Can You Transfer Community College Credits to a School in Another State?

Can You Transfer Community College Credits to a School in Another State?

After graduating from a community college, your next action might be to transfer to a desired full-scale college in-state or out-state. Is it possible to transfer your community college credits to a school of choice in another state?

Yes, but there are some underlying provisions for such transfers. One of these is how properly aligned your community college courses are with those in your chosen university. To be sure, you’d have to consult with an academic advisor or admissions person at your target school. Let’s find out more about this in the article. 

How to Transfer Community College Credits to a School in Another State?

Typically, students without the means or zeal for a university education often prefer to go to a community college before transferring to their school of choice later. This process is usually easier when the transfer is within the same state as your community college. But, when it comes to transferring community college credits to a school in another state, the process can be rather difficult. 

Below is the Standard Process for Getting Credit Transfers Done:

The Credit Transfer Process

This transfer process is often divided into 4 stages. These include:

  1. The Pre-Transfer Stage
  2. The Transfer Stage
  3. The Enrollment/Application Stage
  4. The Orientation Stage

These 4 stages are then further divided into the following steps:

  1. Pre-Transfer Stage
    • First, contact your school advisor or target school’s register to clarify how to go about the transfer process.
    • Second, process your transcript. Some schools usually require that your community college have it sent to them so they can be sure it’s genuine. Just be sure of the receiving school’s requirements before eventually going ahead to get your transcript.
    • Third, get a letter of recommendation you’re going to submit to your target school.
    • Fourth, prepare other relevant documents your target school might ask for, like your financial documents, which are especially important if you’re going to be applying for financial aid.
    • Fifth, confirm if your community college class is compatible with the major you’ve chosen to study in your target school. This is quite important as it can greatly affect your admission into the university you choose.

  2. Post-Transfer Stage
    • Sixth, process your application and prepare for resumption.

  3. Orientation Stage
    • Seventh, you undergo the orientation process of the receiving school. These orientation programs are designed to teach transferring students how to manage the receiving school syllabus and do so much more.  

This credit transfer process is usually the same for those who have completed their associate’s program or those who’d like to make a transfer with their credits. It might slightly differ from one school to another, so be sure to confirm this before kickstarting the process altogether.

Important Factors to Consider Before Initiating the Transfer Process

Before going ahead to make the transfer, you’d have to consider a lot of decisive factors to select your target school as well as the courses you’d like to take after recruitment. 

Let’s look at these important factors one after the other:

  1. Confirm if There’s an Articulation Agreement Between Your School and Your Target School: Articulation agreements are transfer contracts between your community college and the target school. These formal agreements usually contain specific GPA and course requirements to ensure students’ seamless transfer of school credits. Since you will be transferring to a school outside of your state, the chances there’d be an agreement between your college and target school are quite slim. But, that doesn’t mean there won’t be one. It’s worth a shot to confirm before you start making preparations for the transfer. Being certain there’s one will ensure you have a less expensive and less stressful transfer to your chosen school.
  1. Consult Your Academic Advisor: You might want to consult with an academic advisor at your community college to find out more about the admission process at your target school. Academic advisors are generally knowledgeable beings and can easily guide and touch up the transfer process for you. These advisors also possess an extensive network of academics who’d be more than willing to ask for important information about your transfer process. So, without a doubt, advisors are one of your best bets to having a seamless college credits transfer.
  1. Complete Your Associate Degree Before Making the Transfer: According to reports, those who complete their associate’s degree have a better chance of getting a transfer to their university of choice—even those who decide to make a transfer before the end of their 2-year program. So, completing your associate’s degree before making a transfer might be a very good way to facilitating your transfer to your prospective college. 
  1. Make Sure Courses Align with Your Proposed Major: Another way to ensure your community college credits’ seamless transfer is to study courses that properly align with your chosen major. If you’re going to be taking an engineering course, for example, make sure all the major courses you take in your junior school aligns with your prospective courses, like physics, math, and so on. Those who take courses that have little or no bearing, whatsoever, on their majors are more likely to get rejected. So, to avoid hiccups, take the courses that align with your proposed major during your associate’s program.
  1. Maintain an Excellent GPA Throughout Your 2-Year Associate’s Degree: Maintaining great grades throughout your associate’s program will better help you when you decide to transfer at the end of the day. Having good grades will ensure the transfer of your community college credits to another school out-of-state is as smooth and stress-free as possible. 
  1. Start Ahead of Time: A great to avoid issues all the way is to plan ahead of time. Gather the needed materials, make relevant inquiries on important matters, undertake decisions on your major, and so on to hasten your transfer process. 

