If you could finish your degree in half the time – without sacrificing work and family commitments - would you be interested?
The secret? Transferring in previously earned college credit, which can help you finish your degree on time, or even earlier than expected.
You may have earned credit from community colleges and/or other 4-year institutions, completed military training, hold current licenses and certifications as part of your profession, and more. These existing credits are included in your customized Academic Evaluation, a valuable tool to help determine what courses you have left to earn your degree. To reach your degree goals as quickly and efficiently as possible, take advantage of these six essential ways to transfer the college credit you earned.
1. Send official transcripts from EVERY institution you have attended.
Yes, you read that right. Send your official transcripts from EVERY regionally accredited institution where you earned college credits. This is so you receive an academic evaluation specific to you. Any transfer credits could benefit you in the future, so send them all in.
2. Send transcripts of military training you completed.
The University will grant credit for military service schools that have already been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE), including any additional military service not evaluated by ACE but reviewed by the University. If you are a member of the armed forces currently on active duty, submit an official Joint Services Transcript (JST). Or, if you are an Air Force member, submit an official transcript from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) to receive credit.
3. Submit official documentation of licenses and certifications reviewed by the University.
The University awards credit for licenses and certifications that have undergone a Professional Learning Review and determined that the organization's training and education programs provide college-level learning. These credentials can apply as credit toward a degree program at the University. You may already possess specialized licenses and certifications as part of your employment and some specialized degree programs actually require them. These training programs include everything from New Jersey State Police Training to RN licenses and more. The list of licenses and certifications are continuously updated, and could end up saving you lots of time. Before you send any official documentation of your credentials, check the list or consult with an advisor to ensure that the organization, license or certification in question has been reviewed for credit by Thomas Edison State University.
4. Submit official transcripts or documentation of completed training, programs and courses reviewed by ACE or NCCRS.
The University awards credit for apprenticeships or courses taken at your workplace, whether through your company, government agencies, professional associations or unions, and that has been evaluated and recommended for college credit by ACE CREDIT® or the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS). Many of these specialized training programs, like EMT training or Straighterline’s online course programs, require individual transcripts and documentation, so make sure to review their requirements to guarantee your efforts won't go to waste.
5. Submit all official examination or credit-by-exam scores.
If you took accredited testing options like CLEP, DSST or AP exams, send the official score reports to the University to ensure your credits are recognized. The content reflected in these tests demonstrates that you have the knowledge and skills equivalent to that of students who learn the material in a college classroom, thereby earning you credit towards your degree.
6. Determine how your knowledge acquired outside the classroom can apply toward your degree program.
Prior learning assessment (PLA), including portfolio assessment, demonstrates that what you already know is equivalent to the knowledge you would have learned in a traditional college classroom. This knowledge may have derived from a variety of learning experiences, including:
- Past work
- Independent research and study
- Training programs or in-service courses
- Volunteer service
- Cultural or artistic pursuits
- Hobbies or recreational pastimes
- Community or religious activities
- Organizational memberships
- Adult education
- Noncredit courses
- Study abroad immersions
- Military training not evaluated for credit by ACE
- Teaching college courses
These experiences enable you to identify and articulate your college-level knowledge by developing a portfolio and, potentially, earn college credit toward an undergraduate degree for it.
This article was originally published in September 2014 and has been updated for accuracy.
Written by Thomas Edison State University