Information for Transfer and Early College High School Students

More than 40% of Appalachian's incoming students are transfer or Early College students.  

That said, we do not recommend that GES students transfer into our program with a completed Associates Degree (either via Community College or Early College)... even though your parents or college counselors think that's a good idea. Here's why:

  • Timely graduation: Although it may seem like a good idea to enter Appalachian's Geological and Environmental Sciences program with a completed Associates degree, there are often prerequisites and scheduling issues that make it unlikely for students who already have an Associates Degree to graduate in a timely manner. In our experience as advisors, students with an Associates Degree who attempt to graduate within two years find the process both stressful and deeply exhausting. Nearly all transfer students with a completed Associates Degree spend more than two years completing a GES degree at Appalachian, particularly those who did not come in with required introductory courses in calculus, chemistry, and physics.
  • GPA: Students with their Associates Degree completed at the time of entrance are not required to take General Education classes or many electives. This can be challenging for transfer students in the Geological and Environmental Sciences, who find themselves immediately thrown into a concentration of upper level lab classes that they must take all at the same time. This can be detrimental to their GPA, because although transfer courses and credits are shown on a transcript, the grades received from these transfer courses are not counted in a student's GPA. Only grades received at Appalachian count in your GPA.
  • Instead of coming in with a completed Associates Degree and immediately juggling four upper level lab classes per semester, we recommend transferring to Appalachian earlier in your academic career so your schedule has more flexibility and your GPA has a bit more of a buffer against low grades.

Planning to transfer here?

The pros and cons of transferring with a fully completed Associates Degree:

 Pros of transferring early (Associates Degree not complete)

Pros of transferring with a completed Associates Degree

 You will have more credit hours at Appalachian, which will allow for a bit of “buffering” of your GPA in case of a bad grade at Appalachian (it is important to remember that while your transfer courses and credits are shown on your transcript, the grades received from these transfer courses are not counted in your GPA)

Your total education costs a bit less ... maybe?

Note: There can be barriers to completing a geology or environmental science degree within two years in our program, as most of our majors classes have a number of prerequisites, both within our department (GES 2250, GES 2750, GES 2751, GES 3150, GES 3220, GES 3800, GES 3715, GES 3160, GES 3140, GES 3455) as well as outside of our department (particularly within writing courses, Geography, Chemistry, Math, and Physics). If you do not come in with transfer credits for CHE 1101/1110, CHE 1102/1120, MAT 1110, PHY 1150 or PHY 1103 (depending on degree), and RC_2001 it will be very challenging  - bordering on impossible - to complete your degree within two years.

 You'll have better rapport and familiarity with faculty and staff, and get to know your classmates early on

 You have an Associates Degree in hand if Appalachian doesn't work out for you?

 You will have time to explore different degree tracks and specialize in what interests you


 You may have the opportunity to fully develop a research project with a professor, including a possible senior thesis and/or presentation at professional meetings


You will have a far less hectic schedule (with usually at least one non math/science class each semester)


You are less likely to need summer school to squeeze in all your requirements and any prerequisites


You may choose to pursue a minor in addition to the major 


Useful links for transfer students:

  • Appalachian's Office of Transfer Services
  • Transfer Course Equivalency (will your coursework transfer as a specific course at Appalachian, or just as an elective?) - note that the GES Department cannot override the decisions of other departments about course equivalency.
  • If you are a potential transfer student with questions that have not been addressed above (or in the transfer guides) please contact Dr. Steve Hageman (our department's Transfer Student faculty mentor). Please note: Dr. Hageman cannot provide individual transfer advising prior to enrollment, nor set up individualized campus visits. Please schedule visits through Admissions.