Saturday, January 23, 2010

Things to Consider When Transferring Colleges

Last month, while I was sitting in the hospital reviewing my transcript online (neat feature we have in the Florida higher education system), I noticed something: my math class taken in Maryland had transferred in to USF, but just as a 3 credit elective and not as a math class.

Until I looked that day, there is something I hadn't considered: every single college out there has different names and course numbers for similar content. When I transferred credits from the college in Maryland back to New York for my Associate's, NCC (the school in NY) was not familiar with Business English, a course taken in Maryland. Once they were provided with a course description from the second school, NCC applied the course to their English requirement.

At that same school in Maryland, another course I took was Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics. USF transferred it in as an elective. When I was accepted as a transfer student, I was just so tickled that USF took every single credit, I didn't scrutinize all the classes. The requirements needed to get my Bachelor's made sense. It wasn't until I took the time to really look at the SASS that I realized I had one math class already.

It paid to be thorough. I sent an email to my advisor, asking for a review. In it, I provided the course description from the school in Maryland with a hyperlink, as well as one to my SASS audit, which showed that it wasn't coded as a math class. Also included was the link and description from the USF catalog to the comparable math class offered.

Ten days later, I got a reply, stating that it fulfilled the math requirement. Woohoo, one less class to take!

Today, I was chatting with a friend on Facebook. We were talking about school. She asked what I had to take after this semester. Biology, a CLEP exam, Spanish and five Psychology classes. I mentioned that I've already taken two lab sciences, but I have to take biology, too. Ugh.

Me being me, I decided to go look at exactly what my options were. Last time I looked, I'd seen a course that sounded interesting, Sex and Today's World. Definitely more appealing than Cellular Processes.

Wait a minute.

At NCC, I took Family and Human Sexuality. Thanks to last month's experience, I wondered how it was transferred for two reasons. One, NCC required the course to graduate. Two, it was part of the Physical Education department, not Life Sciences or Biology. It was accepted in Health Learning Processes. Comparing the two course catalogs, the Bio course at USF and Human Sexuality at NCC were very similar.

Another email was sent out, hyperlinks, descriptions and all. In about two weeks, I'm pretty sure I'll get the answer I'm hoping: the courses are essentially the same and I can scratch the Biology requirement off my list as fulfilled.

Now, some people might find it irritating that they have to do the leg work to get the proper credit. I don't. Each college or university is a unique entity. As a result, I shouldn't expect them to know what courses from other schools match theirs. To spend fifteen minutes gathering and compiling all the information they need to see that the courses are the same is a small investment.

So, if you transfer from one school to another, keep this in mind. Only YOU know what you took and why you took it. In most cases, we take a class to meet a requirement. Look over what is required to graduate and compare what you took against those you need. If you've got a question about something that just might meet the criteria, send an email with links and descriptions.

If you're like me, it may mean that you are two classes closer to your degree!

3 People talked back:

songbird's crazy world said...

Drew started his Master's at Long island University's campus in Brooklyn, and finished at LUI-CW Post. Two branches of the same university. He had to do all kinds of legwork to have the credits trasnfer properly. and that was in the pre-internet days of the mid 1980's. bottom line, though, is that the effort was well worth it.


glad you were able to get the classes transferred properly!chizat

Jessi said...

I ran into the same thing a few times. I'm glad I looked over how things transferred because it ultimately cost/shaved an entire quarter for me. When I first transferred, I had an estimated graduation date, but later on when I realized that a few of my courses could actually count for various requirements, I ended up not having to take 3 or 4, which meant I could graduate a little earlier. It was great.

Suzanne said...

SB, it's amazing to think it was the SAME university system that didn't recognize Drew's coursework. That said, I've heard lots of wonky stuff with Post-he's not alone.

Jess, that is awesome. How wonderful that you were able to save money and graduate earlier!