Transfer Frequently Asked Questions
Questions and responses to basic questions about planning for transfer, earning your associate's degree, and transfer agreements.
Q: People say they are going to “transfer” to another college. What does that really mean?
A: Transferring means leaving MC and enrolling at another institution as a student. You'll no longer be considered an MC student, but rather a student at the other institution. It doesn't matter if you are transferring in-state or out-of-state, or to another two-year institution or to a four-year one. To transfer, you'll need to submit an application and transcripts to the new institution, and be admitted.
Q: When should I start planning for transfer?
A: You should start thinking about, and planning, for transfer as soon as you begin at MC. The courses you choose in your first semester are just as important as the class you choose in your last semester, and you'll want to make sure you are taking the right courses. You'll also want to begin exploring transfer options, so you have time to learn when to apply, to visit the school, to take the correct classes, and to understand how much it may cost. To start planning, meet with a counselor or advisor, attend a transfer fair or tabling event, visit a school, or do research online.
Q: How long will it take me to transfer?
A: There is no specific time frame for transferring. Traditionally, a full-time student will take 2 years, or four semesters, to earn their Associate's degree and transfer. This assumes they take 15 credits per semester. However, you should take as long as you need - keeping in mind that it's not about length of time but about the grades you earn, the classes you take, what you can pay and when, and what your life allows. Work with a counselor or advisor to set up a transfer plan that works best for you, on your schedule.
Q: Do I need to earn my Associate's degree before transferring?
A: It is highly recommended that you complete your Associate's degree prior to transferring. There are many benefits to having the degree, including (1) access to unique scholarships, (2) the cost savings of taking courses at Montgomery College (vs. a four-year institution's cost), and (3) in some cases, waived general education requirements. Most importantly, earning an Associate's degree means you have a college-level credential - something many employers look for. It's a stepping stone to something bigger, and it's a milestone that could have immediate benefits.
Q: What do I need to transfer?
A: What you need depends on the institution you are applying to. All institutions require you to complete an application and send transcripts from all previous institutions you attended. You'll also want to send any test scores from the AP, CLEP, IB, etc. exams you've taken. Some institutions may require an essay, letter of recommendations, a portfolio (especially if applying for art or music programs), licenses, immunizations records, or background checks. International students may have additional requirements. Grade-wise, you'll most likely need a minimum of a 2.0 GPA and 24 credits to transfer; but that may not be what is needed for admission. Always check with an MC advisor or the four-year institution's representative to confirm the requirements for admission.
Q: What is a transfer agreement and how can it benefit me?
A: Transfer Agreements are our partnerships with four-year institutions. There are many types of agreements, including:
- Articulation agreements show which courses to take at MC to pursue degree programs at four-year institutions
- Enrollment agreements provide unique benefits to MC students such as guaranteed admission, application fee waivers, special scholarships, or money for textbooks.
- Honors agreements guarantee admission for MC honors students to honors programs at four-year institutions.
Explore all these types of agreements to see what benefits you can use and what pathway you can follow.
Questions and responses about applying to a transfer institution.
Q: Is my admission guaranteed with an associate's degree?
A: Sometimes, it may be. MC has many partnership programs that guarantee admission upon successful completion of the Associate's degree. This includes UMBC, UMGC, UMD, York College of Pennsylvania, and others. The agreements we have, however, may not guarantee admission to a particular degree program. Always check with an MC advisor or the four-year institution's representative to confirm the requirements for guaranteed transfer.
Q: Will I get into University of Maryland, College Park (UMD)?
A: Admission to UMD, or any institution, is not guaranteed. Each institution looks for specific requirements - GPA, number of credits, specific course, etc. - and each student must meet those requirements. For UMD, the majority of admitted students apply by the priority deadline, complete an associate's degree, and have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA. Exceptions may occur, but the process is very competitive. Remember, having an associate's degree does not guarantee you admission.
Q: What is Maryland residency?
A: Public institutions in the state require students to apply for in-state residency, which is what affords you in-state tuition. This tuition rate is not automatic. The residency application is usually part of the admissions application. It must be filled out to receive in-state tuition. Legally, the burden of proof is on the applicant - all criteria must be met to obtain residency. Certain exceptions are made for service members and their dependents.
