If you're contemplating transferring colleges, you're not alone. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in 2012 that about one-third of college students transfer before graduating. Transferring can delay your graduation if all of your courses aren't eligible for transfer credits, though, so it's wise to check with your new school to find out which classes will transfer before you take the plunge. There's no single number of credit hours that will transfer. Instead, your transfer eligibility depends on your school's policies.
Most schools require that transfer credits have an equivalent at the new school. For example, if you took sociology of the family at your old school, there would need to be a similar course, such as sociology of family relationships, at your new school. Otherwise, you might get just a general credit for the class; this credit would go on your transcript, but might not count toward graduation requirements. If your new school finds that a class you took was not sufficiently academically rigorous, you might not get credit or you might not get credit for the full number of hours you took.
Different Course Catalogs
Even if you get credit for all of your transfer courses, you could still end up having to take additional classes. Different schools have different course catalogs. For example, at Georgia State University, philosophy majors are required to take two classes in the history of philosophy, while at Catholic University, these classes are optional. If you transfer to a school that has different course requirements from your original school, you might have to take additional classes even if you get full transfer credit.
Transfer Credit Restrictions
At many schools, you can only get transfer credit for courses in which you received a certain minimum grade. At Georgia State University, for example, students can only transfer 12 hours of courses for which they received a D. American University requires that students receive a C or better in transfer classes. The courses will also have to be from an accredited school.
Minimum residency requirements are designed to ensure that a student completes a certain number of course hours at the school to which she transfers. At some schools, there is a cap on the number of hours a student can transfer to the school. American University caps the courses at 75 hours for a university and 60 hours for a two-year college. Georgia State University doesn't limit the number of courses you can transfer, but does require that you complete at least 39 3000-level or above classes at GSU, and that you receive at least a C in these courses.
- Georgia State University: Policies and Procedures
- College for all Texans: Transferring Colleges
- The Chronicle of Higher Education: A Third of Students Transfer Before Graduating, and Many Head Toward Community Colleges
- American University: Transfer Credit Guidelines
- Georgia State University: Transfer Credit
- The Catholic University of America School of Philosophy: Major in Philosophy
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.