How To Transfer Credits From Community College To Save Time & Cash

by Chad Agrawal

For most students, the goal of attending community college is to earn the credits necessary to transfer to a 4-year college or university. While these same general education credits may obtained within the university system, the truth is that there are many perks associated with attending community college first, namely that you can take the same (or comparable) courses at a fraction of the cost of attending a 4-year school from the get-go.

The only potential drawback is that the credits you earn may not transfer to some schools, or certain courses may not be seen as eligible for credit. However, a little forethought and planning can go a long way towards ensuring that all of your ducks are in a row long before you have to start filling out your transfer applications. And here are a few tips to ensure you've got a handle on the situation.

Transferring Credits From Community College To University

The most important thing is to follow the guidelines provided by your community college, generally in the form of a loose curriculum that spells out the requirements to complete state mandates for general education. For example, California students will use the IGETC, or Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum, to create their educational plan for transfer. This form is split into major subject categories (Math, Science, etc.) along with the number of credits needed in each to complete the general education requirements for California colleges. And under each topic is a list of courses that qualify for transfer to either UC or CSU schools, or both. Every state offers similar listings of general education requirements to help community college students prepare for transfer.

Now, the courses you're taking to meet general education requirements may not qualify for transfer outside your state of residence; but then again, some or all of them may. And if you're interested in completing prerequisite courses for major study before you transfer it can be difficult to know if classes at your community college will fit the bill. In both cases you're going to need to do some research to ensure that every credit you earn at the community college level is transferable to your undergrad program of choice. The best way to accomplish this is to have a clear idea of where you eventually want to complete your degree. The sooner you narrow down your choices, the sooner you can get the information you need by doing the following:

  • Looking on your desired program's website for transfer agreements and required courses
  • Calling up an advisor at the college or admissions office to request more information (continued below)

Contacting Your Transfer University

Once you have selected a school (or at least chosen your top picks) you can call the office of admissions to speak to a counselor about meeting general education requirements (this is especially important if you plan to attend a university out of state). From there you'll want to get in touch with an advisor for the area of major study you're interested in. This person should be able to inform you of prerequisites needed for the program and help you to choose courses at your community college that will count as transferable credits (otherwise you will have to take these preparatory classes upon admission, which means you'll pay more and probably waste a semester on them before you can actually begin your major coursework). Even earning an executive MBA online will require you to complete general education. So make sure that you plan carefully if you want to ensure that all of your GE credits transfer to your next institution of learning. Counselors and advisors can offer you a lot of helpful information, but ultimately the onus is on you to select the right courses.

For more information on transferring credits from community college and how to challenge courses that do not receive credit, see Can I Transfer Credits From Community College? (How Credits Transfer)

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ray October 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I keep searching online for tips that can help me with transferring from community college. Thank you!


Chad Agrawal October 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Glad I can help Ray 🙂


samira February 23, 2013 at 5:05 am

Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your web site is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you’ve on this web site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: