PCSing again as a college student can raise the blood pressure. As a military spouse, finding the right time time to complete a degree can be a challenge. One of the best ways to ease that stress is to ensure the best rate of transferability for the credits being earned.
PCSing Again? How to Effectively Transfer School Credits
When you live the military life, you know that the possibility of PCS is always out there. When enrolling in college, try to choose a program that offers a high rate of transferable credits. There are several strategies to ensure the best odds of your hard-earned college credits transferring the way you want.
- Investigate online college options. Today's online college classes are much more efficient and effective than even a few years ago, and many programs allow the entire degree to be earned online. Before enrolling, take time to research potential degree programs and your ability to complete them online before enrolling. Several programs are specifically military-friendly and have more flexibility with both classes and transfer options.
- Check out potential collaborations and course transfers. Visit the the family and spouse education website to sift through options. If possible speak to a military affiliated education counselor to determine what colleges are likely to fulfill your needs. If working with an advisor from your school of choice, bear in mind, this advisor may not fully understand your needs, so the more you know, the smoother the process for you both.
- Watch those elective courses. Of them all, elective courses are the least likely to transfer. Keep in mind, too, that a school with a high number of general education courses required in order for you to earn your degree--fine arts schools are notorious for this--may result in a higher number of credits that won't transfer. Choose your school carefully in order to cut down on the likelihood that you'll have a stack of non-transferrable credits if you PCS in the middle of your college education.
Contact Your New College
Many colleges and universities assume that if you're transferring colleges, it's being done within the same state--or at least a close geographic area. Don't think that sending in your transcripts will be enough. Take the time to contact the admissions department directly. Find course descriptions of your current classes if necessary to help the admissions department decide what will transfer.
Be prepared to self-advocate. While some colleges are much more transfer-friendly than others, many universities are willing to work with students to ensure that credits will transfer. Be sure to let the advisor know that you're a military service member or spouse. Often, those simple words will open doors that might not otherwise be available.
Take the time to get to know your new college's transfer requirements. For example, there may be a requirement to take a handful of campus-specific general education classes before moving on to majors classes. Another university may need a specific GPA or a certain type of composition class. Once familiar with these requirements, there is less likelihood of blindsided by something that will prevent you from carrying on with your degree program as planned.
Obtaining a degree while living the military life presents a unique challenge to both the service member or a spouse. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources that will help make the most of the circumstances and obtain the degree you've always wanted. There may be somebumps in the road, but in the end, you'll discover that it's well worth all the effort you've put in.
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