Transferring College Credits

by Brandt Smith

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The other day a friend looking to go back to school approached me. Joe had gone to college for two years before dropping out to serve our country. Almost a decade later, he reached a point in his life where he knew it was time to go back to college.

Joe's challenge was that the local college wouldn't take any of his credits. Only 15 of his 63 credits would transfer. Since he was working full time and had a family, this made going back to college almost impossible.

How many of you never finished college?

Maybe you had to drop out because of family requirements. Perhaps you ran out of money. Maybe you just weren't mature enough and your grades suffered. Whatever the reason you now have some college credits that you'd like to convert into a degree.

There is no doubt that having your degree will help you financially. When you consider your earnings over a lifetime, the statistics clearly show the advantage. Having a bachelors degree will earn you on average of $842,000 more than just having some college credit.

Transferring your existing credits can be a challenge. I know from personal experience that many colleges are extremely selective in the credits they allow. I had one friend who wanted to transfer his senior year to a more exclusive school. He would have lost two years of credit. I've had other friends who wanted to go back to school and finish their degrees. Time and time again they found that they lost at least a semester.

There are several things you can do

Be flexible in your major - Sometimes just changing your major can have a big effect. I found that going after an engineering major meant I would have almost had to start from scratch. The engineering schools were not flexible. I shifted to an engineering technology major and found a program that would accept all of my credits. I did still need to earn about two years of technology related credits but it put me a couple years ahead of the engineering degree.

Check out other schools - One thing we have found was that each school was different. Some are extremely rigid. Most are a little flexible. A few will allow any credit from any accredited source. The key is to find the right program. You want a fully accredited school that is extremely flexible.

There are some very affordable college options out there

Most people just aren't aware of them. Some (like starting at a community college) are relatively well known. Others are so poorly advertised that they get ignored.

There is also a tendency to discount anything that isn't traditional. This is partly because there are so many scams out there trying to take your hard earned money. We quickly become suspicious of anything that is outside our experience.

How does Joe's story end?

We looked closely at Joe's experience and what credit he had previously received. While the local school was picky, several other schools were more accepting of outside credits. We quickly narrowed this down to one school due to quality of education, price, and flexibility.

His military service helped because we were able to get Joe legitimate college credit for his training. Looking at what Joe wanted to accomplish with his degree and his existing credits, we then set him up with a roadmap to get his degree as quickly as possible.

In the end, Joe was able to earn his bachelors of science degree in liberal arts. It took him a little over a year and cost him just a little under $5,000 (books, tuition, fees).

Brandt Smith is the co-founder of Education 2.0, and has over a decade of experience in helping people find flexible ways to earn their college degree. He created Education 2-0 to show people exactly how to get the degree they want in less time, with less stress, and for a whole lot less money. Go to for more information. While you are there, check out their free report Seven Facts You Must Know Before Going Back to College.

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