Many students view transferring from one institution to another as a seamless and stress free process. This is the ideal situation all colleges strive for, but to have this ideal process take place, potential students need to know the basics of what to do and what not to do.
When looking at a new institution(s) always be aware of the accreditation standards of both the school you are coming from and the school you are wanting to attend. This entails knowing if the school or schools you have previously attended are Regionally accredited, Nationally accredited or if there is no affiliation to an accrediting body at all. There are two ways I would recommend determining the accreditation of institutions of higher education:
1.) First, go to the schools website. The school should have accreditations standards proudly presented on the home page of the website or have an accreditation section that should be clearly visible.
2.) Second, utilize the accreditation search engine www.CHEA.org. CHEA stands for The Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This website is extremely user friendly and allows its visitors to search for schools and verify the accrediting bodies (Regional, National and/or other).
Contact an admissions representative at the school you are interested in. These departments want to hear from you, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them. After getting more information on the program you’re interested in ask if you can have your unofficial transcripts evaluated to see your maximum transfer eligibility (Be sure to use unofficial transcripts. There is no point in paying good money for a transcript that no transfer of credit can be accepted for). Also, be sure all transcripts from all institutions are turned in. Most schools will not take transfers of transfers, meaning schools will not accept a course for transfer from College A that was accepted at College B; you need to have College A’s transcript to get the credit for the transfer.
Follow up with the admissions representative and see what progress has been made on your evaluation (3-5 business days is the normal processing time for an evaluation of one transcript). If you find out there is some transfer of credit that can be applied to the program you are interested in make sure you order official transcripts immediately. Institutions of higher learning will not schedule around pending transfer of credits from an unofficial transcript, you MUST have an official transcript to seal the deal.
If at the end of all your research you find the college you chose is the right fit for you and the transfer of credit meets the standards of the school you are looking at, it’s time to enroll and get the most out of your education. If you find the school wasn’t all you had hoped it to be, its back to the drawing board to start your search again.