An Alien’s Perspective: International credit transfer


I was going through my file at the engineering records office; my attempt to transfer credits had been stifled twice.

I have, therefore, been forced to study a lot of the material I have studied in the past all over again. If you are an international student working on your undergraduate degree, you probably know exactly what I am talking about.

Over the past few years, I have come to understand that the school system in a lot of countries is ahead of the U.S. public school system. The syllabi are significantly different.

On my first day at Wichita State, I spoke with one of the professors from the math department in order to get a waiver for some of my math classes.

My SAT scores allowed me to skip college algebra. However, the professor and I agreed that based on the fact that my education in India encompassed most of the course material in Calculus I and II, I could start from Calculus II or III based on my proficiency in the subject.

He warned me that certain students had faced non-academic issues when they had skipped a lower level math class in the past.

Overwhelmed by the new surroundings, I panicked and went through several months of unnecessary math courses, just like several other international students.

I will soon have to take Physics II, and as I expected, every single topic on the syllabus for the 300 level courses falls into the 12th grade material as per the Central Board of Secondary Education of India.

The four credit-hour course will cost me roughly $2,000. I am sure there are students of other nationalities in the same situation. And I don’t mean to undermine the options that WSU has to offer with regard to the issue — some of the courses, like General Chemistry 111, can be avoided by testing out. However, these options are available only for a limited number of courses.

My point isn’t to be an academic snob and ridicule the U.S. public school system for the heck of it; I’ve done that already.

Unlike the public school system, the standard of education at the university level in the U.S. is commendable. However, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

All I hope to do is to draw attention to the fact that some international students are stuck taking lower level courses while their time, energy and money could be better invested in other endeavors.