Institutions should examine their articulation pathways--they must go beyond transfer credit to guide degree completion for all students.

How to elevate the transfer experience

Articulation pathways must go beyond transfer credit to guide degree completion for all students

Establishing best-practice, transformative transfer policies is essential for higher education institutions to successfully recruit transfer students, even more so now as student mobility continues to become more ubiquitous and varied.

Today’s transfer students with credit from community colleges, four-year institutions, and the military are looking for flexibility in a potential target college as they seek the most valuable and efficient pathways toward earning a degree.

Columbia College is a private not-for-profit institution with a main campus in mid-Missouri and more than 35 locations throughout the United States. We serve traditional and adult learners in both in-seat and online modalities. The college is known for being one of the early leaders in developing a robust online learning program, and our presence in several states, as well as our flexibility in course delivery method, has allowed Columbia College to enroll nearly 8,300 transfer students each academic year. This means transfer credit evaluation is big business at Columbia College.

In my nearly two decades spent evaluating transfer credit and elevating the overall transfer experience in higher education, I’ve found that establishing strategic and clear articulation agreements that allow for efficient transfer is paramount for student success. By using technology in combination with streamlined transfer plans and policies, Columbia College is able to attract more transfer students and ultimately guiding them to their degree completion.

Laying the foundation: Best practice transfer plans and policies

With 57 percent of our total active student population consisting of transfer students, it is critical for us to show students and prospects how easily their credits will transfer into a degree pathway at our institution. Modernizing our transfer plans has resulted in identification of the shortest and least expensive path from each student’s associate degree to their bachelor degree, eliminating unnecessary courses or credit hours.

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