Colleges That Accept Transfer Credits with Bad Grades

Seeking assistance in locating colleges that readily accept transfer credits despite subpar grades? If you’re in search of guidance on the subject of transferring to new academic institutions with less-than-stellar grades, your fortune has taken a turn for the better. Numerous four-year colleges and universities typically mandate a minimum GPA of 2.0 and exclusively consider transfer credits for courses bearing a grade no less than a C.

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Maybe you started in community college to save money? Or maybe you’re changing your area of study. Perhaps your current school just isn’t a good fit? In fact, there are many reasons students find themselves among the one third of undergrads transferring colleges per the NCES. Although if you earned a low GPA in college so far, your school choices may seem limited.

Fun Fact

Transfer students wanted! According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 9 out of every 10 four-year institutions consider transfer students to be of significant or moderate importance when it comes to fulfilling their overall enrollment objectives.


If you’re contemplating a transfer to another educational institution and happen to possess less-than-stellar grades, there may still be viable avenues available. The following steps can serve as a valuable guide to navigate the process of transferring colleges despite a less impressive GPA. Naturally, always keep a keen eye on those crucial transfer application deadlines!


Delve into the reasons behind your academic setbacks. Firstly, assess whether the chosen academic program was a mismatch for your needs. Secondly, reflect on whether life circumstances significantly affected your academic performance. Regardless of the circumstances, pinpointing the underlying causes is crucial at this stage. This insight will empower you to formulate a strategic plan for future academic achievement.

Keep in mind that the admissions office at your prospective institution may require a comprehensive plan outlining how you intend to surmount the challenges that hindered your progress at your previous school. Thus, engage in a thorough self-assessment.


Conduct extensive research to identify colleges that are receptive to transfer students with less impressive GPAs, thus expanding your range of possibilities. To enhance your prospects of discovering an institution that suits your needs, it’s advisable to cast a broad net during your search. Don’t overlook the potential of online schools as well.

If your prior college credits were earned some time ago, or if you’re presently engaged in the workforce, online schools can emerge as a highly viable option for pursuing a degree without necessitating a major upheaval in your life.


Statistics from the National Association for College Admission Counseling reveal that a significant 81% of colleges boast at least one admissions officer dedicated solely to prospective transfer students. Hence, it’s essential to initiate contact with the admissions department at your targeted institutions, connecting with an expert who can guide you in determining the most suitable path for your transfer.

During these interactions, be ready to share your personal narrative along with the strategic plan for future success that you developed in Step #1. This will enable the advisor to better understand your journey and assist you accordingly.

Benefits of an Admissions Counselor

Certain colleges extend the extra support of assigning each incoming student a dedicated re-entry counselor, aimed at facilitating every aspect of their return to academia. It’s important to note that re-entry counselors take an additional step by aiding you in evaluating your preparedness for college, assisting in the completion of essential paperwork, and strategically mapping out your academic journey.


What should you do if your GPA bears the weight of one or two courses with a grade of D or below? In such instances, provided you have the time and resources at your disposal, consider the option of bolstering your GPA by retaking these courses. As long as you retake the course for a traditional letter grade (rather than opting for Pass/Fail), the improved grade can supplant the lower one and enhance your overall GPA.

Additionally, some colleges offer a process known as “academic renewal” to students who’ve faced challenges in a specific course or semester. Academic renewal essentially expunges the grade for a course (or even an entire semester) from your academic record. Consequently, these grades are removed from the GPA calculation and replaced on official transcripts as “AR.”

It’s worth noting that the feasibility of academic renewal varies from one institution to another, so it’s advisable to reach out to both your current school and prospective school to ascertain the requirements for obtaining approval for this process. After all, with a bit of effort, you can potentially uncover several colleges willing to accept transfer credits despite less-than-ideal grades.


Why should you consider seeking letters of recommendation from college professors? Well, primarily because these letters, especially when they come from professors within your chosen academic field, possess the potential to leave a favorable impression on the admissions counselors evaluating your application at your prospective school.

Indeed, the perspectives of faculty members who have observed your performance in college-level coursework can be particularly valuable. However, don’t overlook the potential merit of high school recommendations, especially if you lack substantial representation from college faculty.

Furthermore, always remember to express your gratitude by sending a heartfelt thank-you note to the faculty members who take the time to craft these letters of recommendation!


In cases where your academic performance has been less than exceptional, it becomes increasingly vital to complement your application with enriching experiences. To sum it up, part-time employment, volunteer service, and engagement in various activities during summer and winter breaks can enhance your overall attractiveness as a prospective student. In essence, strive to present yourself as a valuable potential addition to the student community at your desired school.


