With the cost of a college education continually rising, many students choose to enroll at community colleges (also called junior colleges) for two years either to earn an associate degree or to take courses that fulfill general academic requirements. Once completed, these courses often qualify as transfer credits at four-year universities so that a transfer student may begin taking major courses upon enrollment at the four-year school.

General Rules

The better question to ask is “which courses are accepted for transfer credit at most colleges?” As a general rule, courses taken at community colleges that are accepted by four-year institutions are those that are not remedial in nature, not taken toward the fulfillment of a terminal technical certificate or degree and for which the student receives a high letter grade (at least a C or better). Enrolling in a nationally accredited community college as opposed to one with only regional accreditation will improve your chances of your courses being accepted for transfer credit.

English Course Credits

English is one of the two subjects that many community college students are often disappointed to find that the four-year college of their choice requires them to retake. Many colleges will not accept transfer credits for English courses that only prepare students for college writing; colleges generally only accept college-level English composition courses for credit. English as a second language courses or basic writing courses often will not transfer.

Math Course Credits

Math is another subject which causes frustration for transfer students. Most colleges will only accept math courses for transfer credit that consist of college-level algebra or higher. Elementary or intermediate algebra courses are often not accepted for transfer credit.

Plan Ahead

To make sure that your community college course credits transfer to the four-year college of your choice, find out what courses that four-year college accepts for transfer credit. Contact an admissions counselor at the college of your choice as well as a junior college and find out exactly what is required and what junior college courses fulfill the four-year requirements. Take those courses, study hard enough to make at least a C, an you'll avoid unpleasant surprises.