Number of Credits You Need to Transfer to a College Out-of-state

Most schools often drop about 30% to 40% of your college credits during the recruitment process. So, it’s safe to say you only need between 60% to 70% of your community college credits to transfer to the university. However, you must understand that the criteria for how many credits you can transfer to your receiving institution usually varies across universities. This is why you’d want to check your target school’s transfer guidelines and admission requirements to confirm the number of credits you’d need for your transfer. 

How Transfer Credits Work

Let’s give a brief explanation for the benefit of those who mightn’t understand what “transfer credits” are. Transfer credits, according to Wikipedia, are the terms receiver universities use in awarding credit to transfer students for their prior academic activities in their previous school. Transfer credits include all the courses you did in your community school. These credits are meant to match the requirements the target school has established. They can also be viewed as the target school’s acceptance of your prior experiences as a student in another institution. 

So, how do transfer credits work?

For example, if you take a course in your community school, say ENG101, you get the equivalent course in your target school. An ENG101 may be equivalent to an EGL101 in your target school. Transfer credits are also allocated for courses that are not very similar to a full replacement if the target school doesn’t equate to the course. Some schools require a minimum grade in a community college course for it to be transferable. Some may require a B, while others often require a C. And, sometimes, these grades don’t matter if the student has the minimum grade required for the transfer.

Meanwhile, transfer credits do not exactly count as GPA in the receiving schools. However, they’re only used to confirm the transfer students’ performance in some of the compatible courses they undertook in their previous institution. Your performance in these courses will then be used to allocate equivalent courses that you’d take in your receiving school. Your community college courses’ associated grades don’t have any bearing on your new class at all. You’re expected to start from the bottom (not entirely, though). Students are still required to take the equivalent courses in their target institution to build their new school credit (from scratch).

How Long Does it Take to Transfer Credits from One College to Another?

It should take a minimum of 1 month to complete your credit transfer to your new school. What usually takes time during this transfer process is the credit evaluation by the new school. Most schools want to be sure you meet all their standards and scrutinize your community college credits to ascertain your courses’ complicity with what they have to offer you.

Do College Credits Expire?

No, college credits do not expire. But there are some things your target school might consider when evaluating your application. We already discussed this earlier, but these factors are often based on the following principles:

  • How relevant your community college courses are to your  chosen major;
  • How recent your community college credits are. Some schools generally have an all-time duration for college courses, while others have a 5–10 year plan for college credit transfer. Best to seek more information on this from your receiver college;
  • Your old school’s reputation is also an important factor as well. Your community college reputation goes a long way in shaping your evaluation. 

Transferring Online Credits

In comparison to the traditional junior schools, online community schools are a better alternative. They’re a lot less stressful and pretty affordable as well. Online community classes even offer a more flexible study plan that allows you to study at your own pace, place, and time. But, do tertiary schools accept online credits as well? Well, yes, they do, from accredited online community colleges. 

If you don’t know whether your school has been accredited by specialized educational agencies or not, now may be the best time to find out. This is why it is important to always consult with an academic advisor and an admissions officer in the target school to ask for relevant information on how you can transfer your online credits to your new school. 

Sending Your Community College Transcripts to Your Target University

As we subtly mentioned earlier, your transcripts play a huge role in your transfer process. They’re essentially what your receiver college needs to evaluate you on your previous performance and consider you for the degree program you applied for. But, as essential as transcripts are, the process involved in sending one to your target school can be quite confusing. This is why many students don’t send their transcripts to the receiving school in the right manner. 

So, what’s the proper process for sending your community college transcript to your target school:

  • Contact your target school’s registrar for information on how to send your transcript. Most schools prefer official transcripts, which means they must be sent electronically from your community college directly to your target school. These official transcripts carry the official seal of your community school as well as the signature of the registrar. You’d also need to source information on where the transcripts need to be sent to and the important details that must be included for the target school. 
  • Request your transcript to be sent to your target school. Oftentimes, you’d be asked to submit the address of your target school. Otherwise, some schools may directly contact your target school to secure this information. You may also be required to pay some money or fill a form for the transcript to be processed.
  • This is usually the role of the office of records or office of the registrar.  
  • Confirm the receipt of the transcript by contacting your target school registrar.
  • Wait until your transcript has been evaluated for you to review.


Whether you’ve just completed your community college course or you’re just about to start, the information provided in this article is all you need to know on community college–4-year college transfers. College transfers can be quite exhausting, especially when you haven’t had a firsthand experience of the process before. But, you just hang in there and trust the process! If you’ve done your part well as a transfer student, then you shouldn’t worry much about your application. 

Also read Do Colleges Have Classes on Weekends?

Can You Transfer Community College Credits to a School in Another State?

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