How Many Credits Do You Need to Transfer From Community College to a University?

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When it comes to college transfers, each college has its own transfer policies, so it’s important to research the university and program you are applying to.

Knowing the university’s admission requirements can help you make sure you’re on track. Requirements for transfer students may differ from those of first-year students.

credits needed to transfer from community college to a university

Most universities will accept a maximum of 60 credits from a 2 year program. This means you can usually enroll in a 4 year program with an associate’s degree. Some competitive universities will not accept lower-division transfer (LDT) students with fewer than 60 transferable credits.

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There is no set standard for the minimum number of credits that will be accepted.

It’s not uncommon for transfer students to lose credits during the transfer process. The program you’re applying to may require specific courses to be completed before your first semester at your 4 year institution.

You may need to be prepared for some of your credits not rolling over during the transfer process or going toward your bachelor’s degree.

How Transferring Schools Works

transferee students meeting in a university

How does transferring from a community college work? Transferring with an associate’s degree is a slightly different process than applying as a first-year student. Again, this varies from institution to institution, and some states offer programs to streamline the process.

Basically, the transfer is an assessment and acceptance of students with prior learning credentials demonstrated by grades or exams. These may be represented by your transcripts from previous colleges, testing into a program, or a portfolio review.

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You may have to fill out the Common Application or a school’s specific application to transfer, but in some cases, your desired university may have an articulation agreement. This agreement is a partnership between multiple colleges and universities to make the transfer process easier.

Factors That Influence Transferability

transferee student researching in university library

What classes can be transferred from community college to your university? If the schools in question are under an articulation agreement, you’re likely in a great spot! This agreement focuses on course equivalencies so that your courses and credits are transferable.

Again, it’s a great idea to do your research on specific institutions. Some universities will require you to retake courses through their programs, even if you’ve passed a very similar course at your community college.

This may be worthwhile if you’re passionate about a particular program because you may learn something new and review other important materials.

Of course, articulation agreements aren’t the only thing you need to worry about. Here are some other factors that may impact transferability:

  • Expired credits: While credits themselves don’t expire, in theory, the majority of institutions will not transfer credits acquired more than ten years ago. This is especially true in information technology (IT) and medical fields.
  • Lost accreditations: Not only can you lose accreditations but so can institutions! If your community college loses accreditation and closes down as a result, other universities and programs may not accept your credits from this school.
  • Relevancy: Depending on the program you’re applying to, some credits may not apply. For example, if you take a biology class in community college, it may apply toward your bachelor’s degree in nursing or pre-med. That same course might not apply toward a degree in journalism or marketing. In such cases, it may be used to fulfill an elective course.
  • Grades: Generally speaking, community college credits can be transferred if you earned a grade of C or higher. Still, some universities will not accept credits for grades lower than a B, so it’s important to verify each university’s policies to be sure.

For more information, you may wish to contact your prospective school’s admissions department. They can provide you with more information about what may transfer into the program you are interested in.

How Do Transfer Credits Impact GPA?

When you transfer schools, your GPA generally gets a fresh start, so even if you barely passed your courses in community college, you likely won’t be penalized for that at your new institution.

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While your previous grades do matter for the transferring process, they shouldn’t hold you back at university once you’re in.

My College Guide Is Here To Help

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As experts in the field of higher learning for over twenty years, My College Guide understands how deeply personal and empowering seeking an education can be. Unfortunately, the process isn’t always intuitive, and life factors can cause hiccups in your education journey.

Our mission is to make navigating the world of higher learning accessible and easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a working single parent or a first-generation college student, our tools are aimed at helping you achieve your goals!

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Isaac Scott
WRITTEN BY Isaac Scott

Isaac has a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. His primary focus is accredited schools offering degrees online or in a hybrid format.