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Will my credits transfer?

class session outside on the MV ExplorerOne of the biggest gray areas out there for students considering Semester at Sea is the transfer of credits back to their home college or university.  Should you attend Semester at Sea, you will be enrolled as a visiting student at the University of Virginia, and as such you’ll receive an official U.Va. transcript at the conclusion of the voyage.  But will it transfer to your home institution?  If so, how?

I wish the answer was simple, but unfortunately it isn’t.  How credit transfers is completely dependent on how your school receives the credit. This means that on a typical voyage there will be up to 300 different institutions making decisions about how they will interpret the resulting transcripts to fit within their credit policies.

Possible credit transfer scenarios
Some institutions choose to accept the credit at face value. If this is your school’s policy then your voyage GPA will compute into your overall GPA.  Other institutions transfer credit as general electives, and not toward your major.  In other instances, some credits will transfer and some won’t.

Know in advance how your credit will transfer
If there is one thing that you can do to make the process clearer it’s this:  go speak to representatives at your home institution to see how these credits will be received.  At most schools, the best place to start is at the study abroad office. If your school doesn’t have a study abroad office, start with the office of the registrar.

Let us help you
Some schools have a course pre-approval process that you would need to complete prior to sailing, so it’s best to figure that out early and work it in to your voyage preparations. The earlier you find out about a pre-approval process, the better we can work with you to complete it successfully.

Our admissions office has a good bit of information about this topic.  We’re familiar with the policies of schools with which we work frequently. If we’re not familiar with your school, we can likely point you in the right direction. We’re here to help, and it’s our pleasure to do so.

Let our alumni network help you
Over the years, we’ve had students from over 1,500 colleges and universities take part in Semester at Sea. We have 60,000 alumni who remain passionate about what we do. So if you’re struggling to get answers from your home university, there’s  a good chance we’ve already had students from your school onboard, and I’m sure they would be happy to tell you about what their experience was with transferring credits.

Alumni, having gone through this process already, what are some best practices you recommend for transferring credit back to your home university? Tell us in the comments section below and let us know where you went to school.

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