A lot of international students come to college having taken intensive classes under rigorous educational curricula like IB (International Baccalaureate), AP(advanced placement) and A levels. Did you know that such intensive high school classes in math, science and language could take the place of college courses? These transferred credits would save you a great deal of time, reducing the number of introductory courses and compulsory general education requirements you have to complete while at college, taking you a step ahead in being on track to graduate within 4 years.
Coming in as an IB Diploma high school graduate, I was able to transfer 30 credits from high school to count as college credit, and as a result forego an entire year’s worth of college courses; I took IB higher level math, biology, chemistry and english courses which counted for college introductory calculus, biological science liberal education requirements, general chemistry and freshman writing requirements. I chose to utilize the time I had gained by taking up a double major and minor, which I would not have been able to do if I had not been able to transfer credits and save time on all those introductory courses. But other students utilize this time in different ways; they may graduate a year or a semester early to save on tuition money, study abroad or take courses outside of their major for fun/to explore areas they wouldn’t have had time to explore without the transfer credits; for example a chemical engineering major could take a course in photography, or tennis, or sustainability, out of pure interest.
IB, AP and A levels are not the only high school systems from which you can transfer credit; If you are coming in to the U from another system, still do check with the admissions office if you can transfer credits. How many credits you can transfer will depend on the intensity and rigor of your high school curriculum; generally most students are able to transfer some amount of credit from high school.
Start working early to ensure you transfer as many credits as possible to your college transcript; you should have it settled by the time you have met with your academic advisor during orientation week. Remember; your ultimate goal, especially if you are an international student, is to graduate within the typical allotted time of 4 years for undergraduate study. And transfer credits are a great step in working towards this goal and making the most out of your time in college!
Here is the link to UMN’s transfer credits page for more information: http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/admissioninfo/trans_evaluation.html#nontrad