For students who start at Carleton as transfer students

Prematriculation Credits (AP or IB and PSEO/CIS Credits)

New students often bring along college-level credits to be applied to their college record, such as Advanced Placement exam credit or Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) credit. These are credits you earned before becoming a degree-seeking college student. Here we’ll break down how those credits are sent to Carleton and how they work for you. The most up-to-date policies about prematriculation work at Carleton can be found in our Academic Catalog

Typically, any credits you earned prior to matriculating at your first institution (called prematriculation work) are used only as general credit, bringing you closer to the 210 credits required to graduate. None of these credits can be used toward Carleton’s Liberal Arts requirements, but occasionally they can be used toward a major or minor. 

You’ll need to reach out to CollegeBoard or ISBO and ask them to send your scores to us. We can only accept scores sent to us directly from the testing board, and you’re the only one who can request that your records be sent to us, so make sure to do this step at the same time you’re sending your transcripts.

There is detailed information in the College’s Academic Catalog that lays out the scores needed for each exam — the minimum threshold can vary by exam — as well as whether we grant credits for the exam and how such an exam may count toward a major or minor requirement. There is nothing you need to do (other than make sure you’ve sent us your scores) to get the credits to work for you in the way they’re outlined in the Catalog. We will do that for you as part of our process to award you the credits. 

It’s important to note that you can only transfer a maximum of 102 credits to Carleton, and this includes prematriculation credits. Prematriculation credits do not impact your class standing at Carleton — only the credits you earned as a degree-seeking student will be factored into your class standing.

Transfer Credits (Courses taken once you are a degree-seeking student)

Your offer of admission will include a letter from the Registrar’s Office indicating how you can expect your courses to transfer to Carleton. The letter will have two sections: the top section will show credits you have already earned, and the bottom section will show pending credits not yet earned. These pending credits may be for courses you’re still taking or for which earning credits requires a placement test, for example. Each course will show the credit value assigned to it and which Liberal Arts requirement(s) the course fulfills, if any. You’ll also see your class standing based on those credits for each section. 

How do you decide how many credits my courses will earn?

A standard course is valued at 6 Carleton credits and is the equivalent of 3.334 semester hours or 5 quarter hours. This means that 3 semester credit courses transfer to Carleton as 5 Carleton credits, and a 4 semester credit course will transfer to Carleton at 6 credits. 

How do you decide which of my courses you’ll accept?

Transfer credit articulation is a long and manual process, and we do this work very carefully. We visit your college or university’s academic catalog, and review the course descriptions for the courses you’ve taken. Briefly, courses should be pertinent to the Liberal Arts, not be at the remedial level, and not be a repeat of a course you’ve already passed via prematriculation work or work at another institution. We do not accept math courses below the level of Calculus, and we do not transfer internship or independent study courses. Finally, the courses should fit in roughly with what we offer at Carleton. This means that we would take, for example, Human Geography, but would not take a course in Business.

How do you decide which Liberal Arts requirements my course fulfills?

We use the information in your institution’s academic catalog to determine whether your course should be considered for completion of any of these requirements. We compare your courses with the courses we have in our catalog and with our definitions of our Liberal Arts requirements and do our best to count the courses where they best fit. We are careful to evaluate your courses as they are, not as they would most quickly complete your Carleton requirements. We do not have a policy stating, for example, that students who earn an AA will automatically complete our Liberal Arts requirements — your courses will still be evaluated one-by-one.

How do you decide which course equivalencies I will have?

We set your transfer courses as equivalent to Carleton courses very rarely. This means that most of your courses will come to Carleton without direct course equivalents. 

After you have accepted your offer of admission, if you want a course to count as a prerequisite for another class, you should email the instructor of the class you’re hoping to take and describe the course you took elsewhere to ask if they would consider you able to take their class. If the instructor agrees, they should email the Registrar’s Office to ask that you be given a prerequisite waiver to be able to register for their course. Please note that having a prerequisite waived is for one class in one term only, so you should not consider that single waiver as blanket future permission to register for additional courses. You should do this ahead of your registration priority time for the term, but should not ask until after you have accepted your offer.

If you want a course to be considered equivalent to a course at Carleton (for example, if you took CLASS 101 at your local community college, and you’d like take a lot of courses that might require CLASS 101 as a prerequisite, or to count toward your major or minor) you should reach out to the chair of the department. Which chair you reach out to might depend on what you’re hoping for, but, as a general guideline you should reach out to the chair of the department where the course should be equivalent. If you are asking in order to be able to register for a class in fall, please reach out to the chair after you have accepted your offer. If you don’t need the credits in order to register for a class in fall, you should discuss your plans with your academic adviser during summer or during New Student Week, and let them help you figure out the best timing to reach out to the department. Students don’t declare majors at Carleton until early in their sixth term, so you may find you have plenty of time before you need to worry about your courses being considered equivalent to a course in a major.

How do you decide my class standing?

Many schools, maybe even the one you’re coming here from, use the number of credits you’ve earned to determine your class standing. At Carleton, we go by time, measuring your progress by how many terms out of 12 you have completed.

When you transfer to Carleton, we look at two things: how much time you spent at your prior institution and how many credits you earned in that time. Most often, the number of credits you earned is roughly proportional to the amount of time you spent on campus, and so you’ll come to Carleton at about the same place in your journey as where you left off at your prior institution. Remember, we do not include your prematriculation credits in this assessment, since students who started at Carleton all start off in their first term regardless of how many AP credits they brought with them.

The credit minimums we use to determine your class standing are:

0-11 credits = FR01; 12-29 = FR02; 30-47 = FR03; 

48-65 = SO04; 66-83 = SO05; 84-101 = SO06; 

102 (maximum allowable) = JR07. 

FR refers to being a First year student, SO means sophomore, and JR means junior. The numbers refer to how many terms you spend in residence. So an FR01 is a first term first year, whereas an SO04 is a sophomore in their fourth term at the college, and so on. 

Carleton students have 12 terms to complete their degree, so if you start as an FR03, you’ll be starting in your third term and so will have 10 terms left to complete your degree. Your class year will be based on that, and will reflect the year of the spring commencement ceremony. So if you are scheduled to finish your degree in Fall 2023, you will be a member of the class of 2024, since that will be when the commencement ceremony for your class will be held.

What should I do if I don’t agree with a decision about my transfer work or my class standing?

You can contact either the Associate Registrar or the Registrar to ask questions about your transfer work or class standing. You can also work with your academic adviser, but typically it’s best to have these questions answered ahead of that time, if possible.