Returning To College? 3 Things You Need To Know About Transferring Credits

Statistics show that a college graduate between the ages of 25 and 32 can expect to earn $17,500 more each year than their peers who have not completed a degree. If you started attending a college like Chatfield College but quit before you had the opportunity to graduate, you may be considering returning to school to finish your degree.

Transferring your existing credits will help you reduce the number of classes you must take, which can reduce the time and money required to finish your degree. Here are three things that you need to know about transferring your old college credits.

1. Check to see that the courses are still offered.

If the courses that you have completed are still offered, there is a good chance that your credits will transfer to a new institution. It's important to schedule a meeting with an academic advisor to determine which courses from your old school translate to existing courses at your new institution, since the course names could differ.

Your academic advisor will be able to help you map out which credits transfer, and which courses will need to be taken again.

2. Recognize that some credits are no longer relevant.

Research and innovation in many degree fields is constantly changing course materials. This means that the information you learned the first time you attended college might not be relevant.

Although you successfully completed these courses, your new institution might want you to take some classes over again in order to obtain a more relevant knowledge base. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when evaluating potential credits to transfer is that most institutions consider courses taken within the last 5 years to be relevant. If your credits are more than 10 years old, they may not transfer.

3. You don't have to accept the first "no" as an answer.

If your academic advisor informs you that some of your old credits might not transfer, you should recognize that you don't have to accept this answer right away.

Take the time to speak with the Dean in charge of the college in which your old credits fall. You can explain the structure and subject matter of your old courses, and ask if they overlap with any current courses being offered. The Dean usually has the ability to give special permission for certain credits to transfer, so it's worth taking the time to meet with him or her.

Finishing a college degree can benefit you in the future. Don't let your old credits go to waste. Be sure that you understand how to transfer these credits to your new institution, and be prepared to overcome any challenges that might stand in the way of getting credit for your old courses.