Maximizing Your Credit Transfer Options

Anne Kamps, Dean of Learning Solutions for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, gives advice to students who want to transfer from technical college to a four-year college or university.



8 min 8 sec


Interview with Anne Kamps
Dean of Learning Solutions
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (8:08)


Announcer: This is Making Futures; helping individuals discover their passion and fulfill their potential.


Interviewer: Today I'm speaking with Anne Kamps. She's the Dean of Learning Solutions for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and we're going to be talking about credit transfer. Anne, what are the different ways to transfer from a tech college to a four-year college?

Anne: Well, there are a few ways that students can consider transferring, which could be part of a certificate or a smaller credentialing, general education credits, and they can transfer those into another postsecondary provider. There are also agreements that colleges negotiate to put in place like transferring of the Applied Science, AAS, or Applied Arts, AAA degree, in two plus two arrangements. Students will complete their associate degree and they will transfer those into another postsecondary institution with the intent that they only have two remaining years to complete their degree. All the credits they've taken transfer. There's a third that certain technical college partners in Wisconsin have, in the pre-professional associate of arts, the AA and AS degree, and those are really designed to meet the needs of students who are planning to transfer to a four-year college or university in a specific professional field. And all of these designs of credit transfer are pathways for students to continue their lifelong education.

Interviewer: How important is it to know your educational pathway, or to plan ahead when you're going to transfer?

Anne: It certainly isn't required, however it is extremely helpful. The clearer your direction the greater opportunity, as a student, you'll have to evaluate, and anticipate how the credits you're taking currently will be utilized as you continue your education pathway. So the goal really of the transfer is to help students to be able to make clear choices, so that they don't underutilize the credits, or certainly waste the credits that they're taking. We'd like every credit that they take to be valuable in their lifelong learning. So again, it's not required that you know where you're going, but it is helpful to have some direction in either a discipline area; so you're thinking you want to be in health or you're thinking you want to be in 
business. And the more finite you can get that; if you're thinking you want to be a nurse, or you're thinking you want to be, have a degree in business management, it will get easier to make course choices with the, ah, the clearer you're direction, but certainly many students don't have that direction and are working on their plan as they go and so that's why transfer becomes a piece of work that the colleges embrace, so that we can help students no matter how they've made their choices.

Interviewer: Yes, thank you for giving those examples. How have transfer programs expanded in recent years?

Anne: Well, you know, transfer has been around - we've always transferred credits, people have continually moved on - but in the, certainly the last number of years or my years working with transfer, as universities, colleges, whether that's public, private, for-profit - all realize that learning is an essential component to a person's career. And so, that being said, we've all made a concerted effort to focus on transfer, not just transfer and how it works but how we can make it most efficient and effective for the students.

Interviewer: So students can transfer to other campuses besides the University of Wisconsin?

Anne: Correct. So, in the Technical College System, we have 16 technical colleges and then the University System has two-year and four-year colleges, and we work very closely, all of us collectively as systems and many of us individually as colleges in the same town to develop transfer agreements, but certainly there are a great number of very valuable private and for-profit schools that we also develop agreements with. Again, trying to make sure that students get their career goals; get the learning, the education and the opportunities they need and not having to retake courses if they've learned the competencies and the course content.

Interviewer: So who should students speak with at their college about transferring?

Anne: Well, it's always a great idea - if you're certainly at the Technical College System, most colleges have academic advisors or counselors that can speak in general of transfer. Many of them know some of the components that need to be considered around areas of general education transfer and course content transfer. But the best piece of advice is, once you've decided you want to transfer, make sure that you either explore that college you're wishing to transfer to on the web, and then make a call to their admissions area because each of them have their own unique policies for transfer, timing for transfer, things that you need to sort of get in place before you actually will be accepted into the next colleges. So it's always a great idea to take a look at talking with somebody at the college you're wishing to transfer to. In addition, many of those colleges..many colleges these days have websites that have FAQs specifically for transfer students, so really good idea to look at that, but as a first step the academic advisors and counselors at the technical college are able to at least assist with the conversation to get some knowledge for the transfer student.

Interviewer: Are there any other resources you would suggest?

Anne: Well there's a few. The Transfer Information System, which is a joint project with UW System and the Technical College System, is a great place to start. It allows students to take a look at a variety of things. Not just how your courses individually will transfer, but also how program articulation agreements that exist - so they put those publicly on the Transfer Information System. It's a web-based system; all you need is a browser and you can connect to it. That is a great resource. Again, in addition, most colleges have web pages that have specific landing pages for those students that are wanting or wishing to transfer that identify timelines or any specific testing requirements that might be required, so that's another really great place to look.

Interviewer: Anne, do you have any other advice that you'd like to give to students who plan to transfer?

Anne: Well, certainly the advice I would give is think about your career, think about your career cluster. Think about what’s the large area you'd like to work in. You don't have to be extremely specific when you start. You know, think about sort of where you're wanting to work, what types of work you want to do, and then try to find colleges that that is what their focus is. Planning ahead is always a helpful bit of advice. And working with that college, once you've made your selection, the one you wish to transfer to, working closely with them; at minimal on a phone call and certainly a visit is always helpful to see how they can help with transfer and make it as seamless as we, as they can.

Interviewer: Thanks so much. I've been speaking today with Anne Kamps, the Dean of Learning Solutions at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Thank you Anne.

Anne: Thank you.

Announcer: Making Futures is a presentation of Wisconsin's 16 Technical Colleges. Thanks for listening.