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Registrar’s Office and Director of Academic Advising comment on transfer credits

Harrison Clifford

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At Pacific University, a student needs at least 124 credits in order to graduate. However, reaching that mark can be difficult. With all the core and major requirements, students and transfer students who come to Pacific after having started their college careers elsewhere, find it tough to meet the requirements in four years. A question that plagues several transfer students is “how many credits will transfer
over?”
According to Gretchen Potter, the director of academic advising, there is a large misunderstanding about credits and how they work at Pacific. Many transfer students and students with Advanced Placement (AP) credits from high school, feel their hard-earned credits from other institutions are being “stolen” away when they do not fully transfer over. However, when a person’s total credit count from another institution does not fully transfer over to Pacific as they had hoped, it is mostly due to the fact that the institution they are transferring from is on a different calendar system.
“It’s important that people understand it is about the calendar system,” Potter said. “They are not losing credits, it’s all proportional.”
Unlike public schools in Oregon and Washington, which operate on quarter systems, Pacific operates on a semester system.
When a student decides to transfer from a quarter school to a semester school, Pacific’s Registrar’s Office must convert the credits earned at the quarter school to the equivalent credit total at Pacific.
“A quarter system school has three 10-week terms and we have two 15-term weeks,” JoLynn Graham, assistant registrar said. “You are getting the same amount of credits, but we have to translate them into what they would be if it was a 15-week term versus a 10-week term.”
According to Brenna Cooper, the credentials evaluator, the multiplier that is used in the Registrar’s Office to convert credits earned at a quarter school to a semester school is .67.
“If you take a five-credit class at a quarter school, those credits would need to be converted to a semester school,” Cooper said. “So that ends up being 3.35 credits at the semester school.”
According to Graham, it is also common for people to misunderstand the difference between course and credit requirements.
“Sometimes requirements are credits and sometimes requirements are a course,” Cooper said. “We are looking at that course to see if you achieved equivalency, not only to see if you got four credits in that course.”
In the Registrar’s Office only credits from regionally accredited universities are accepted and there are times when a university, or a course from another institution, must be evaluated to determine whether or not credits will transfer.
In the cases where a course must be evaluated, the Registrar’s Office will work with whatever department on campus the course relates to, in order to determine if it fits with Pacific’s curriculum.
“There are some courses we would not accept, like stress management or time management,” Graham said. “Would someone coming to Pacific as a freshman have those same class opportunities? Would it be fair to award credits?”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Pacific will accept AP credits from high schools only if a person takes the AP test and score a four or five on the test.
The process of evaluating credits begins in the Registrar’s Office with a full official transcript from the institution a person is transferring from and the process takes off
from there.
“If you are transferring, the smoothest way to go with the least amount of hitches would be to complete your Associate of Art Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree or Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) degree,” Graham
said.
According to Potter, the best thing a transfer student can do to avoid losing time and to try to ensure credits transfer over smoothly is to speak with the Advising Office early and often in order to plan things out.
“The more they can plan their major out ahead of the game, the better,” Potter said. “Students can meet with us in the Advising Office and we can help them.”

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Registrar’s Office and Director of Academic Advising comment on transfer credits