Will My Credits Transfer? Answering Common Questions Transfer Students Ask

illustration of transfer papers moving from one college building to another

Getting started at a new school naturally comes with a lot of questions and concerns about what’s to come and what to expect during the process of enrolling. No matter your reason for leaving your prior institution behind, you still want to make the most of that experience. 

When you think about the work you’ve put in so far, you can’t help but wonder, “Will my credits transfer?” And that’s not the only question that comes to mind.

We’re here to provide some of the answers you’re seeking. We enlisted Rasmussen College admissions advisors to address many of the common concerns transfer students have as they make the transition to a new school.

Am I considered a transfer student?

Before we get too far along, let’s first define who is actually considered a transfer student by Rasmussen College. You are considered a transfer student if you have previously earned college credit from an accredited two- or four-year college or university after graduating from high school.

If you’ve earned college credit as part of completing your high school coursework, you are not considered a transfer student, though the credit earned is still eligible for review and potential acceptance.

Will my credits transfer?

This is obviously one of the most pressing questions for anyone with substantial college credits. Unfortunately, there’s no way to give a universal answer for each individual student and university. But we can give some general rules of thumb for what to expect and the factors that tend to influence whether a credit is likely to transfer.

What factors can influence the acceptance of transfer credits?

If you’re transferring credit into a Rasmussen College program, the following elements can all have an influence on a credit’s transferability:

  • Letter grade achieved: The listed grade on your transcript can influence whether a course will be awarded credit. Generally speaking, a grade of “C” or better (or “Pass” in a Pass/Fail system) has a good chance of transferring successfully.
  • Course material covered: Course-by-course transfer credits from regionally or nationally accredited institutions are evaluated on course content. Most courses that are comparable in content will be accepted. Typically this means “general education” courses like English Composition or Algebra tend to align with Rasmussen College course standards more easily than highly specialized courses, but there can be exceptions.
  • How long ago the course was taken: Courses that are more than 5 years old may not be eligible to transfer—particularly if they’re focused on specialized material. General education credits may be considered for transfer regardless of completion date.
  • The overall number of credits you’re hoping to transfer: While it might not be a common scenario for transfer students, Rasmussen College programs do have a hard cap on the overall percentage of a program that can be fulfilled by transfer credits.1
  • Credit hours assigned to transferred course: The number of credit hours tied to the course you’re hoping to transfer will matter—for instance, a 2 credit hour English course will not fulfill a 3 credit hour English course at Rasmussen College.
  • The program you’re pursuing: Programs in the School of Design, School of Technology, School of Nursing, School of Health Sciences plus the Law Enforcement Program in Minnesota are subject to additional transfer credit guidelines that can be found in the Course Catalog.

What do I need to complete the credit transfer process?

You’re probably wondering what’s needed to get the ball rolling. To get started, you can submit either an official or unofficial transcript from the institution you previously attended. This document must have the institution’s name, your name, grades achieved for each course and the date each course was completed. Be sure to carefully review—these documents do not have a standard format that all institutions use.

Obtaining a transcript might sound like it’ll be an exercise in navigating academic bureaucracy, but in most cases it should be relatively simple. Start with a call to the registrar’s office of your prior school to learn more about their transcript request policies. If the school allows it, you may be able to have a third-party (like Rasmussen College) handle this request process for you.

As you’re working through the process of obtaining transcript documentation and submitting them for review, it’s important to remember that copies of transcripts or documents submitted during the initial admissions process are for estimation purposes only. Any transfer credit conditionally awarded in fulfillment of a prerequisite or co-requisite through the use of an unofficial transcript will be rescinded if an official transcript is not received by Rasmussen College at the time the required course is scheduled due to curriculum sequence. All necessary credits will be required to be completed in order to graduate.

In simple terms? If you submit an unofficial transcript document, it can be used for an estimation of transfer credits—but Rasmussen College will still need an official transcript to verify, otherwise you’ll need to complete these courses in order to progress in your program and graduate.

When will I know if my credits will transfer?

Once Rasmussen College has a valid copy of your transcripts, there will be a review process. The good news is that this process isn’t typically drawn out—you should have a summary of what will transfer in a matter of days. While this is still unofficial and there may be additional conditions to be met, this should give you a good initial idea of where you’ll stand.

Are there other ways to earn credit or make school more affordable?

Credit-worthy experience and knowledge don’t always come neatly packaged in the form of a college course. That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Test-out offerings like CLEP (College Level Examination Program) can provide an opportunity for you to receive credit.

Additionally, Rasmussen College offers students the opportunity to sign up for self-directed assessments where they have the opportunity to independently complete coursework for just $99 per assessment attempt.

What would my course schedule look like?

Another pressing question you may have on your mind when transferring schools is how your course schedule will be set up. At Rasmussen College, the answer to that will depend heavily on the program you choose to enroll in. Many programs are offered fully-online, though some like the Practical Nursing, Professional Nursing, Surgical Technologist and Physical Therapist Assistant require a substantial amount of time on campus.

At your previous stop you may have attended a school that followed a traditional Fall/Spring semester schedule for most courses. But that doesn’t mean you’ll need to plan on keeping that cadence. Aside from a few exceptions, most Rasmussen College courses offer 8 start dates per year, which means you can get started sooner.

Another scheduling factor to consider is whether you attend part time or full time. It’s true that while many of the programs have course sequences that work very well for full-time students, you’re not permanently locked in to a full-time schedule if you decide it’s not for you.

What happens if I change my major from my previous school?

Let’s say you previously earned about a year and a half’s worth of college credit on your way to a Business degree but you’ve since decided to pursue a Nursing degree. Will this shift in direction cause issues in transferring credits?

Changing your major or academic program will always have the potential to cause delays. Fortunately, in a scenario like this, a shift in academic plans should not cause too much trouble. Remember, general education credits are some of the most likely to transfer and those tend to be the courses you begin with. However, if you were one semester away from a Marketing Bachelor’s degree at your previous school and now want to pivot to Nursing, you’re likely to have a little longer path to graduation.

Will my GPA carry over?

While it’s certainly nice to know that courses you’ve completed with a “C” grade or higher at another school are likely to transfer, that “C” might not match your current honor roll ambition. So, does your grade point average carry over from your last stop? At Rasmussen College you’ll be starting with a clean slate—so get your sights set on earning a perfect GPA going forward.

Ready to start a new chapter?

As you can see, transferring to a new school and getting a fresh start is a big deal that comes with a few steps you’ll need to complete along the way. Hopefully you should have a better understanding now of whether your credits will transfer and what you can expect as you make the transition to becoming a Rasmussen College student.

You likely still have questions related to your unique scenario. Our admissions advisors are standing by to help you navigate your next steps.

1Students must complete 33% of their program requirements at Rasmussen College, and no more than 67% may be completed via transfer credits, course waivers, and credit by examination, or other means. Exceptions to this policy are found in the Transfer of Credit Policy in the Course Catalog.

Will Erstad

Will is a Sr. Content Specialist at Collegis Education. He researches and writes student-focused articles on a variety of topics for Rasmussen College. He is passionate about learning and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.

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