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University of Michigan students transferring between schools or colleges on the Ann Arbor campus struggle to bring their credits with them, leading many to take on additional semesters to fulfill distribution requirements.

Carmela Brown, associate director of the Newnan Academic Advising Center, detailed the policies for students undergoing cross-campus transfer. Regardless of the school or college, students are required to fulfill the requirements implemented by the school or college they transfer into, Brown explained in an email to The Daily. 

“Each academic undergraduate unit determines the requirements and policies to uphold the integrity of their degree,” Brown wrote. “When a student moves from one unit to another through a cross-campus transfer, the student is required to follow the policies determined by the unit which could be different for each school or college.”

According to Brown, in the Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 semesters, approximately 120 students transferred cross-campus to LSA. Most of these students had a minimum of 30 credits when they transferred since most remained in their original school or college for a year, Brown explained.

LSA sophomore Tess Eschebach transferred from the College of Engineering to LSA at the end of last semester. Eschebach told The Daily her decision to transfer to LSA was due to the School of Engineering’s highly technical curriculum.

“I didn’t want to be doing technical stuff full-time,” Eschebach said. “The College of Engineering is structured in such a way that even with flexible technical electives that they have in the EECS department, it’s like you’re still taking all technical classes with little time to take any humanities. I wasn’t really vibing with that.”

Engineering students often take the same courses during their first two years, including LSA courses like Math 115, Chemistry 130 and Physics 140 and Engineering courses like Engineering 100, among others. Many of these courses do not transfer to fulfill distribution requirements in LSA, according to Eschebach.

“In the College of Engineering, your schedule is basically planned out for you, like from day one,” Eschebach said. “I remember I was super stressed this semester because I could take anything. And I was like that is so stressful because, in Engineering, you literally come into Engineering with your first years planned out. And once your major is declared, your next two years are planned out … And none of that stuff really directly translates to LSA credit, so I guess that could be a big problem as well.”

Brown said Engineering students generally enroll in LSA classes in their first year to fulfill Engineering requirements. Other courses taken through the School of Engineering would be considered non-LSA credits, only 20 of which would count towards an LSA degree.

“Engineering students are usually taking LSA classes in their first year as part of their Engineering requirements such as math, physics and chemistry,” Brown wrote. “Therefore, they usually have not maxed out of the non-LSA credits. The College does recognize the degree requirements and competencies required of all LSA students which include the students who transfer to LSA.”

Likewise, transferring into the School of Nursing from LSA requires a set of prerequisite courses students must take before applying, including English 125, Psychology 111 and Biological Chemistry 212, among others. If students choose to take courses outside of these prerequisites in LSA, the credits earned do not transfer to the Nursing School.

Nursing sophomore Alissa Elanjian transferred to the Nursing School after her freshman year in LSA. Elanjian knew from the start of her freshman year she would be applying to the Nursing School, allowing her to tailor her LSA courses.

“The Nursing School only accepted 30 to 35 transfer (students), so I did not have a very high chance of getting in,” Elanjian said. “So I did take a big risk by applying because all of my classes in freshman year were focused towards the Nursing School. So if I did not get into the Nursing School, the only classes that would make sense were the Stats 250 that I took in LSA and the English course I took in LSA.”

Another concern for students transferring from the College of Engineering is that many of the credits they’ve accumulated through Advanced Placement or dual enrollment credits only count toward Engineering distribution requirements. They do not apply to LSA distribution requirements, Eschebach explained.

“For my humanities distribution, I was able to knock most of it out with AP credit, but in LSA, it doesn’t count,” Eschebach said. “So, like, that’s a difference that I know no LSA students are getting that credit, but it’s really kind of jarring moving from Engineering, where it was fulfilling distribution requirements, and now it’s not. And now, I’m stuck in a lot of 100 level courses.”

As an Engineering student, Eschebach would have been able to graduate in three years with her AP credits and dual enrollment transfer credits. Now in LSA, she will most likely graduate in five years.

“I’m going to be here a while,” Eschebach said. “I was just continually pushed into doing Engineering, so I never really thought about doing anything else … it’s been a lot exploring for me, a lot of confusion in what I want to do … I’m sure I’ll have extra time just because of distribution as well.”

Reporter Kristina Zheng can be reached at krizheng@umich.edu.

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