6 Colleges That Accept Transfer Credits with Bad Grades

If you’re looking for advice on transferring colleges with bad grades, you’re in luck. Most four-year colleges and universities require a minimum GPA of 2.0 and only accept transfer credit for courses with a grade of C or higher.

Maybe you started in community college to save money, you’re changing your area of study, or your current school just isn’t a good fit. There are many reasons students find themselves among the one-third of undergraduates transferring colleges—and if you earned a low GPA in college so far, your school choices may seem limited.

List of 6 Colleges That Accept Transfer Students with Bad Grades

It may seem difficult if you’re looking to transfer colleges with bad grades. However, many schools understand that sometimes a change of scenery can help you improve your grades.

Learn more about how to transfer colleges with bad grades and explore our list of sponsored schools below for undergraduate degree programs that accept transfer students with some D grades or lower GPAs.

    #1: Grand Canyon University

    Minimum Transfer Requirements:

    Grand Canyon University requires a GPA of 2.0 or higher, depending on how many credits a student is transferring with. However, students with a lower GPA may be “accepted with specifications” and their academic standing assessed after the first semester (or 12-16 credits for nontraditional students). Undergraduate students achieving a 2.0 GPA at that time will be granted full acceptance status into their degree program.

    Students accepted with specifications may have other requirements, such as enrolling in a foundational general education course.

    About Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University is an accredited, non-profit, Christian university in Phoenix, Arizona that aims to offer affordable private education online or on campus. Their commitment to the Christian worldview provides greater unity across the university to accommodate their growing, diverse student population.

    #2: Ashford University

    Minimum Transfer Requirements:

    Ashford University has articulation agreements with over 170 community colleges across the United States, and accepts transfer credits from schools without agreements as well. Students transferring individual credits can have up to 9 credits as D grades as long as the total GPA is 2.0.

    About Ashford University

    Ashford is an accredited online university offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Courses are taught using Canvas, an enhanced, customized online learning system that allows students to engage with their instructors and classwork in new ways.

    #3: Purdue University Global

    Minimum Transfer Requirements:

    Purdue Global requests a cumulative GPA of 2.0. However, you can transfer in by changing academic programs if your cumulative GPA is below 2.0, but your GPA in all non-major courses is at least a 2.0. Permission of the Dean of the desired program is required.

    About Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global is a public, non-profit online institution that is part of the respected Purdue University system. Purdue Global offers a flexible, personalized education tailored to adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom.

    #4: UMass Online

    Minimum Transfer Requirements:

    UMass Online generally awards transfer credit for courses with a grade of 1.7 (C-) or higher in the course. UMass requests an overall GPA of 2.0, but all former students of UMass Amherst are exempt from the 2.0 GPA requirement.

    About UMass Online

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

    #5: Colorado State University Global

    Minimum Transfer Requirements:

    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.

    About Colorado State University Global

    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.

    #6: American National University

    Minimum Transfer Requirements:

    American National University has articulation agreements with many community and technical colleges stating that transfer credits with grades lower than 2.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you don’t see the college you are transferring from on the list of articulation agreements, contact American National admissions to see if an agreement is in the works, or how your credits can transfer.

    About American National University

    American National University offers credential and degree programs through distance education and blended learning formats. Founded with the intent of training workers in skilled professions, American National University is geared toward providing career-focused learning to adult students seeking to hone the skills needed to further their careers.

    Available Programs

    • Bachelor of Science in Medical & Health Services Management
    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing

    Fun Fact

    Transfer students wanted! According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 9 out of 10 four-year schools regard transfer students as considerably or moderately important to their overall enrollment goals.

    Steps to Transfering Colleges with Bad Grades

    If you’re looking to transfer to a new school and you have less than impressive grades, there are options. The steps below will guide you through the process of transferring colleges with a low GPA. Remember to be mindful of transfer application deadlines!

    Step #1: Identify the Cause of Your Low Grades

    Determine what went wrong. Was the academic program not a good fit? Did extenuating life circumstances impact your school work? Whatever happened, it’s important to identify it now—and to formulate a plan for future academic success.

