (Okay, this paragraph is a bit OT)....
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Transferring college credits - 06/22/17 11:26 AM

Another issue we've run across is assumptions on the part of course descriptions and prerequisites.

My eldest received a BS in Physics from one state university. He decided then to study Electrical Engineering at another state university. Since so many of his credits transferred from Physics to EE, he was immediately considered of Junior status in the EE program. Eldest son was interested in the focus area of power industry so he signed up for the Power course in EE, it's only prereq. was Junior status.

After the first week he met with the professor and said, "I have to say, a lot of what you've been talking about this week is going over my head. I'm concerned about being ready to take this class."

Looking over my eldest son's background the professor raised an eyebrow. "Oh, you haven't taken class X, Y, or Z yet." my son replied, "The prereqs. didn't state you needed class X, Y, or X."

The professor then stated that they assume if you're of Junior status you've already taken class X, Y, and Z.

This once again showing that when you're outside of the realm of being a traditional student, you need to take extra precautions to ensure that everything is double checked, understood, and that you consider the less obvious.

Thankfully my eldest son stuck with it and worked though it thanks to a friend mentoring him for a few weeks until he was up to speed. He ended up getting a A in that graduate level class and it led to his current summer internship, so all worked out for the best.
Posted by: Quantum2003

Re: Transferring college credits - 07/10/17 12:04 PM

That is a great anecdote. I have actually seen shades of it at our local CC. The catalog will sometimes just list one pre-requisite but if you go and look up that pre-requisite, you then see other prerequisites.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Transferring college credits - 03/05/18 09:52 AM

As a follow up, here is it almost a year later and we're STILL ironing out issues with transferring credits that we THOUGHT we had already worked out. Too much trust on the part of my son is part of the problem, verbal reassurances don't always come about on paper and updates after meetings on such subjects often need reminders to actually transpire on a transcript.
Posted by: Quantum2003

Re: Transferring college credits - 04/05/18 06:19 PM

So sorry to hear about your DS' ongoing struggle with a determination that should have been made by the time of admission/registration. This is a current consideration for my 9th graders as we decide among AP courses/tests and dual enrollment courses in the context of in-state public v. in-state private v. out-of-state college.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Transferring college credits - 04/17/18 01:44 PM

Thanks Portia and Quantum for your sympathy, I'm afraid it's still not over yet as of yesterday. I "think" yesterday was simply a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, however, over a year and a half after admission and with a year left to go in pursuit of his undergrad in Electrical Engineering, he's still ironing out what they'll let him transfer and substitute of what he's already done.

He even spoke to one professor who told him that if he's used a class toward a different degree, that he couldn't use the credit toward his current degree, he could only use it to fulfill a requirement but not the credit which he'd have to take additional course to fulfill the credit requirements. It "appears" that this professor may simply be too far removed from reality to understand the process, which is what we've often found.

You certainly MUST talk to the right person to get the right answer. It's not wise to assume that any professor in the department knows or can find out what will transfer and what won't. There is usually someone who specializes in the transfer of credits in each department for the record, another person who decides if a class syllabus equates enough to transfer, and a department head and someone else who has to sign off on it all.....but often none of them can give you answers you have to go to the other one for.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Transferring college credits - 04/17/18 02:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
Unfortunately also, our state doesn't have a system wide policy regarding credit transfer.

Here's an endorsement for Colorado, then, because we've been adamantly assured by multiple sources that any in-state community college courses DD takes will be fully accepted by any state college or university of her choice.

Making the pot sweeter, DD can begin earning community college credits via dual-enrollment without even leaving her school building as a HS freshman.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Transferring college credits - 04/17/18 02:53 PM

In state college course acceptance is very cool indeed Dude, I'd like to see a lot more of such in state agreements and cooperation.

We've had dual credit college / high school credit for quite sometime too. Carrying in 28 credits from Community College / dual credit and AP allowed eldest DS to do a BS in physics in 4 years while taking no more than 15 credits a semester which is of course quite manageable.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Transferring college credits - 04/17/18 06:09 PM

FYI, this page lists summaries and links to details regarding states that have guaranteed transfer of community college credits to state universities.

And since we're on the site, this links to info on dual/concurrent enrollment policies by state:
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Transferring college credits - 04/18/18 09:01 AM

Thanks aeh! That's very helpful. I noticed where I live the transfer of credits is indeed stipulated, however, only if part of a completed AA or AS program. So if a student simply takes a few credit hours of say, Humanities or Calc without completing an AA or AS program, there is no guarantee.
Posted by: Quantum2003

Re: Transferring college credits - 04/22/18 12:45 PM

Thanks, aeh, for that informative link, which would be a great starting place for the many people interested in this issue. Beware, however, to go to the direct source (state laws, etc.) for current information. I had actually done my research last year, so can say that the info for my state is not totally current/accurate.

In trying to navigate this for my ninth graders, I am already seeing shades of some of the issues brought up by Old Dad. There is a major distinction between transferring AP credits or random community college credits versus an associate degree. Furthermore, even with an associate degree and the presumed "junior, status, remember that these credits are only good for "general ed" credits. For STEM majors in particular, there are usually many required courses in the first two years that do not fall under general ed.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Transferring college credits - 04/23/18 10:36 AM

I've also seen lately that what classes transfer can depend on which major one is pursuing. I'm told that at one of our state colleges, if you're going into the Pharmaceutical track, they accept zero AP credits, the same doesn't hold true for other majors at the same college.

I was informed again this weekend where one of my wife's students who already has two AA / AS degrees from a communicability college was told at one of our state colleges that he'd have to register and go though the college orientation before they could tell him what would transfer.. Is it just me or does that seem seriously lacking in service? Buy my product and then I'll tell you how much it costs?

Again, my whole point in this thread is purely to alert those who haven't had to deal with transfer of credits to make everything crystal clear, to double check, to not assume ANYTHING, and to get it all in writing, otherwise, you may be at the least unpleasantly surprised and perhaps finding yourself or loved one doing extra semesters because of lack of understanding the situation.