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Articles / Admissions / Can Community College Student Transfer After One Year?

May 20, 2020

Can Community College Student Transfer After One Year?

Question: My son is about to go to a junior college in San Francisco. He will do this because he has no idea what he wants to major in. If he spends one year at the junior college, can he transfer his credits to another college or will he lose them all if he doesn't finish two years?

Your son CAN transfer credits from a two-year college to a four-year college, even if he only completes one year (or, for that matter, just one SEMESTER).


Note, however, that--depending on which four-year school he attends and the major he chooses--some of his credits may not transfer. Those that almost always DO transfer are in "core" subjects such as English, history, math, science, and so on.

Credits that might NOT transfer could be in areas that the four-year college doesn't offer and may consider vocational (auto mechanics, travel management, cooking, etc.) but it really depends on the four-year school. Those institutions that have programs in such areas may accept the credits, even if your son will major in an unrelated field.

Other credits that probably won't transfer are in remedial classes. For instance, if your son had to take a basic math course (comparable to a high school class), a reading course, an English-as-a-second-language course, etc. then it's possible that those credits from the two-year school will excluded by the four-year school.

Also, if he's interested in University of California schools, he may have to wait until he is a junior to transfer in. (But that doesn't necessarily mean that he has to spend two full years at his JC. He could attend a different four-year school in the meantime.)

Bottom line: It's likely that all or most of your son's credits WILL transfer to a four-year college, even if he doesn't graduate from the two-year college, but you do need to check this out on a school-by-school basis because you are likely to find inconsistencies.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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