Transferring to CSU? Some credits may not tag along

Delaney Allen

Students may feel more pressured into taking AP, IB or concurrent enrollment courses in high school now more than ever, but that credit may not even count toward college graduation in the end.

Even transfers from as close as Colorado State University-Pueblo may not receive direct equivalent credit at CSU in Fort Collins.

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“CSU-Pueblo and CSU-Fort Collins are different institutions operating under the same system, so they have different courses and requirements,” said D. Tobiassen Baitinger, the senior associate director for the Office of the Registrar at CSU.

There are multiple reasons why credits may not transfer over.

For one, credits must be from a regionally accredited university, and they cannot be vocational or technical course credits.

There is a difference between credits not transferring and credits not applying to a student’s current program.

Credits that are not required toward that student’s major will be accepted, but they may not count toward graduation progress. For example, an art major who took 32 credits at CSU-Pueblo and attends CSU in Fort Collins to switch to business would have their credits transfer over, but many of them would not count toward their new business path.

“If you’re not taking credits in the field of study that you plan on enrolling into, you’re going to have to take more.” -Katie Risheill, associate registrar, CSU Academic Services

“We have done a lot of work to try to make sure that students are awarded credit where credit is earned,” said Katie Risheill, the associate registrar for Academic Services at CSU. “If we have a subject that is similar to another, the student should be able to get elective credit.”

There are some exceptions to the vocational credit policy. For example, if a student has taken a class similar to the one taught in a mechanical engineering course, that student may get credit for their vocational course. This is up to the discretion of the college or the registrar’s office.

Taking AP/IB and concurrent enrollment courses in high school can be a good way to knock out both high school and college credits with the same course, but this is only useful if the student has taken courses that apply to the major they already know they want to go into.

“If you’re not taking credits in the field of study that you plan on enrolling into, you’re going to have to take more,” Risheill said. “If you’re not planning for the program you want to graduate in, a lot of those credits may come in as electives and may not be needed for your program.”

In a case where a student believes they should receive credit for a course they took in the past, they can request an evaluation and ask for a review. Oftentimes, the registrar requests the syllabus from the transfer course and determines if the material reviewed is similar enough to count as a direct equivalent rather than an elective.

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To request an evaluation or reevaluation of past courses, students can visit the Office of the Registrar in person.

If it is catching a student off-guard that your credits aren’t transferring the way they would expect them to, we encourage them to self-advocate and explore other options.” -D. Tobiassen Baitinger, senior associate director, CSU Office of the Registrar

Additionally, courses in which students have earned a poor grade may not count for credit at all. Most frequently, this can be below a C, but some major paths don’t allow credit from courses in which the student earns below a B. This varies through majors and colleges, so students should check with their advisers if they are not aware of the grade they need to get to receive credit.

There are many resources available to transfer or prospective students to evaluate whether credits can count toward their graduation.

The Degree Progress Audit, which is available online, is especially useful for transfer students. With this tool, students can track their credits outside of advising and see if they are eligible to get direct equivalent credit.

For prospective students, Transferology allows students to input coursework they took at another institution and see how their courses can transfer over and complete a degree audit before they are admitted, assuming the courses were passed.

“We would love for any students who have questions to talk to their adviser or academic support coordinator or come talk to their degree analyst in the Office of the Registrar,” Baitinger said. “If it is catching a student off-guard that your credits aren’t transferring the way they would expect them to, we encourage them to self-advocate and explore other options.”

Anyone with any questions about transfer credits can contact the Office of the Registrar, located in Centennial Hall, at 970-491-4860, or the online general catalog can be viewed. 

Delaney Allen can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @DelaneyAllen0.