Q: What happens if I thought I'd be admitted to an institution, but I wasn't?
A: Sometimes, students don't get into the institution they want to attend. That's okay, there are always other options out there, such as institutions that admit students on a rolling basis. But, you should plan for this before you only apply to one institution - it's best to apply to a three or four so that you have some flexibility. Also, it's not just about admission; unfortunately, often students want to go to a specific school only to realize that they can't afford it, they don't have the right major, or they can't attend part-time or in the evenings. Work with an MC counselor or advisor to help you find the right institution(s) to apply to.
Q: How do I apply to a program at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG)?
A: To apply to a program at USG, complete the admission application for the institution you want to attend, and check off "Shady Grove" as the location for your coursework. You'll need to submit your transcripts to the institution as well. USG is only a location; you take coursework and earn a degree from one of the nine institutions offering programs at that location.
Q: How do I know when to apply for? Are deadlines important?
A: Make sure to research deadlines for each institution you want to apply to, since each institution is unique. We have a helpful list in the Transfer Times that may help you. Meeting deadlines is important - it may be the difference between being admitted to an institution and being denied. And it's not just admission deadlines - there are scholarship deadlines, financial aid deadlines, housing deadlines, enrollment confirmation deadlines, etc. Each one is unique and important.
Questions and responses about how to choose an institution that will work for you.
Q: Do all institutions offer all programs? What about part-time coursework? Online courses?
A: No institution offers it all, so you'll need to do some homework to see if the institution(s) you're interested in have the opportunities you are looking for. University of Maryland, College Park does not offer many online classes. UMGC doesn't enroll international students. UMBC doesn't have a business program. Always check with an MC advisor or the four-year institution's representative to confirm program, delivery, and course offerings.
Q: Why are some institutions considered MC Partners?
A: MC vets all potential partner institutions to ensure that students can successfully transfer, be eligible for scholarships, find jobs, and be welcomed. MC partner institutions have met these requirements, and MC is happy to recommend these institutions to our students. Just because a school isn't on our list doesn't mean you can't transfer to it - students transfer to more than 400 institutions across the country each year - it just means the school hasn't applied to be a partner or MC has found a reason to be worried about the institution.
Q: What is the Universities at Shady Grove (USG)?
A: The Universities at Shady Grove is a collection of nine state institutions offering more than 70 degree programs for transfer students. Students take 60 credits at MC, then transfer to an institution offering programs at USG. USG is just a location - the courses, professors and your diploma will all be from the institution offering the program. USG also has a library, student services, student groups, a gym, food service, parking, and much more. Representatives from USG are routinely on each of the MC campuses; you can visit with them to learn more.
Q: When I talk to a rep at the transfer school, what should I ask?
A: There are a lot of great questions to ask transfer representatives, including:
- Do you have my major?
- When is the admissions deadline?
- What do I need to apply?
- Are financial aid and scholarships available? How and when do I need to apply for them?
- What's life like on campus?
- Is housing available?
Many representatives will be available at the Transfer Fairs, which you should plan to attend. You'll receive a list of additional questions to ask when you attend.
Q: How can I get more information about a four-year institution?
A: There are a few great ways to learn more about institutions. First, research the institutions online, and call or visit the institutions you are interested in. Second, attend one of the transfer fairs to meet with representatives. Third, review the articulation agreements we have to see if anything pops out at you. And, you can always meet with a counselor or advisor to help you learn more.
Q: How do I know a school is right for me?· What things should I consider when picking between transfer schools?
A: Only you can decide if an institution is right for you. Make sure to research each institution, visit those you are interested in, and apply by the deadlines. Some factors to think about include:
- Location of Institution - do you want to be close to home, or far away? Do you want to be in a big city or suburbia? Do you want to be in a cold or warm environment? How easy will it be to get home for holidays or breaks?
- Size of institution - how many students should the institution enroll? How big do you want your classes?
- Cost - can you afford the institution? How many loans will you need to take to get the degree? What about paying for housing, food, transportation, books, etc?
