Do You Have Acceleration Credits from High School? Learn How They Will Transfer

I am a HUGE fan of high school acceleration programs (being the Director of Acceleration Programming at Florida SouthWestern State College certainly helps with that) , whether it be Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or the Cambridge AICE program.

I have written several articles on each of these programs, and discuss them in my first chapter of my guidebook, College UnMazed: A Guide Through the Florida College & University System

AP, IB, Dual-Enrollment: Determining What is Best for You!

So You Want to Dual Enroll?

Once students have selected an acceleration method, now the question becomes-

 How do my acceleration credits transfer?

So to answer these questions, I sat down for a webinar with Senior Associate Director of Admission at Florida Southern College, Joseph Madigan to discuss these two questions. For the webinar replay, click the button below (I suggest you watch the video as there is so much great information- a few things I didn't even know!).

Here are some key take-aways from the webinar that every student should know!

1. All colleges are different with acceleration credits- You HAVE to ASK!!

Some colleges, like Florida Southern College, are very credit friendly- others not so much. Expect the higher the selectivity of the university the more likely they will NOT accept the credits. For some of my students earning their Associates of Arts degree this was a big drawback at some selective universities as they simply do not take them, other students realize this is what earned them their admissions! What I like about FSC is they clearly lay out what each credit equals at their college and what that means for your major. I suggest you ask your top 2-3 colleges this question before you determine if you will attend.

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In Florida, any credits taken at a state college, according to state statute, have to transfer to a four year university if your grades are a "C" or higher. The Florida state colleges and state university system has the same course numbering codes- ENC 1101 (Composition 1) is the same anywhere- if you decide to go out-of-state, then there will be a lot more interpretation of your transcripts.

One interesting piece of information Mr. Madigan shared is that for FSC the GPA does not transfer, even for DE credits. If you are considering a graduate program and beyond, this might be something you consider in selecting your school. AP, AICE, and IB GPAs typically would not transfer to a university, but DE do to state universities (FSC is private). This is another great question to pose to the admission personnel as some of you may want to keep your acceleration GPA and others would like to "start over". 

2. Some acceleration credits are the exact same course- don't double dip!

Unfortunately, I find this several times when students are taking various acceleration credits, such as Advanced Placement English Language and then do Dual Enrollment ENC 1101- you will receive credit for only one of the courses, as it is technically the SAME COURSE!

To avoid this, I highly suggest using some of the degree audit/ credit transfer sites that are out there to determine what equals what. Be sure not to duplicate as it wastes unnecessary time and frustration.

Florida SouthWestern State College has a great degree acceleration chart, listed here.

University of Florida is listed here: Dual EnrollmentAP, AICE, IB, CLEP

Private Colleges & Universities of Florida is listed here: Accelerated Credits links

Yale University- states "rules on acceleration credits are complex and exceptions are not allowed"

3. Even in transferring credits, classes and credits might change or students may wish to still retake a course.

Mr. Madigan told a story how their Biological Science 1 has a hands-on research component that partners with Yale University, so while a student might want to bring in their BSC 1010/L credit, taking the course at your selective college may be extremely beneficial. We see this a lot with mathematics and sciences that become more specialized with your intended major. Acceleration credits give you a great foundation to excel in these higher level courses, but understand that your major of choice will determine how some of these credits will be used.

4. Know the general education, pre-requisites, and major courses

If you are able to pick your acceleration credits (like in AP and DE- AICE and IB are more directed programs), a student has quite a bit of choice in which classes they should take. First come your general education classes, which is 60 credits of select courses in Communications, Humanities, Mathematics, Sciences, Social Sciences, and Electives. However, you want to make sure you are meeting the pre-requisites to the major/ program you are interest in.

An example:

You need 2 sciences courses to complete your AA/ 60 gen ed. They can be courses likes Astronomy, Biology, Oceonography, Chemistry, Physics, etc. If you are going to be a nursing major considering USF, a student might focus on Anatomy and Physiology (BSC 1085/86) as per their requirements. As well, you might choose your math sequence to follow the pre-reqs and choose electives/ social sciences of Psychology and Human Growth and Development. By not looking forward you may just be earning empty credits and not accelerating as fast you had hoped.

5. You are considered a first-time in college student, even with an Associates Degree

Some of you may ask- What an Associates Degree in high school? Yes- many schools have specialized programming where students can enroll full-time at their state college and earn their Associate of Arts degree for FREE while still in high school. Either called collegiate high schools (Like FSW's Charlotte and Lee Collegiate) or Early Admissions, this is available to qualifying students. What a lot of students do not know, no matter how many credits you are bringing in through ANY acceleration credits, you still mark "first-time in college" if they were all done in high school. Why? The biggest reason- it allows you 4 years and MORE access to financial aid and scholarships. In Florida, you will not be penalized for acceleration credits taken in high school toward the Florida "Excess Credit Surcharge". If you complete an AA AFTER you graduate with 12+ more credits, you would be considered a transfer student. This could be beneficial for certain students due to standardized test grades, and selectivity of admissions (it changes for transfer students vs. first time in college).

6. No credits are taken off of a high school transcript

Not matter which credits you are wanting to transfer over, a student needs their college or program transcript for that to happen. Some colleges may ask for your college/ program transcript after you apply, but others will not an official copy until you attend that school. Be sure to understand how this process happens so you provide that in a timely way as usually there is a fee and a wait time that could slow the process for your registering and orientation at your new college.

Acceleration is great for so many students. However, as students and parents begin the process, it is important to keep in mind the above points. Knowing what you are doing now and how it counts towards your future is extremely important. 

Here are some key questions at ask when looking at post-secondary institutions.


1. How will my accelerated credits transfer?

2. What general education and/or pre-requisites do my acceleration credits satisfy?

3. Will my Accelerated Credits GPA transfer, if so how? (This is Dual Enrollment specific- typically AICE, AP, IB do not carry a GPA weight- as a "5" does not mean an "A" and what if you got a "B" in the class but get a "5" on the test?)

4. What do I need to submit to have my credits transfer? And when should I submit them (when you apply and/or when you graduate)?

If you still have questions, and want to be sure you are on the right academic path for college admissions, send me an email at Dr. Amanda Sterk,!

I also suggest picking up a copy of my new guidebook, College UnMazed: Your Guide Through the Florida College & University System, as it provides an excellent foundation for any student (middle school to high school) with unique questions and programming that allows student to accelerate in ways that works for them!