Transferring Credits to a Community College Guide

Table of Contents: Transferring Credit to a Community College
1. Benefits of Attending for Transfer Credits
2. Classes You Should Take Before You Transfer
3. Downsides of Attending for Transfer Credits
4. FAQ

Why You Should Attend Community College for Transfer Credits

Some students attend community college to improve their chances of getting into a competitive program. Others may want to explore various majors for fun without accruing too much debt. Whatever motivates someone to attend a two-year college, cost savings presents one of the biggest benefits. See the chart below to compare the average tuition and fees at public two-year universities, public four-year universities, and private four-year universities.

The decision to complete transfer credits at a community college comes with many benefits and a few drawbacks. Keep reading to learn more about the downsides and benefits of community college, as well as a few common courses transfer students choose to take.

Benefits of Attending for Transfer Credits

Community colleges offer lower tuition rates.
These institutions generally receive public funds to subsidize costs. Learners avoid large student loan payments after graduation by completing their general education courses at a community college. Students can apply their grant and student loan funds obtained through the FAFSA to their two-year degree.
These institutions offer courses that fit many schedules.
Two-year colleges often host classes at night and during the day. This means students can still work a job or take care of a family while furthering their education. Schools offer online classes for even more flexibility.
Community college students can explore various majors.
Attending community college benefits students with undecided majors. Since most community colleges feature lower tuition rates per credit, students can sample multiple subjects without worrying about wasting money.
Attending community college allows students to build a larger network.
Transfer students make connections with peers and instructors at two separate institutions. This leads to more options for career opportunities and recommendation letter requests.
Community college adds diversity to a resume.
When a student attends more than one institution, future employers see that they gained knowledge from various professors offering unique perspectives.
Transfer students can improve their academic qualifications at a community college.
Learners with a low high school GPA can improve their chances of gaining acceptance to a competitive four-year university by performing well in community college classes.

2020-2021 College Costs
College Type Average Tuition and Fees
Public Two-Year College $3,770
Public Four-Year College $10,560
Private Four-Year College $37,650

Source: College Board Trends in College Pricing 2020

Classes You Should Take Before You Transfer

Regardless of their major, community college students can benefit from completing common general education courses before they transfer. Four-year colleges typically accept an entire associate degree and waive general education requirements as a result. Below, we outline four classes learners should consider taking at a community college.

Downsides of Attending for Transfer Credits

Most schools require at least one mathematics course for all undergraduate students. Students can check with their prospective school to discover what math course transfers best, such as calculus, statistics, or college algebra.

To fulfill a history credit, many community colleges allow learners to choose between world or U.S. history. Some history classes cover different time periods as well.

Colleges commonly let students take a foreign language to fulfill a general education requirement. French and Spanish mark the two most common foreign language offerings at community colleges.

Most English courses focus on grammar, composition, and literature. Students in this course practice essay writing skills as well.

Not every credit may transfer.
Colleges typically place a limit on how many credits students may transfer. Additionally, some courses may only transfer as elective credits and not degree credits. To prevent transfer issues, students should attend a community college with accreditation from the same agency as their transfer-receiving school.
You may miss out on the transfer-receiving university’s freshman scholarships.
Some four-year universities only offer academic merit scholarships to incoming freshmen. Institutions award these funds based on ACT or SAT scores and high school GPAs. Prospective learners should check whether they qualify for these scholarships at a four-year school before enrolling in community college.
Community colleges usually offer fewer on-campus resources.
To keep tuition affordable, these schools usually feature smaller facilities and lack buildings like recreation centers. Community colleges also do not offer dorm halls, so students must live off campus.

Q's about transferring credits


  • Can you transfer from a community college after one semester?

    Typically, colleges do not set requirements on the minimum number of transfer credits. However, an associate degree tends to transfer more successfully than a loose collection of credits.


  • Is transferring from a community college hard?

    In most cases, the transfer-receiving school’s admissions department aims to make the process as seamless as possible for transfer students.


  • Is it easy to get a 4.0 in community college?

    The difficulty level varies depending on the school and professor. With adequate study time and class attendance rates, learners can earn a 4.0 GPA.


  • Does community college look bad on a resume?

    Most employers view degrees from accredited community colleges as credible. Attending community college will not negatively impact your career if you also fill your resume with internships and accolades.


Portrait of Tessa Cooper

Tessa Cooper

Tessa Cooper is a freelance writer and editor who regularly contributes to international and regional publications focused on education and lifestyle topics. She earned a bachelor’s in public relations from Missouri State University and is passionate about helping learners avoid high student loan debt while pursuing their dream major. Tessa loves writing about travel and food topics and is always planning her next meal or vacation.

See more articles by Tessa

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