Transferring to a U.S. University - Credit Transfer
An attractive feature of the U.S. higher education system is that you can transfer from one college to another midway through a degree. The flexibility of the credit system at U.S. universities allows credits earned at one institution to be recognized by another, provided certain criteria are met.
Over 1 million students transfer to a new college each fall, and additional students transfer mid-year at the start of the spring semester. Many of these students transfer from community colleges to four-year colleges to complete a bachelor's degree; others start at a four-year institution, but for personal, academic, or financial reasons decide to transfer to a different four-year college. A small number transfer from an institution outside the United States to one within the United States. The information in this section is designed to give you a better understanding of the challenges involved and help make your transfer process as smooth as possible.
Criteria for Consideration
Most colleges prefer students to have completed one year of study before they enroll at the new college, but this requirement varies from school to school.
In addition, most universities have a two-year residency requirement prior to graduation. This means that you must spend at least two years studying at that college in order to graduate and receive its degree. Transferring after three years of study becomes more difficult but varies between colleges.
In general, most transfer students are in their sophomore (second) or junior (third) year when they arrive at the new college.
Credit Transfer Process
When choosing colleges to which you wish to transfer, consider how many of the courses you have taken will transfer from your current to your new institution. The system of recognition for work completed at the original institution is called credit transfer, and the policy and procedures for credit transfer vary considerably from institution to institution. Contact schools directly or use reference material available at your U.S. educational information or advising center for further information on specific transfer policies.
Colleges determine which courses they will recognize on the basis of your transcripts and other information you may be asked to provide about your original institution, course syllabuses, and so on. While schools can usually give you an unofficial estimate at the time they issue your letter of acceptance, often you must wait until you arrive at the college and meet the head of the department to get an official final evaluation of your transfer status.
Students may find that some of the courses taken at their original institutions are "lost" in the transfer process. They often need extra time to graduate or need to take summer school combined with a heavier workload if they wish to graduate on time. In addition, most colleges have a maximum number of credits that can be transferred in from a previous institution.
Students are required to take three main types of courses in order to earn a U.S. degree: general education requirements, requirements for the major field of study, and electives. Courses that are transferred from the original institution to the transfer institution must fit into one of these three categories if they are to count toward the requirements for the degree. --