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Can You Transfer Credits from a Brick-and-Mortar College to an Online College?

Just as you can transfer credits among traditional colleges, you can often transfer to an online school from a brick-and-mortar college without losing all of your credits. Not all classes will transfer over, however, and you’ll need to evaluate your degree program, curriculum requirements and credits before speaking with an academic advisor at your new school. Generally, students should keep three things in mind when attempting to transfer credits from a brick-and-mortar college to an online college: accreditation, equivalency, and grades.

Evaluating Transfers on Your Own

First, make sure the same accrediting agency accredits both colleges. This standard will make your new school feel more comfortable considering transfer credits. Some online colleges pride themselves on accepting large amounts of transfer credits to help students graduate sooner, while others set strict limits to how many credits they will accept, no matter how applicable those credits might be toward the degree program.

But be wary of online colleges that accept all of your credits – these schools are not quality driven and may blindly transfer credits from institutions with little to no academic merit, just to accept more students and bolster their own graduation rates.

In addition, keep in mind that for some cases, supplying the school you’re transferring to with a syllabus for the classes you already took can help you transfer in the maximum amount of credits, so have those documents ready for discussion.

If you’re sure that your new online college is regionally accredited, work with an admissions counselor and academic advisor throughout the transfer process. Generally, these types of credits are more likely to be transferred:

  • undergraduate classes
  • lower-division, survey-type classes
  • general education classes offered at many universities

While these types of credits are usually not accepted by transfer schools:

  • graduate-level classes
  • upper-division undergraduate classes
  • specialty classes offered by one school with no clear equivalent at the new school
  • too many of the same type of class ie, only 1 of 3 lower-division science classes may be transferred

When an online college looks over your transcript and determines which courses best match up with their own courses, they are evaluating equivalency. They might feel that their program is of a higher equality and will not accept as many credits from your old school, or only accept them as credits instead of core or major requirements.

Help your chances:

  • Making solid grades at a traditional school will help your chances of transferring credits. Grades lower than a C may not be accepted.
  • You can also ask a mentor or advisor from your traditional school to write a letter of recommendation to your new admissions office, explaining the work you completed and why certain credits should be allowed to transfer.
  • Always check with your new online college if you have any any concerns or questions about transferring credits, even before you enroll as a student.
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