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7 steps to transferring college credits

Earning a bachelor’s degree doesn’t always happen in a linear fashion. And that’s OK. Like a recipe that’s improved by substitutions and additions, completing an undergraduate degree can become an enriching and achievable goal with the help of college credit transfers.

In fact, this is true for quite a few students. An estimated 35% of all undergraduate students transfer college credits at some point during their college career.

At University of Phoenix, we believe in helping to remove barriers to education. Part of that is by accepting transfer credits where and when possible. Here, we take a closer look at the process, both in general and at UOPX specifically.

College transfer credits by the numbers

56 percent

56% of students transferring into a four-year university come from a two-year institution

illustration with 2 of 3 figures highlighted

Nationally, nearly two-thirds of community college students who transfer to a four-year institution earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.

1.2 million

Transfer students are common! Approximately 1.2 million undergraduate students in 2021 brought college transfer credits with them.

Use our Savings Explorer Tool™ to see if your work, life and school experiences can give you a head start on your degree. 

How to attempt to transfer college credits

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Get familiar with your school’s transfer policies.

All schools publish their policies regarding how many and which transfer credits they’ll accept, with the standard ranging between 15 and 90 credits. Picking a “transfer-friendly” school can help you save time and money.

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Request your unofficial transcript(s).

Contact the registrar at every school you’ve attended to request your transcript(s). Having a record of which courses you’ve successfully completed will help you identify which college credit you can potentially transfer to your new school. 

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Know that all credits are not created equal.

Some colleges operate on a quarter system, others on a semester system — and they are not always equivalent. This discrepancy doesn’t account for other potential credit, either. (Hello, military experience or CLEP exam credit!) So, don’t expect an easy one-to-one transfer for all of your college credits.

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Look for transfer opportunities in general education requirements.

General education requirements are the most common area where transfer credits apply, although some credits may occasionally transfer to core programs or majors. 

numeral 5

Check with your new school.

Make an appointment to speak with an enrollment or admissions representative at your new school to ensure you get the credit you qualify for.

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Make it official.

Your new school will need official transcripts from all institutions you’ve previously attended in order to review and award college transfer credit. Be aware that a minimal fee may be associated with these transcript requests.

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Be realistic.

It is possible that not all of your credits will transfer. In fact, students lose an average of 13 credits when transferring schools. This can be frustrating, but it’s more incentive to find a transfer-friendly school where you can get the most credit for the work you’ve done.


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What are transfer credits and how do they work?

Save time and money at UOPX

As part of its commitment to reduce barriers to education, UOPX welcomes transfer students in a variety of ways.

The 3+1 transfer pathway allows students to earn three years of general course requirements at a participating community college and then apply those credits toward a bachelor’s degree at UOPX, which they can complete in just over a year.

The Transfer Scholarship of up to $3,000 is available to new qualifying students pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

UOPX accepts credits from more than 5,000 institutions. 

Curious to learn more? Check out the PhoenixConnect blog and our transfer-credit webpage!

Sources: Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center 


Elizabeth Exline has been telling stories ever since she won a writing contest in third grade. She's covered design and architecture, travel, lifestyle content and a host of other topics for national, regional, local and brand publications. Additionally, she's worked in content development for Marriott International and manuscript development for a variety of authors.


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