Approximately 250 students transfer to Keene State College for the fall semester. According to Academic Advisor Jennifer Drake-Deese, KSC makes the transfer process as easy as possible. But some students are concerned that they are not receiving as much credit as they deserve.
Nick Leischner said he transferred to KSC in 2014 after joining the Army and taking a few classes at Manchester Community College. Leischner said “it was a pain” to transfer because he was unsure of what year he was in. “I didn’t know what grade I was in and neither did the school,” he said. Leischner said he is still unsure what grade he is in to this day because of the credit system.
“The challenge is we’re a four credit model and many institutes are three credits,” Drake-Deese said. “It does happen that every now and again, students feel like we shorted them credits but they never actually had them,” she said.
Drake-Deese said she works with students to plan their education, but specifically with transfer students to “make their transition as easy as possible.” She said she evaluates the credits that students transfer in with. “We evaluate the classes they took and try to make them benefit the student that’s transferring in as much as we possibly can,” she said.
Leischner said one of his concerns was having to retake classes he had already taken at community college. “KSC should make it so I don’t have to retake classes I’ve already taken because that defeats the purpose of going to community college,” he said.
A common mistake Drake-Deese said she sees students making is [students] thinking they have to take an extra four-credit class to make up for the one credit they are shy of after transferring. “Eight of [a student’s] ten classes could be for three credits. So if [a student] had 36 credits and needed 40, but they had every area hit and had three different disciplines like they’re supposed to, they’re fine,” she said.
In simpler terms, a transfer student often has fulfilled their IN and IS classes at a previous school, but only received three credits per class. The misconception is that they must take another four-credit class to fulfill the deficit, but often they do not.
Another common mistake that Drake-Deese said she has seen as an Academic Advisor is transfer students neglecting to request their final official transcripts. For example, if a student completed their fall semester at a different college and decided to transfer to KSC in February, they often only send their transcript for the fall courses they took. “Often times when students think they’re missing credits, we can go online and say ‘You never sent your last final official transcript,’” Drake-Deese said.
Drake-Deese said the credit system is major dependent, and that some majors are more flexible than others. Many schools have articulation agreements that guarantee admission for a transfer student if they hold a certain GPA and take the required classes. According to Drake-Deese, those agreements can be found at all of the seven community colleges in New Hampshire. “Either way, if a student is coming from another community college or a four year college, we try to make those credits count as much as we can towards their degree process,” she said.
Kelsi Miller was a student at KSC, but transferred after the fall 2015 semester because of the tuition increase. She said she didn’t have many problems leaving, but wished she had more instruction. “I wasn’t sure exactly what I was supposed to do or who I was supposed to talk to. It was hard to be certain if I had done everything I needed to do,” Miller said.
Drake-Deese said she encourages all students to talk to academic and advising counselors if they are concerned about their courses, credits or schedules. “If students don’t ask questions, we don’t know they have them,” she said.
Transfer classes are evaluated to equate their credits to those of KSC’s. Drake-Deese said all classes will transfer, they just might be considered electives instead of core requirements. “If there is a class that is even close to a class at KSC, we try to be creative as possible. We absolutely make sure we are squeezing everything out of a class so a student can receive some type of credit,” she said.
Drake-Deese said the academic advising center does everything it can to make a transfer as smooth as possible. She said she has even seen credits accepted from the 1960s. “That’s the good thing about a college education – you always have it,” she said.
MacKenzie Clarke can be contacted at email@example.com