Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 3
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Pre-approval urged for summer transfer credits

Walla Walla Community College is one institution that Whitman will not accept academic credits from. Credit: Falltrick
Walla Walla Community College is one institution that Whitman will accept academic credits from. Credit: Falltrick

The arrival of summer usually means no classes, no homework, and a break from academic pressure. For some, however, summer is the best time to catch up on credits.  

While some students take classes over the summer to compensate for a lack of credits earned during the semester, others do so in order to focus more exclusively on their senior theses and senior projects by taking a lighter load their senior year.  

“It can be someone in the sciences trying to leave all their time in their junior and senior years open for only science courses, so they take courses for their distribution requirements somewhere else over the summer,” said Assistant Registrar Janet Mallen.  

To transfer credits, students need a Request for Approval of Transfer Credit (RATC). The student’s adviser then checks the course to see whether the credits earned can be transferred or applied toward a particular major.  

“That process is perhaps the most crucial in the entire transferring series of events over the summer,” registrar Ron Urban said, “When the student gets that processed, gets the adviser signature, and we sign off on it, I would say that is a 99.99 percent guarantee that the credit will transfer as advertised.”

The process is not quite that simple, though. Many students fail to check with a faculty member or administrator before registering for summer classes, and find out too late that certain courses do not count toward Whitman credit.  

“Courses such as business administration and accounting we don’t take because we only take liberal-arts appropriate classes,” Urban said.  

Despite the fact that summer classes are often useful for reducing distribution requirements, students’ cumulative GPAs never reflect transfer credits.  

“If someone thinks they can get a couple of As over the summer and it will help their GPA, it won’t transfer in,” Mallen said, “We try to set them straight before they do that.”  

Another problem the registrar encounters is students’ coursework in institutions outside the United States, where information is often more difficult to confirm. In that case, the Study Abroad Office is responsible for verifying if an institution is accredited.  

Urban also advises students to be aware of the difference between the quarter and semester systems. Many Washington state schools, such as the University of Washington, are on the quarter system, meaning that if a Whitman student takes a five-quarter credit class at the University of Washington, the registrar converts these credits by taking 2/3 of the quarter credits, so the student will receive about three transfer credits.  

“I would also watch out for credit limits within the major,” Urban advised. “Only 1/3 of credits can be ‘alien’ within the major.”  

The registrar recommends that students speak with their adviser or the department chair if unsure about transfer credits in their major.  

Restrictions aside, students can receive up to 70 credits from another four-year college and 62 from a two-year college.  

Although students should apply for transfer credit as soon as they can, it is possible to wait until the start of summer classes. Still, the registrar strongly recommends clearing the classes before putting any money down to enroll.  

“Get it pre-approved and there will be no worries,” Mallen said. “All they have to do is get the minimum grade [a C-] for transfer.”  

Students can also take classes at other colleges or universities in cases when credit is not transferred. Many opt to enroll in summer classes simply to further their own academic interests, or to better prepare for graduate school.

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