Editorial: Baylor too strict when it comes to transfer credit

TransferCreditComic.jpgMost transfers can agree that while choosing to go to Baylor may have been an easy decision, the journey getting here was an uphill battle. Once the financial aspect is worked out, another hurdle arrives — transferring credits.

With nearly 500 community college transfers within the student body, Baylor makes it difficult for them to seamlessly transition into their new school.

When students recognize this university as the natural next step, Baylor is all but friendly when it comes to previous classwork.

Forget the fact that they have valuable experience at another reputable institution that’s just as worthy.

For example, basic courses like English, the sciences or government are sticky subjects in the transfer process.

Prospective students have access to the Equivalency Course Tool on the Baylor website, which shows exactly which classes will transfer from their school.

However, many students do not begin their college career with Baylor in mind as their transfer school, therefore taking classes that while necessary and fundamental, don’t appease this university’s standards.

Essentially, it undermines the worth and credibility of community and junior colleges. While it’s true that some have less than stellar academic reputations, most of the basic classes are essentially the same, just at a more affordable price.

Arguably, transfers show a high level of academic maturity. After two years committed to their education at the junior college level, they have a clear understanding of what they want to study and where they choose to go.

In many cases, a degree already under their belt proves their dedication to academia and their profession.

Baylor is well-known as an academically challenging environment, and as such, it holds its curriculum to high standards. In other words, they don’t just let anyone — or any credit — transfer here.

But it’s insulting to those who have put in hours of work and entire semesters of time into quality, valuable classes at their former schools that in turn mean absolutely nothing to Baylor. Though it is understandable that Baylor wants to train their students under the same education as its natives, it fails to recognize the competence that these students bring with them, thus wasting valuable time in a class they had two semesters ago.

It forces students, especially in their late sophomore or junior year, to stay far past their intended graduation date — some even one or two years more.

Classes like Chapel or religion that are required for all Baylor students are not the issue here. Many must retake basic courses just for the sake of having a Baylor stamp of approval on them.

A junior college 2000-level psychology class, for example, that has the exact same course name and curriculum as Baylor’s 3000-level class will not transfer.

A community college degree tells public universities that all of the student’s basics are finished or “core complete” — no questions asked.

At Baylor, a private institution, this isn’t always the case. While transfers can appeal for some of their credits, many previously taken basics still fall short of Baylor’s standards.

Without question, Baylor does make generous efforts to help newbies acclimate socially into their new, exciting environment.

There are plenty of groups to plug into, and the Transfer Year Experience as well as Welcome Week activities thrust new students into Bear Country from the start. What they don’t realize is the stress and frustration leading up to move-in day puts a damper on what should have been a simpler affair.

In all, Baylor should not punish their transfers for beginning their college career elsewhere. This school offers challenging courses to produce spectacular scholars for a reason, and while junior college, of course, is not be the cap on all higher-level learning, this university should recognize the hard work students put into their classwork and the determination they endure just to call themselves a Baylor Bear.