Transferring Credits Between College and University in Canada

I frequently assist Aboriginal clients who have a history of interrupted education at the post-secondary level.

This article from Maclean’s provides valuable insights and resources to help understand the process of getting credit for previous studies.

Consider the following tips:

Tips For students considering transfer programs

• Call the institution you’re thinking of applying to. Don’t base your decision on the information on their website, warns Michael McDonald of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. While British Columbia’s institutions largely guarantee the credit transfer information they post, others do not. Speak to the student transfer specialist. Most have them.

• Make sure you’re speaking the same language. One of the stumbling blocks can be the different terms institutions use, warns Zachary Rose, executive director of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. What do they mean by credit? How many credits per course? They may use terms like “equivalency,” “accessibility,” “transferability” or “mobility” to say the same thing.

• Even if you’re not thinking of switching, keep your course outlines, suggests Emmaline Scharbach of the College Student Alliance. Years later, if you want to get credit for that course from a new institution, having the reading list and course outline will help the new school assess your credit—especially if the course has since changed.

• Ask for prior course credits to be considered for credit, as well as job experience—too many students don’t think of it, notes Judy Tavares, manager of student transfer services for Humber College. “Often students transfer programs and it’s not until they’re sitting in a new class that they realize, ‘Wait—I think I took this before.’ ”

• If you’re starting to feel you’re in the wrong program, don’t wait to contact the counselling department and registrar at your institution to see what your options are, says Humber College vice-president Laurie Rancourt. “You don’t have to stick to your first decision. Your education doesn’t have to be linear.”

• Know that the mark you earned in a course may influence whether another institution accepts it. When you earned the credit may be a factor as well; some institutions don’t like any credit more than three to five years old.


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