Tips for Transferring Credit to Your College

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  • 0:04 Transfer Credit
  • 1:17 Limitations of Transferring
  • 3:46 Resources
  • 5:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

There are many ways to save money at college, including transferring credits from community college or earning them through credit-by-exam. In this lesson, we'll look at what transfer credits are and how to transfer them to your school.

Transfer Credit

Julie is getting ready to attend her dream college. She's so excited that she was able to get in. But there's a catch: the college is really expensive.

Julie has a secret weapon, though. She's spent the past year attending community college and taking exams to earn credits. That way, when she goes to her dream college, she won't have to take as many courses, and it will be cheaper.

Transfer credits, also sometimes called transfer points or transfer hours, are college credits that come from an institution other than the one where you earn your degree. These can be in the form of classes taken at other colleges, like community colleges, or they can be credits earned by taking exams, like the College Level Examination Program tests, where you earn credit just by taking a test (and not by taking a class).

Julie has both community college credits and exam credits to transfer, but she's not sure what she should do now. How should she go about transferring the credits into her college?

Let's look closer at the transfer process, including limitations of transferring credits in and where Julie and students like her can go to get information on transfer credits.

Limitations of Transferring

Julie took six classes at the community college this year for a total of 36 points. Not only that, she took two exams for credit, which gives her another six points. All in all, she has 42 transfer credits!

The first thing that Julie needs to do is to look at what limitations her new school has on transfer credits. Some schools, for example, only allow points earned to come from college classes, not exams. In that case, Julie would only be able to transfer the 36 credits from the community college, not the six points earned by taking exams.

Another limitation involves the number of transfer credits. Remember that, including the credits earned by the exams, Julie has 42 points to transfer in. But most schools put a cap on the number of credits that a student can transfer in. The maximum allowed transfer points is different at every school. But say, for example, that Julie's school only allows 40 transfer credits. Then only 40 of her credits are allowed to transfer in.

Some schools also put limits on how you can use transfer points. For example, Julie's school requires that she takes two semesters of English, even if she's a math major. They also require that she have 120 points at her degree.

One of the tests that Julie took was an English test. That means that she has three points towards English, which is the number of points in an average semester of English. That means that she should only have to take one more semester of English classes, right?

Well, not always. Sometimes, schools will give credit for an exam but not allow it to fulfill requirements. For example, her school might take the three points and subtract them from the 120 that she has to have for her degree, but still make her take two semesters of English classes.

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Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

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