University Transfer: Seeing the Forest for the Trees

So you’ve decided to pursue an associate degree from Piedmont Technical College (PTC) and hope later to take your education to the next level. Perhaps your dad wants you to graduate from his alma mater, the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Or maybe mom wants you to consider her favorite College of Charleston. Problem is, you’re not sure whether these institutions will accept your credits earned at PTC and allow you to transfer into their four-year baccalaureate programs. Relax. There’s good news.

PTC has bridge and transfer agreements with nearly 20 baccalaureate-granting colleges and universities in the state, including the University of South Carolina, Clemson University and College of Charleston. Such agreements in place means that transferring to these institutions should be virtually seamless.

Overwhelmingly, students tell us the No. 1 appeal of these programs is the cost savings, because starting your post-secondary education at a community or technical college and finishing at a university can save you thousands of dollars on tuition toward your bachelor’s degree.

A close second is convenience, because students can stay home and take introductory university courses locally for the first two years, saving on housing and/or commuting expense. In cases where PTC has a formal articulation agreement with a partner institution, some upper-level university courses can be taken at PTC, negating the need to commute to the baccalaureate-granting institution and find housing there. Other benefits available in a select number of transfer agreements include personalized case management and advising as well as access to university amenities, campus life and clubs.

Dr. Brad Griggs, PTC dean of arts and sciences, says that it’s difficult to nail down a hard number but, as a very conservative estimate, about 12 percent of the college’s student body are on a transfer pathway. That figure does not include dual-enrolled students or applied majors.

“Baccalaureate-seeking transfer students at PTC enjoy the ability to start college in a setting that typically features smaller classes. Oftentimes, our faculty are more approachable than in a university setting that may have lecture halls packed with hundreds of people. Our largest classes have maybe 60, and most have 30 or less,” Dr. Griggs said. “It gives students the ability to save a tremendous amount of money before they transfer. They can take 60 hours with us and pay a fraction of what it would cost at their destination university.”

More than 80 courses taught at PTC are approved for transfer to any public university or college in South Carolina. That covers a lot of the initial pre-requisite coursework for a baccalaureate degree.

“The process may go more smoothly if a student is in a bridge program, but not all bridge programs are created the same,” Griggs said. “Ultimately, it’s the faculty advisor and the student and the senior institution’s advisors working together to select courses. There is a tremendous advising component to the process. In general the students who are working with their advisors do have a seamless transfer.”

Students who are considering a transfer after PTC should alert their academic advisors and inquire about course substitutions that are approved for transfer in their desired programs. PTC conducts an annual College Transfer Fair every fall. An admissions counselor can help you go over program options and explain the transfer process. Schedule an appointment at (855) 446-3864, or visit our Admissions Office today. Learn more at