Project Opportunity: Access to Washington's Colleges'

“Coming from a middle-class family of five, I would not have been able to attend a private school had it not been for financial aid. I ultimately choose Whitman because of its rigorous academic reputation. However, without a generous aid package, it wouldn't have been possible to enroll.”

— Sahalie Hashim
Whitman College


Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t know what I want to major in. What should I take at the community college?

The Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) is a good broad based preparation for most majors. Be sure to talk to the admissions office at the baccalaureate college you want to transfer to as early as possible to get guidance in course selection and to make sure the college accepts the degree with all its benefits. They can give you good advice or point you to the right people to talk to.

Is the course work harder at a baccalaureate institution?

Many find that to be true. The volume of work covered in the junior and senior years is much larger. You’ll probably have to spend more time studying.

Do private colleges accept transfer students?

All Independent Colleges of Washington member colleges not only accept transfer students, but welcome them into the community. Transfer students bring a new perspective to the campus, and provide diversity of thought enriching the education of all.

It looks like I’ve lost credits. What happened?

If it looks like you’ve lost credits in the transfer, you can always ask the registrar’s office to explain your transcript to you. There are a couple of common circumstances that may explain the problem.

You’re transferring from a college on the quarter system to a college on the semester system. You took 90 credits at the community college, but the college only gave you 60 credits. They gave you full credit for all your courses. It takes fewer semester credits to complete a degree so you’re still on track with 60 credits.

You took technical courses that won’t transfer to the baccalaureate college.

Check the college’s transfer policy. The grade in the courses that didn’t transfer may not have been high enough to get credit at your transfer college.

You might have taken remedial courses, generally numbered below 100. Those courses prepare you for college level work, but are not themselves college level.

What if the college doesn’t accept the DTA?

Talk to the admissions people at the college you want to transfer to and get guidance from them about what courses to take. They’ll work with you to make sure you transfer well prepared to start into your major if you’re accepted.

What if I want to transfer before I complete my associate’s degree?

Talk to the admissions people at the college you want to transfer to. They will evaluate your transcript course-by-course. They can help you choose the right classes that will transfer into the right categories in general education.

What are the deadlines for admissions?

Each college has its own deadlines for transfer students. Some colleges have a strict deadline for admissions, while others have rolling admissions. Check here to start and then confirm with the admissions office at the college you want to transfer to.

What should I do if I don’t agree with how the college evaluated my transfer transcript?

Talk to the admissions people at the college you want to transfer to. They can explain the decisions to you. You may be able to give them more information that could cause them to change the decision.

What if I got my technical degree and now I want to get my baccalaureate degree?

There are some programs that are created to work well with a technical degree. Visit the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges for more information on the Associate's in Applied Science degree.

Aren’t private colleges too expensive?

You might be surprised when you look at it more closely. Private colleges offer more financial aid, including grants specifically for transfer students, making private colleges even more affordable for many students. You won’t know if that’s true for you unless you apply to the college and complete the FAFSA. You should see what it looks like. In addition, students generally complete their degrees faster at a private college, so you’ll be paying tuition, room and board for less time and in the work force sooner. Nationally, about the same percentage of students graduate from independent colleges in four years as do students in six years at public colleges and universities!

Will I be eligible for scholarships and/or financial aid as a transfer student?

Check with your baccalaureate college. Financial aid is available to transfer students who complete the FAFSA and who qualify for need-based aid. Deadlines for scholarship and FAFSA applications should be noted and adhered to.

How hard is it to get in to a private college?

Each college has its own standards. Some are more difficult than others to get into. What is important is to find the right "fit" for your learning style and preferred community.

How many credits do I need to earn at the college I’m transferring to in order to get a degree from that college?

Start here, but be sure to check with the admissions office.

Now that many of your initial questions have been answered, lets move to our Planning Guidelines


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Funded in part by a grant from
the Ben B. Cheney Foundation
published by Independent Colleges of Washington