Northwest College

Transfer Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to transfer?

In a basic sense, transferring is switching from one college to another (which occurs for many reasons), but college or university transfer usually refers to completing your first two years at a NWC, then transferring to a university or four-year college to earn a bachelor’s degree. NWC offers associate’s degrees (usually about 60 credits) and certificates (shorter programs) which include just lower division (100 and 200-level) courses. NWC students transfer to universities or four-year colleges to complete about 60 upper-division (300 and 400-level) credits, and then graduate with a bachelor’s degree (usually about 120 credits total). Associate’s and bachelor’s degrees comprise your undergraduate education. Programs beyond your bachelor’s degree are considered graduate education.

When should I start planning for my transfer from Northwest College to another college?

The sooner the better; it is ideal to start your planning your freshman year. This way you can plan to take the necessary courses at Northwest College that will allow you to transfer smoothly to your next college of choice. Not all students know where they want to transfer as a freshman. As soon as you decide on a college to transfer to, look to see that college’s general education requirements.

When do I start the transfer process?

Submit your university application(s) online about a year before you plan to transfer. You’ll have a good chance of getting the classes you want and have ample time to get everything else done, such as providing transcripts, updating immunizations, deciding on housing plans, buying a parking permit, applying for financial aid, and attending transfer student orientation programs. When you meet with your academic advisor at NWC to develop or check your semester-by-semester education plan, include notes on when to apply for your associate’s degree and when to apply for admissions to your transfer university in order to stay on-track. Your Project Succeed Career and Transfer Coordinator can assist as well in many of these steps.

Where can I transfer?

You can transfer to almost any institution, but it is best if you have selected three or less for your transfer options so you can plan your courses at NWC to match their requirements. We also have block transfers with some institutions, which means they will accept all of your credits based on an articulation agreement.

What are my transfer options?

There are many universities and four-year colleges to choose from, so start your research as early as possible – even before you start your first year at community college if you can. High school counselors can help you get started. Once you are enrolled at NWC, academic advisors and your Project Succeed Career and Transfer Coordinator can help you explore program offerings at different institutions. Consider availability of your major and preferred degree, cost, convenience, family and housing needs, and whether you have a preference for online or in-person classes. We visit some regional colleges and universities, and these can help you picture what to expect after you transfer.

Will all of my courses transfer?

Check the policies of your transfer college. In general, courses classified as below college level will not transfer. Typically colleges do not accept courses with D or F grades. In some instances, a higher grade may be required for a course to transfer. The number of transfer credits that a college will accept from a two-year institution varies.

What is an articulation agreement?

An articulation agreement is an agreement between two schools that specifies how courses or groups of courses will transfer from one institution to the other.

What happens if the college that I transfer to does not accept some of my Northwest College credits?

You can petition the way any credits transfer. In order to petition a class, you will need that class syllabus from Northwest College. Contact the Academic Affairs office at (307)754-6122 or send an e-mail to request a copy of course syllabi.

What if I don’t know if I want to transfer to a university?

Research the careers which you are interested in to check the level of education each requires. Some professions require graduate degrees, while for others, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is sufficient. If you are considering transferring, it is wise to select courses that not only meet your associate’s degree requirements but also fulfill or serve as prerequisites for university requirements.

Why should I earn an Associate's degree?

A transfer Associate’s degree is designed to maximize your credits and prepare you for your university major. Upon completion of an Associate, you will enter the university as a junior. Additional advantages for completing an Associate’s degree are: increased income potential, knowledge, and skills.

What are the differences between an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Science?

NWC offers three degrees. It is important for you to understand which degree track you are on because general education course requirements differ for each degree. The degrees are:

  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS).

The Associate of Arts degree is designed to transfer and become part of a four year degree--usually a Bachelor of Arts. Typically, majors in the Associate of Arts degree have a broad arts and humanities component. An Associate of Arts in General Studies is a good choice for students uncertain about a major.

The Associate of Science degree is designed to transfer and become part of a four year degree – usually a Bachelor of Science. Typically, majors in the Associate of Science degree have a strong mathematical, scientific, or technical component. The Associate of Science degree has fewer general education requirements than the AA degree so that students may concentrate on the necessary math and science courses for their majors.

The AAS degree is designed to lead directly to a career. It is not designed to transfer, although some universities are developing Bachelors of Applied Science programs. Because it is not intended as a transfer degree, majors in the AAS degree have fewer general education requirements than either the AA or AS and a more extensive program of courses in the major. The AAS degree is designed to prepare students to enter the job market following graduation.

Two additional points to consider:

  • Students frequently change majors, but changing to a major located in a different degree is a bigger jump than changing majors located within the same degree.
  • Students who plan on transferring often wonder if earning an associate’s degree matters. While it depends on the individual student’s situation, there are a number of advantages for a student who earns a degree. Some universities, like the University of Wyoming, accept an AA or AS degree from NWC as meeting all of their general education requirements. This is significant.

In general, it is better to have gone to NWC for two years and earned a degree than to have attended for two years and not earned a degree. The degree is a real indication that a student has the ability and discipline to finish a specific program of study. However, there may be cases – for example, when a student is only a few credits shy of earning a degree – when it is in a student’s best interest not to stay at NWC for an additional semester. (In cases like this, a student can transfer up to 15 credit hours back to NWC and be awarded a diploma after he or she has left. See the section in the on-line NWC catalogue Transferring Credits to Northwest for more information on this policy.)

What if I don’t know my major?

The sooner you decide on a major, or area of study, the more specific you can be when selecting your courses at NWC and your transfer institution. While you are deciding on your major, consult an academic advisor to choose some versatile general education courses that may apply to a lot of majors. Taking a course or two in a major you are considering can really help you think seriously about your career path as well. It might not seem worth it at the time, but think of it as an investment in your long-term career satisfaction. Your advisor can assist you in narrowing down your options. Your TRiO Career and Transfer Coordinator can assist with understanding how your major will transfer to another university you are considering.

Can my application fee be waived?

If you are low income, you may qualify for a waiver.  Most waivers can be obtained by contacting the transfer college admissions office.

Does it cost to send an official transcript from Northwest College?

You can request an official transcript online. Request an unofficial transfer equivalence evaluation be done by the college you are planning to transfer to.

If I am receiving support services for my documented disability at Northwest College, how do I transfer those services to my next college?

Contact your Disability Support Services Coordinator.

What is a degree audit and when do I need to do one?

Even when you have been keeping track of your courses on the degree worksheet, it's important to have the College do an official degree audit. Simply go to the Enrollment Services Office (ORB 102) and fill out a request. An online request form is also available. The Registrar's Office will review your transcript and tell you if all requirements have been met.

You should have a degree audit done while you can still sign up for classes. This means before the start of your last semester, and ideally it means before preregistration for your last semester. Since there is usually a backlog of requests for degree checks, give the registrar's office some time.

Do I have to apply for graduation?

As strange as it may sound, you must officially apply for graduation – even if all requirements have been met. If you don’t apply for graduation, you will have a transcript with all the courses on it, but it won't say that you have earned a degree from NWC. The Application for Graduation is a simple form which can be picked up from the Enrollment Services Office (ORB 102). As with most forms, the earlier it is turned in the better. The fee for this application can be paid in the Business Office (ORB 106).