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

If your online college is a regionally accredited, quality-driven school, you can prove that at least some of your online-earned credits deserve to be transferred. Look for a “core library” to see what credits are most likely to transfer (like this one from Indiana), whether from online to online school or from online to brick-and-mortar school.

Accreditation and Equivalency

The most important first step you can make is to prove that your online college is equivalent with your new school in terms of academic quality and integrity. Verify that your online college and your degree program are accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, and also ask your old school for any official documents they have regarding accreditation. Your new school may also conduct an investigation regarding the equivalency and accreditation of your online college.

Also, be prepared to argue for your credits with detailed syllabi, completed assignments, and a letter from your previous school and instructors if your transfer school rejects a course transfer.

Which Credits Will Transfer?

You can use a tool like this one from Penn State to help you gauge your chances of transferring credits, but remember that every school is different. 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

Ask academic advisors at both schools about transferring labs, externships, and other for-credit opportunities that you’re not sure about, like PLA or military experience. Familiarize yourself with the new school’s website and course catalog before enrolling, and remember that classes in which you earned lower than a C may not be accepted for transfer.

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