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How Long Are College Credits Good For?

By Savannah Dawson

Prior to coming to Scholarships360 for her first internship in 2022, Savannah utilized her campus publications by joining various fashion publications that are offered at Ohio University. One of those publications is Thread Magazine, where Savannah has had the opportunity to work on articles related to world-wide related fashion news and events, as well as articles closer to home, such as a fashion piece on Athens hometown-hero Joe Burrow. This year, Savannah also had the opportunity to be a content writing intern for Aiken House, as well as a section editor for Southeast Ohio Magazine. In 2023, Savannah served as the Chapter President of her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. These collective experiences, as well as her experience currently working for Ohio University’s Undergraduate Admissions, has led her to Scholarships360 and aided in her passion for helping students better understand the college admissions process and financial aid. In her free time, Savannah enjoys horseback riding, watching Formula One races, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. Savannah will graduate from Ohio University in May 2024 with a degree in Journalism News and Information and a certificate in Italian Studies.

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Posted: December 14th, 2022
How Long Are College Credits Good For?

Are you a college student who is considering taking a break from college? Maybe you attended college earlier in your life and are now asking, “How long are college credits good for?”  You are in luck, because today we are going to be talking about how long college credits last and how that applies to you as a student. Let’s get started!

First, what is a college credit?

A college credit is something you earn every time you take a college course. College credit hours are measured by the amount of applied hours a student spends working on the class they are taking. Most average classes are between 2-5 credit hours. 

How long do college credits last?

In short, college credits do not expire. There is, however, a lot that determines how credits will be counted if you have taken a long break from school. You will have to take into consideration whether you are transferring to a different institution, whether the class you took counted towards your degree in the first place, whether or not you changed your major, and many other things. 

If I transfer colleges, do my credits expire?

If you decide to transfer to another institution after taking a break from school, your credits will usually transfer from one accredited institution to another. However, they may not always transfer over to the same course. For example, if you took a music course at one institution, and decided to transfer to another college that does not offer music classes, your credit may be transferred over as a history course instead (or it might not transfer at all). It depends on what your new and old colleges’ policies are when it comes to  transferring credits. The same goes for transferring in your college credits from high school, if you have any.

Use a college credit transfer tool

Students planning to transfer to different colleges than the one(s) they have credits at can sometimes access online tools that determine the transferability of classes they completed. Simply search “transfer equivalency tool” and the name of the school you want to transfer into. While the results given might not be 100% accurate, it is a starting point for general planning. Make sure that you verify all results with the admission’s office of the college you want to transfer to. 

Also see: Scholarships for adult students

How do I know how many credits I have at each institution?

To find out how many credits you have, you will need to contact your university to get a copy of your transcript. If you have transferred schools and you have already transferred your credits, all of your credits should be on your most recent transcript.

How long do universities keep transcripts for?

Whether you are a sophomore in college or you have not been in college for thirty years, your university most likely still has your transcript on file. Nearly all colleges and universities keep past, present, and future students’ transcripts and other information on file for their records. 

Related: Top scholarships for nontraditional students

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

    • College credits usually don’t expire
    • Not all credits are transferable to other college/universities
    • Use a credit transfer tool to get a preliminary idea of credits that might transfer
    • Always confirm what courses transfer (or not) before enrolling in courses
  • Start your research by getting a copy of your college transcript(s) 
Key Takeaways

Also see: Is college worth it? What to consider

Final thoughts for students

Every person’s college experience is different; some people finish college in two or three years, and others finish in 15 years. It is all up to you as a student to decide how you want your college experience to play out. Ultimately, college, gap years, graduate school, and everything else that can elongate your college process will only give you more opportunities to learn!

Don’t miss: Should I drop out of college? What to consider

Additional resources

If you are looking to learn more about the college credit process, we have you covered at Scholarships360. From learning about how many credits you need for a bachelor’s degree to researching scholarships to utilize along the way– we have everything you could need and more.

If you are considering going back to school after a long break, oftentimes starting at community college can be a flexible and affordable way to do so. From there you can always transfer into a four-year program. Be sure also to fill out the FAFSA to take advantage of federal aid, including the Pell Grant. Good luck with the rest of your college process! 

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