Studying abroad? Count your credits before you land

 

Many students decide to study abroad for either the sake of their major requirements or to have an interesting and enriching personal experience.

While the majority of study abroad experiences are positive overall, some students have run into issues with transferring credits back to Keene State College.

In one such case, KSC senior and chemistry major Margaret Maloy ran into the problem of not earning as many credits from studying abroad as she initially thought.

“When studying abroad. I was able to take a course for [my] major and an upper level ISP, and a couple of other courses, but those courses were three credits per course. So transferring over back to Keene, yes they fulfilled the requirement, but they left me lacking in the numerical value of credits I would have had,” said Maloy.

Maloy said that in the aftermath of studying abroad, her class transferred one less credit because her university had three credit courses, rather than four.

Now, she says that she is making up those credits in extra classes she feels she doesn’t believe she has to take.

She later went to the registrar’s office a few times after that experience and found that there was really nothing she could do. Maloy is not the only student who has experienced this issue.

KSC senior and exercise science and Holocaust and Genocide Studies major Marisa Benson said that she had some troubles, but that it was mostly her fault.

Benson said she took most of the courses for fun until she found out that they could be taken for her major.

“I had to jump through some hoops coming back. Most other schools run on a three credit course system, so I am having to fill those ‘lost credits’ to fulfill requirements,” said Benson.

Benson also stated that she wasn’t aware that her GPA was solely based on her grades at KSC and said that her grades at her international college increased her GPA; however, it would not show on her transcript.

Registrar Tom Richard said that students having credit related issues doesn’t necessarily surprise him. Richard said he felt that this issue was a misunderstanding and communication issue than anything else.

He also said that the credit systems in other countries are different than they are in the United States. A four credit class that is an hour and a half long can be worth four credits in one country, but three credits in another country.

“The countries of the world are not structured the same that ours is, in terms of our kindergarten and elementary school, middle school, high school, [and] college.

Graphic by Samantha Moore / Art Director

Graphic by Samantha Moore / Art Director

They do it differently. So it’s a bit of a challenge to try and straighten these things out,” said Richard. He says that the Global Education Office (GEO) should be going over this with students.

Director of the GEO Skye Stephenson says they haven’t run into this issue with any other students before.

“We work to be really clear on both the pricing for in and out of state students for tuition and fees. We also work really hard with students to make sure that they’re going to get the academic credit that they need, and we want to make sure that we keep them on track,” said Stephenson.

She also says that for courses that are in European countries, they can be worth three credits instead of four. Stephenson says that when a student applies online, they interview students and check in to see what they want for credits and how they plan to use the class.

KSC senior Margaret Maloy recommended going to the Elliot Center to go over what is needed in order to graduate.

She continued to say that it’s important to know how each major’s requirements will be fulfilled, in case there is an issue.

Despite having a setback with transferring her credits, Maloy says she doesn’t regret studying abroad, but she wish she knew how the credit system worked beforehand.

Maloy said, “At the end of the day, I would never trade my [study] abroad experience for anything. I would have still studied abroad and I guess I’m paying a little for it now, but the experiences and things I learned abroad aren’t worth trading for anything.”

Katherine Glosser can be contacted at kglosser@kscequinox.com

*Corrected 9/19/16. Paragraph 16 – 18: corrected “Stevenson” to “Stephenson”*

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