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Easy Guide to Switching From Online to In-Person College

If you are one of those planning to enroll in an online school and open to the idea of transferring to a physical college or university one day, then this article is for you.

This article will be focusing on How to switch from online college to in-person schooling. Endeavor to read it to the last paragraph to get all the necessary information you will need. Let’s get started!

Nationally & Regionally Accredited Colleges

Colleges and universities must be accredited by independent bodies that evaluate and guarantee the quality of the education that they provide.

Accreditation can be institutional, which applies to an entire university and all its programs, or programmatic, wherein the accreditation only applies to a specific program.

Accreditation of a law program by the American Bar Association would be an example of programmatic accreditation. See How to Choose Online College.

Institutional accreditation can occur either nationally or regionally, with regional accreditation generally being preferred, particularly when it comes to transferring between institutions.

There are seven (7) major regional accreditation bodies covering six areas of the US, and a school need only be recognized by one of them. Most well-recognized and respected colleges are regionally accredited.

National accreditation bodies are primarily oriented towards vocational or technical schools, which are more commonly for-profit, as opposed to public or private non-profit regionally accredited colleges.

National accreditation compares programs to each other, making a baseline level of quality difficult to establish. National accreditation isn’t strictly inferior but rather is far more niche.

While regionally accredited colleges will typically have their credits recognized at both regionally and nationally accredited schools, the reverse is rarely the case.

Transfer students should thus be aware that transferring from a nationally accredited school to a regionally accredited one will likely result in the loss of academic progress. Take a look at Is the University of Florida Online a Good School

While it’s important to decide which accreditation is right for you, it is far more crucial to make sure that your college has some form of accreditation at all, as unaccredited schools will not have their degrees recognized by other institutions or even some employers.

Why Apply to an Accredited Online School?

Applying to an accredited online school guarantees high-quality education and a college degree that is legit and respected by employers.

It also makes it possible for online students to enjoy the transfer of earned credits to other accredited online or physical colleges and universities.

There are legit online schools with accreditation. Then there are also diploma mills.

As the name suggests, diploma mills are institutions that grant diplomas that are either fraudulent or worthless. Needless to say, they are not accredited schools.

While some of them will claim that they are accredited, their accreditation is from an accreditation body that they made up themselves.

One of the best ways to determine whether the online school you are about to apply to is a respected school or a diploma mill is by ensuring that it is accredited by an accreditation body recognized by the US Department of Education. Otherwise, both your money and future career will feel the negative outcome.

By the way, it is a good idea to opt for a school with regional accreditation. Compared to national accreditation, regional accreditation permits credits earned from a school to be more widely accepted and easily transferable.

Why Do Some Online Students Switch to Traditional Schools?

Generally, online students switch to in-person learning for two major reasons: firstly, some are unsatisfied with their majors. Secondly, some are unhappy with the online learning experience itself.

Most times, reasons for transferring are outside of academia, such as changes in residence or family or work obligations.

No matter the reason, there are instances in which going from an online school to a brick-and-mortar college or university is the smartest step to take for the sake of earning a college degree.

Because things that can cause you to switch from online to traditional learning can happen while earning your degree, it’s of utmost importance that the transfer to a physical school will go as smoothly as possible. The goal is to have a transition with very little to no disruption in your learning.

How to Switch from Online College to in-person schooling

It is possible to start your education through online courses and switch them to a traditional university if that fits your learning goals.

Universities commonly have requirements for a certain number of credits to be taken on campus before a student can receive a degree from that school, so there may be limits to how many credits can be transferred, with 90 credit hours being a typical maximum.

The first thing you will want to confirm when switching to a traditional college is that they will accept your credits.

So long as the online courses you have taken were from a regionally accredited college or university, this should not be much of an issue, but some schools have very particular requirements for certain courses.

Colleges also often work together with other schools nearby to form what are called articulation agreements, which assist to ensure that transfer credits can move easily between them.

Something to consider about transfer credits is that your grades in those courses likely will not count toward your GPA at the new university.

Instead, the GPA will be calculated using only courses taken in residence there, which may mean that poor performance in one class will have a larger impact on your overall GPA.

Academic Residency Requirements

Residency requirements exist to make sure that graduates with degrees from an institution know what they are supposed to know, and do not give the school a bad name if their transferred credits were somehow fake.

Since these credits are usually the last obtained, they are also key to learning and understanding your major, so having these courses come from the same institution ensures consistency as you progress through the most in-depth part of your education.

While the requirement will differ from school to school, 30-36 credit hours, or roughly 1 year of study, is a common minimum.

There may be more specific requirements for some majors, such as 18 credits within the major taken in residency, or specific “core” courses taken at the university.

It’s important to note that courses taken in residency don’t have to be taken on campus; study abroad or online courses taken through the university also count, so long as they are through the same school.


That was all on this topic, do you find it useful, if yes don’t fail to share your thoughts with us. If you have any questions about how to Switch From Online to In-Person College, let us know in the comment section.

Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Admin

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