How Can I Make Sure My Credits will Transfer if I Start at a Community College?

A common complaint of community college students who are on track to attain an undergraduate degree is that many four-year universities limit transferable credits from the colleges where they attend. Community colleges are great launch pads for earning undergraduate degrees while on a budget. Students who attend community college take undergraduate freshman and sophomore level courses and finish out their junior and senior years at a four-year university. This strategy when performed successfully allows a student to earn their undergraduate degree at a much lower cost than simply attending a university for all four years. Here are some ways that experts suggest will help smooth out the credit transfer process. To further explore some of the differences between community colleges and four-year institutions, check out our article 2-Year Versus 4-Year Colleges.

Choose Community Colleges Strategically

Some students believe that they have to settle academically when it comes to attending a community college, and others may not know that all community colleges are not created equally. However, those who have goals to transfer to a four-year university after their community college days should prepare an action plan that includes identifying the right two-year program for them. For example, some public community colleges have proactively reached out to state universities about the transferable credit issue. Many of these schools have agreements in place that allow community college graduates to automatically transfer to the state universities as juniors. The primary basis of these desirable transfer agreements is the verifiable quality of the community college academic programs. While students should look for community colleges with these types of transfer agreements in place, those who graduate from these colleges can expect to work very hard to attain the school’s rigorous academic standards.

Monitor Grade Point Averages Closely

Some community college transfer agreements with four-year universities are conditional and depend upon the grades that students earn at the college level. Also, universities that do not have transfer agreements with community colleges assess the level of rigor and the grades received for each community college course taken by its transfer students. This is especially true for private universities that have no connection to the community colleges and have no problems charging transfer students extra money to repeat courses needed for their bachelor’s degree. Maintaining high grade point averages helps to cut down on lost credits during the transfer process.

Open Communication Lines With Admissions Officers at Four Year University

When a community college student transfers to a university to complete their four-year degree, that university’s name is the only one that appears on their degree. This is one reason why universities are strict about the courses that are eligible for transfer as well as the grades that one must have achieved in those classes. The best way for community college students to approach this challenge is to meet with university admissions professionals and to identify which community college classes are transferable prior to enrollment in those classes. This method can help students to save time and money by avoiding courses that will not count towards degree completion.


According to recent statistics, every year a percentage of community college students lose so many transfer credits that they indefinitely postpone their academic goal of getting a four-year degree. However, this situation can remedied in some cases with some careful investigative planning about community college transferable credits.

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