    The admissions office at your prospective school may want to see a detailed plan for how you will overcome the obstacles that plagued you at your last school.

    Step #2: Research Colleges

    Research colleges that accept transfer students with a low GPA to see what options you have. In order to maximize your chances of finding a school that works for you, be sure to cast a wide net and include online colleges in your search.

    If your previous college credits were earned a while back and you are currently in the workforce, online schools are a great option for earning a degree without uprooting your life.

    Step #3: Talk to an Admissions Counselor

    The National Association for College Admission Counseling reports that 81% of colleges have at least one admission officer who works exclusively with prospective transfer students. Contact admissions at your prospective schools to work with someone who can help you determine the best course of action for transferring.

    Be prepared to share your story and your plan for future success from Step #1!

    Benefits of an Admissions Counselor

    Some colleges, such as Ashford University, pair each prospective student with a dedicated re-entry counselor to help facilitate each step of their return to academia. Re-entry counselors go a step further to help you assess your readiness for college, complete the necessary paperwork, and plan out your academic career.

    Step #4: Improve Your GPA

    If your GPA is brought down by one or two courses with a D or lower, and you have the time and resources, consider improving your GPA by retaking the courses. As long as the course is retaken for a letter grade (as opposed to Pass/Fail), the higher grade can be substituted for the lower one and subsequently improve your GPA.

    Some colleges also offer “academic renewal” to students with a bad course or a bad semester. Academic renewal essentially erases the grade for a course (or entire semester), removing the grades from the GPA calculation and replacing them on official transcripts as “AR.”

    Each school is different, and academic renewal is not always possible, so contact your current school and your prospective school to see what it takes to get renewal approved.

    Step #5: Solicit Letters of Recommendation

    Letters of recommendation from college professors, especially those in your academic area of interest, can help make a good impression on the admissions counselors at your prospective school.

    While the opinions of faculty who have seen you handle college coursework are most valuable, high school recommendations can be a helpful addition to your admissions package if you don’t have much college faculty representation.

    Don’t forget to always send a thank you note to faculty for taking the time to craft a letter of recommendation!

    Step #6: Bolster Your Application with Other Experience

    If your academic work hasn’t been stellar, it is even more important to round out the rest of your application with worthwhile experience. Work, volunteer service, and other activities during summer and winter breaks may bolster your appeal as a potential valuable addition to the student body at your prospective school.

    Step #7: Determine the Best Time to Transfer

    If you are in the first year of college and considering a transfer, it is helpful to know that many colleges take high school grades into consideration if you are transferring with few college credits. If your high school grades are excellent, transferring early may ensure those better grades are weighted to your benefit.

    For students with more than a year of college credits, it may be a good idea to stay at your current school until you have earned an associate’s degree. With this option, you ensure that you don’t lose credit for individual courses with D grades, since the credits that make up the associate’s degree will transfer as a block.

    If you are still having a hard time getting accepted into an undergraduate degree program, you may have the option of applying as a non-degree seeking candidate. You can start taking courses appropriate for your major and, after demonstrating that you can good grades in these, try again to gain admission to the college.

    Do Grades Transfer When You Transfer Colleges?

    When transferring colleges, credit is typically awarded for courses in which you earned a grade of C or better. The grades do not transfer, but credit does. This means that your GPA at your new school does not usually factor in the grades or GPA from your previous school.

    If you are hoping not to lose transfer credit for previous courses in which you earned a D grade, one option is to stay long enough to earn an associate’s degree at your current school. When transferring a degree earned, the credits transfer as a block and each course is not evaluated separately for transfer eligibly.

    Find Colleges to Potentially Transfer To!

    Check out the partner listings above to find schools that make transferring colleges with bad grades easy by clicking on any of the links above.

    Or, complete the form on this page and we’ll match you to the perfect program for you!

    You can also continue reading about colleges with high acceptance rates and colleges with rolling admissions.