Unnecessarily repeating college courses taken abroad – A lose-lose situation

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In some cases, members of the military and their families needlessly repeat university courses and even diplomas that they have successfully obtained. Why? Because they have taken courses or earned degrees abroad at foreign colleges and universities.

Once these foreign-trained troops enlist and settle into service, many decide to take advantage of voluntary military education programs to continue working on an undergraduate or graduate degree through colleges and American universities. Likewise, family members with college degrees or credits from their home country may wish to further their education or find employment in fields related to their academic preparation.

It is at this point that these troops and their family members may find themselves needlessly retaking courses – and even entire degrees – at colleges and universities across the United States.

However, there is a viable alternative to repeating courses already taken at foreign institutions – one that will save time and valuable federal tuition assistance dollars, as well as personal cost savings. This alternative is a well-recognized foreign credential assessment professionally prepared by World Education Services, Inc. (WES).

There are two types of WES assessments: document-by-document assessments and course-by-course assessments. The document-by-document evaluation makes it possible to validate the equivalence of foreign degrees or diplomas obtained, according to American academic standards. The course-by-course evaluation is a document similar to a transcript, detailing each course taken at the foreign institution, including U.S. equivalency grades, semester hour values, course level (upper division/ lower) and a calculated GPA. In either case, WES verifies all credentials to ensure their authenticity, an important step appreciated by both educational institutions and potential employers.

All service members and their families with college-level work at foreign institutions should consider obtaining a credential assessment from WES before investing their time—as well as tuition assistance or personal funds—to enroll in American institutions. The WES assessment must be presented to colleges or universities they wish to attend for admission/credit transfer consideration or to potential employers to demonstrate their credentials in American terms. Many will find it a win-win situation. More information about WES and an application form can be found at www.wes.org.

About the Author

Richard J. Tinneny is a former Associate Vice President of the Community College of the Air Force and spent 15 years as Director of Admissions at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, South Carolina. At both institutions, he worked with a significant number of foreign trained military personnel as well as their family members during his time at Midlands Technical College. Mr. Tinneny is currently a senior consultant with World Education Services, Inc., a non-profit company serving military members and their families since 1974.

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