- Type of Institution - do you want to attend a religiously-affiliated institution? Or a minority-serving institution? What about a public vs. private institution?
- Career Outlook - does the institution offer career services? Internship opportunities? Is the degree program designed for real-world applicability or for research or for graduate school preparation?
- Student Life - does the school have the student life you want? Are you interested in a big sports program? What about Greek life?
- Academic Services - what services does the school offer to help you successfully earn your degree? Is there a writing center, tutoring center, disability support, libraries?
There are a lot more factors; in the end, choose the school that makes you feel welcomed, that will help you reach your goals, that will be cost effective, and will encourage you to be your best.
Questions and responses about obtaining a transfer advisor, why it's important, and other advising-related questions.
Q: Why do I need to meet with a counselor or advisor?
A: A counselor or program advisor can help you with many things; but can specifically help you research institutions, determine a degree plan, choose the right classes, and identify resources for academic assistance. Finding the right counselor or advisor is important - and following their instructions is even more important! Always ask for information in writing, and always ask questions if you aren't sure of an answer.
Q: How do I find out who my counselor/advisor is?
A: You don't have an assigned counselor. Log onto Starfish to set up an appointment with a counselor that fits your needs. Your program advisor is by your major, you can find a list of those contacts here.
Q: What's the job outlook for my major?
A: MC utilizes the Career Coachnew window program, which lets you look at job outlooks for the immediate Montgomery County area. The site will help you narrow down possible major choices, see average and starting salaries, and see how many jobs are currently open in the field.
Q: What is MTAP? R2R? Bee Line?
A: MC has partnership programs with multiple four-year institutions to help you apply early, take classes, and even obtain guaranteed admission. Learn more by visiting our partnership page.
Questions and responses about transferring credit to another institution, including looking up course equivalencies.
Q: How do I know which of my classes will transfer?
A: The best way to learn if your courses will transfer is to meet with a counselor or advisor. They will show you the many tools we have to determine course equivalencies, including our articulation agreements, ARTSYS, UMD's TCE program, and more. These sites are linked on the Course Equivalencies page.
Q: What is ARTSYS?
A: ARTSYS is the online database that tells you how courses transfer between Maryland institutions. All MD community colleges, public institutions and many MD private institutions are in ARTSYS. You can see course equivalencies, which courses to take to transfer, and search for majors in the state. Important note: do NOT follow the red general education links on the RTPs. They do not apply to MC's associate degrees. ARTSYS should be used in consultation with a counselor or advisor.
Q: Will all my courses transfer?
A: By working with an MC advisor, you'll maximize the number of credits that will transfer. A counselor or advisor can help you select the right courses to take to meet general education requirements, program requirements and/or graduation requirements both at MC and at the four-year institution of your choice. It's possible, however, that not all your credits will transfer and or apply to your degree program. Remedial education and internships often don't transfer. Most institutions only accept up to 60 credits from a community college, so anything beyond that won't transfer (if you went to another four-year institution before MC, you may get more credits). Just because a course transfers, that doesn't mean it will apply to your degree, so you may find that you need to take more courses at the four-year institution if you change your major or don't plan accordingly.
Q: General Education courses transfer, right?
A: Yes, general education courses are usually the most transferable. If you are transferring to a Maryland public institution, state regulation requires that courses designated as general education at MC transfer as general education at the receiving institution. However, it does not mean that the courses need to apply to specific requirements, or specific majors. You must earn at least a "D" or better, (a C- or better for English), and you must meet the same grade requirement as students who started at the institution or if a specific grade is required for the major. Transferring general education courses to a private or out-of-state institution is at the discretion of that institution.
Q: Will my credits transfer in state/out of state?
A: Credits may transfer; each institution makes that determination. It's best to talk with a representative from the four-year institution to see what courses they recommend.
Q: How do I transfer my MC credits to another institution?
A: To transfer your credits, you need to submit an official transcript to the institution. You can request a transcript here. When applying to transfer, you'll need to submit official transcripts from all institutions you attended. You'll also want to send any test scores (AP, IB, CLEP, etc.) and/or your Joint Services Transcript to the institution you are applying to.