California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Transfer Credits: The Process Explained

    College transfer students often wonder, “What happened to all those credits I came in with?”

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics in a 2014 report, students who transfer from another college, on average, lose approximately 13 credits.

    Lorraine Purmort, the associate registrar at California Lutheran University, explains how transfer credits are evaluated and what goes on inside the Registrar’s Office.

    “We look at each course and decide what is considered transferable. If a course was a remedial, we do not transfer those in,” Purmort said. “A good example of a remedial class would be math courses. A math requirement for the core is one class above intermediate algebra. Some people will take elementary algebra or intermediate algebra. They have taken prerequisites but they are not transferable courses.”

    In addition to remedial courses, foreign language classes can be problematic when transferring to Cal Lutheran and aren’t always applied toward the Core 21 requirements.

    “Some of the foreign language courses aren’t accepted. They must have the speaking component, the writing component and the reading component. Our requirement at CLU is the second-semester level. A lot of people take conversational class, which is learning how to speak the language, but it lacks the other two required elements,” Purmort said.

    There are several factors that play into why certain classes transfer and why others do not. Whether a student transferred from a two-year or a four-year college, or whether they attended an in-state or out-of-state school, all factor into the transfer credit process.

    When a student transfers from an out-of-state college, the faculty and staff at Cal Lutheran end up devoting more time researching and evaluating the individual coursework of those out-of-state transfers.

    “Often for out-of-state transfers, we will spend a lot of time evaluating their catalog and looking at what each one of the courses count towards. If we have a question in regards to what is transferred as a major requirement, we will contact the department chair,” Purmort said. “The differences in the title of a transfer course also plays a factor. Again, that’s where the department chair and your adviser get involved.”

    Senior communications major Emily Apcar-Blaszak transferred to Cal Lutheran in 2013 from North Carolina State University, so she said she understands the difficulties that out-of-state transfer students face throughout the enrollment process.

    “I had quite a few problems with transferring my credits. I took many upper division science courses with labs at my previous universities, but they did not apply them when fulfilling my core science requirement, since the classes I took weren’t offered at CLU,” Apcar-Blaszak said.

    Purmort said there are challenges surrounding those specific courses.

    “Some students come in with classes that we just don’t offer, so they end up becoming elective credits. We try to figure out the best way other than just awarding them units, but the decisions around those classes can be challenging. We try to do what’s best for our students, while still protecting the integrity of our majors,” Purmort said.

    Students are encouraged to file a petition if they believe there has been an oversight with transfer courses. There is a three to four-member committee that meets every two weeks throughout the school year for those students who wish to petition a transfer class.

    The registrar also sits in on the meeting and explains catalog interpretation and the members vote on the decision. There is an appeal process if a petition is denied.

    Purmort said obtaining the course syllabus is key for getting the approval for a transfer course.

    “That’s some of the best information you can have when petitioning a course. A substitution form doesn’t have to go through the petition process, but if you want to petition a class to count, say a speaking intensive, and it isn’t obvious to us, that’s where a petition process helps. People successfully petition courses all the time,” Purmort said.

    Senior communications major Kimberly Noji transferred from San Diego State University to Cal Lutheran in spring  2016. Noji is one of the many success stories of the petition process.

    “The difficulty I ran into was I had more to do with the requirements at CLU. There are a lot more requirements here with the arts and religion courses, which I didn’t have at my previous schools and added some extra classes that I wasn’t expecting,” Noji said. “As far as my transfer credits, they were pretty flexible with being able to transfer most of the units I transferred in with. I did have to fill out a petition for a few of them, which was a process, but they did end up getting approved, so it all worked out.”

    “There’s a lot of miscommunication out there. What applies to you as a transfer student doesn’t necessarily apply to the next student. It doesn’t apply for someone who started here as a freshman either. That’s why it’s important to come in here and get a straight answer. Don’t just rely on what somebody else tells you,” Purmort said. “New students and transfer students, always be aware of any core requirement changes, like the changes that happened in religion department. Get to know your adviser. They can help you and they will fight for you,” Purmort said.

    To find out more about Cal Lutheran’s transfer credit policies or articulation agreements with other institutions, students can visit callutheran.edu/students/registrar/transfers.

    “If I could offer one piece of advice to transfer students, it would be to be skeptical and always get a second or third opinion in the registrars’ office,” Apcar-Blaszak said. “Robyn Ballard was an immense help. She truly wanted to see CLU students succeed and wanted to be as helpful as she could. I wish I had met her the first year I came to CLU. I believe my transfer process would have been a lot smoother.”

    Tate Rutland
    Staff Writer