How to Transfer Credits from One College to Another


Transferring college credits
Whether or not credits that you’ve earned at one school will transfer to another depends mostly on the accepting school. If the school you hope to attend feels that the material covered in a course is similar to what it offers, the new school will likely accept the credits. That’s also true for credit you may have earned through military training. So, the first step in transferring credits is to look for schools that will accept what you already have. After all, the more credits you are able to transfer, the less you’ll have to spend on new courses and the more quickly you will be able to use those credits to finish your degree.

Step 1: Determine Possible Transfer Credits

If you get a C grade or higher in a course that is similar to something the accepting school offers, it will likely transfer. But some colleges are more generous than others when it comes to accepting credits from another institution. A few have also expanded their transfer credit programs to include what you learned while on a job or in the military, plus certifications or national tests that you passed.

Here are some examples of possible college transfer credits that may apply to you:

  • Experiential learning through a trade, business, or professional job
  • Corporate and military training and certifications
  • Credits through national testing, including the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject
  • Standardized Tests (DSST), and other testing sources

Step 2: Research Schools and Their Transfer Credit Acceptance Policy

If you already know the school you want to attend, simply reach out to the Registrar’s office or contact an enrollment advisor. They can help you determine what credits might transfer and what documentation you will need to provide. Many schools also provide online portals with course equivalency tables so you can measure course against course. Alternatively, you can cast a wider net and look for the schools that will accept the most credits. Transferology, a nationwide network designed to answer the question Will my courses transfer? allows you to see how courses you already have or plan to take might transfer from one institution to another. Simply create an account and explore based on the colleges you have attended or would like to attend.

Step 3: Consider All Your Transfer Credit Options

With a good sense of where you stand with credits and which schools will honor them, you can decide what school will be the best fit for you. Be sure to add up all those possible transfer credits from sources other than coursework. If you want to attain your degree as quickly and affordably as possible, choose the school that allows you to do just that. You may be able to attend fully online to forgo campus living expenses. Virtual education also makes it easier to continue working so you don’t have to sacrifice your current income while you attend college.

Step 4: Apply to College

Create a transfer information package that summarizes your academic history and includes your diploma from a recognized high school (or the U.S. Department of Education-accepted equivalent) and your official high school transcripts. Also include the credits you hope will transfer:

  • Transcripts along with course catalogue descriptions
  • Proof from an official accreditation agency confirming your previous college’s certification
  • Proof of certifications received at work or from military service
  • Detailed job description from your past employers
  • Test scores from the CLEP, DSST and other national exams

Once you have your documentation assembled, apply to the schools you feel will accept most of your credits. Choose your school based on what it offers as it relates to your major, whether its format will fit to your schedule, and the overall cost once you consider transfer credits.

Step 5: Meet with an Admissions Counselor

Once you receive an offer of admission, schedule time with an Admissions Counselor. Be sure to bring with you your transfer information package. If you received a C or lower in any course you previously took, you probably will not be able to transfer those credits. The counselor should be able to tell exactly which credits will transfer. If the college counselor says certain credits will not be accepted, be sure to ask “Why?” You might be able to prove a course you previously took covers the same content as the class at the new college. Show the description in your previous college’s course catalogue and you might be able to convince them. If the Admissions Counselor cannot approve the transfer credits, it might be worth it to contact the head of your department at the new college to ask if certain credits can be accepted.

If you already have some work experience or credits from another college, you may be able to transfer those credits to a program at National American University so you can finish your degree faster and save money. We have a generous transfer policy where you may be eligible to transfers up to 75 percent of your credits toward an NAU undergraduate degree program. Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor or click learn more now.


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