Every year, USF welcomes nearly 500 new transfer students. Though some have said that their overall experience has been good, there have been struggles, too — particularly with transferring academic credits.
Problems have included students having to send multiple transcripts, credits not being applied toward USF’s core requirements and general complexity when it comes to applying credits toward graduation.
“I have found that this process puts a lot of pressure on you, without much guidance,” junior Raquel Braun said. “I found it very stressful, having to go in and out of the Admissions Office. I had to fill out some online forms multiple times without getting any results. I had to pester people to get things done, which was overly stressful.”
Braun transferred from Boston College after taking a year off to work. She applied late and chose to attend USF in July 2018, about a month before classes started. Once she arrived, she had very little time to navigate USF’s procedures and policies around transferring credits.
Two and a half months into the academic year, Braun is still working out the details of her transfer credits. She sent in transcripts from her previous university to USF, which never arrived, and certain items have been processed but haven’t shown up on her degree audit. Based on what has been accepted, every class that Braun wanted to transfer was successfully applied, but she is still trying to figure out which classes she needs to take.
To help accommodate the challenge of credit transfer for students like Braun, the Admissions Office recently added a new feature to the USF website. Now students, both transfer and non-transfer, can use the new transfer credit link, which will notify admissions counselors when new transcripts are sent in. Students must fill out this form so the admissions office can review them, said Milford Miles, assistant director of undergraduate admissions.
Miles explained that this link addresses the problem of transcripts not being up-to-date. As it is, when a student applies as a transfer student, they have to send in their transcript before the application is complete. When they are accepted, they will know exactly which credits transferred.
However, with the old process, admissions officers were not notified when students sent transcripts, so students had to personally update them. According to Miles, students often had last-minute changes to their transcripts, but because the admissions office receives thousands of applications for spring and fall, it could be a slow process.
The issue of credit transfers can also be complex. Sophomore Kierra Miles transferred from College of San Mateo and said she experienced difficulty having her transfer credits count toward her core requirements. “I had to go to my CASA adviser to get his help of having one of my old classes be applied towards the science requirement,” she said. Miles also had to send in her transcripts multiple times before they were viewed by USF admissions.
“Most credits can transfer, but students must complete their rhetoric and service learning requirement at USF. As an admission counselor, I can only award credit for core classes. Students must go to their major faculty or adviser to get approval for major classes,” Miles said.
To be competitive for admission, USF recommends that applicants have 24 semester credits complete, and while there is no limit to the number of credits that can be transferred, all students must complete the minimum residency requirement of 44 semester units at USF.
Once admitted to USF, applicants can view their online degree evaluation on MyUSF’s “student self-service” tab, which details which credits have transferred and which requirements they fulfill. If classes were taken on a quarter system, they will be converted to semester credits. To fulfill a core requirement, a class must be three or four credits, however, two core requirements must be completed at USF.
Transfer credits can also be influenced by the institution from which the student came.
“My college had an articulation agreement with USF, so I was able to transfer a lot of my classes that I had taken there to receive undergrad credit,” junior Kyla Jose, who transferred from Hillsborough Community College in Fla. said, referring to a policy where two universities agree to accept each other’s credits. “I met with my counselor at [the College of San Mateo] every few months to make sure I was on track to transfer and stay up to date with any changes in the process.”
Jose found that USF accepted most classes tailored towards her major and many of the core classes, too. Jose was able to finish all of her lower-division courses and chemistry and physics sequences, which has allowed her to just focus on upper-division biology classes here.
The hope with the new transfer credit link is to reduce the difficulty of transferring credits to USF. Students wanting to receive credit for courses taken will now have a more direct line to the Admissions Office, so more students may have experiences like Jose.