If you find yourself in your first year of college and contemplating a transfer, it’s worth noting that many colleges take high school grades into account, especially when you have limited college credits.

For those students who have amassed more than a year’s worth of college credits, a prudent strategy might involve remaining at your current institution until you’ve secured an associate’s degree. This approach safeguards against the loss of credit for individual courses carrying D grades. Generally, the credits constituting the associate’s degree are transferred as a cohesive unit.

In cases where gaining admission to an undergraduate degree program remains a challenge, you might explore the possibility of applying as a non-degree-seeking candidate. This path allows you to commence coursework relevant to your intended major and, by demonstrating strong performance in these courses, subsequently reapply for formal admission to the college.


When you embark on the process of transferring colleges, the customary practice involves the awarding of credit for courses in which you’ve achieved a grade of C or better. Consequently, the actual grades themselves do not transfer, but the credit earned does. As a result, your GPA at your new institution generally does not incorporate the grades or GPA from your previous school.

If your goal is to preserve transfer credit for courses in which you obtained a D grade, one viable approach is to remain at your current school long enough to complete an associate’s degree. Typically, when transferring a degree earned, the credits are transferred as a unified block, and each individual course is not subjected to separate evaluations for transfer eligibility.


Transferring to a different college with subpar grades can pose challenges. Yet, numerous institutions recognize the potential for improvement that comes with a change in environment. If you’re seeking guidance on transferring with less-than-ideal grades, delve into the process and peruse our selection of colleges below that often admit transfer students with D grades or lower GPAs.


Strayer University


Incoming courses must be equivalent in content and outcomes to courses at Strayer University.

  • Students are required to have attained a grade of at least “C” in the respective course. Alternatively, a grade of “D” or better is acceptable if the student has successfully completed an associate’s degree at the same institution where the intended transfer course(s) originate. Additionally, the course duration must meet or exceed a minimum of 4.5 quarter hours or 3.0 semester hours.

Students accepted with specifications may have other requirements.


Strayer University is an accredited institution with a proud history of 130 years in quality education. Most of Strayer’s programs are online; however, they also have a network of campuses around the U.S. where you can get support in person. Strayer university has designed a learning experience that supports you on your journey to success support in person. Strayer university has designed a learning experience that supports you on your journey to success.

Available Programs


U Mass, Online


UMass Online typically grants transfer credit for courses where the student has earned a grade of 1.7 (equivalent to C-) or higher. While UMass generally requires a minimum overall GPA of 2.0, it’s important to note that this 2.0 GPA requirement is waived for all former students of UMass Amherst.


U Mass Online offers over 150 degrees and certificates from the University of Massachusetts in a convenient online format to busy professionals, lifelong learners, and students worldwide.

Available Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Crime and Justice Studies
  • Bachelor’s in Information Technology: Business Minor
  • BA in Economics
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English
  • Psychology Bachelors of Arts


Colorado State University Global


Colorado State University Global encourages students with less than a 2.30 cumulative GPA on prior college credit to apply for provisional admission with:

  • Written statement of purpose detailing professional goals and future study plans
  • Detailed resume
  • Completion of an online assessment

Once provisionally admitted, undergraduate students must complete six credits and be in good academic standing after their first two trimesters at CSUGlobal.


CSU-Global is an online university offering degree programs designed for working adults, using a virtual classroom designed to provide students with the same learning opportunities offered at brick-and-mortar colleges and universities. CSU-Global students can take advantage of accelerated 8-week courses and monthly starts.

Available Programs

  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Project Management
  • BS in Organizational Leadership
  • Information Technology Bachelor of Science
  • BS in Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Healthcare Administration and Management


Western Governors University


WGU maintains relationships with many community colleges across the United States. Each transcript will be evaluated on an individual basis. WGU does not list minimum GPA requirements for which credits may transfer.


Western Governors University offers competency based and affordable degree programs. Tuition often averages under $4,000 a term. That is about half the cost of most other online universities. Programs start monthly. There is a $65 application fee that can be waived. Apply free this week!

Available Programs

What should I do if my GPA is too low for transferring?

If your GPA falls below 2.0 and you aim to transfer, you may need to submit an appeal, explore second chance programs (refer to the “Starting Over” section under “Common Reasons to Transfer” below), or consider taking a semester off before reapplying as a transfer student.

Do colleges consider applicants with poor grades?

Admission to colleges is still possible even with subpar grades. However, it’s essential to make the rest of your college application shine brightly to enhance your chances of acceptance.

Is it possible to transfer colleges with poor grades?

While some colleges might accept students with low grades for various reasons, they might offer conditional admission where students must perform well in their initial semester. The possibility of transferring with a low GPA depends on several factors, including the policies of the college and the expectations of the student at the new institution.

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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