In general, freshman year is a daunting and overwhelming experience. While college is certainly viewed as a fresh start for many, there are some things you want to carry over from high school: specifically Advanced Placement credits. It seems like a no-brainer that the classes would be logged for each student, considering the scores were sent to the school during the application process. However, for many students, including myself, this was not the case.
Coming in as a freshman at the University of Tampa, I had three AP scores that qualified as college transfer credits. I had done my research on UT’s website and added up how many credits I would have before starting classes: 22. At first, I wasn’t concerned because my SpartanWeb account showed all of the scores under my personal info tab. However, as classes started, I began hearing rumors about people not receiving the credits they had earned before entering college. Worried, I looked up my unofficial transcript and saw eight of my 22 credits missing.
Slightly panicked and unsure who to talk to, I called a number I saw on the school website and asked to speak to someone about AP credits. The woman on the other line asked for my name, looked up my transcript and explained how one of my scores was not showing up. I told her that made no sense, considering all the scores had been sent together. Her only suggestion was to resend them.
I logged back onto collegeboard.org and repaid the $15 to send the scores again. It seemed a little ridiculous, considering that there must have been a receipt somewhere proving all the scores were sent to UT before, but I was not in the mood to argue. Now, I had to wait an additional two weeks. After some time had passed, I checked my transcript again. No new credits, and now I was getting agitated. I had earned them, and it should not take more than one phone call to fix the problem.
By this time I had familiarized myself with UT and decided I needed to make a physical appearance to sort out the dilemma. I made the trek over to Plant Hall and walked into the Registrar’s Office. I explained my situation, and then the lady behind the desk went into the back for a minute. When she returned, she said, “Sorry about that, sometimes scores fall through the cracks.” I was told my credit would appear within the next week or so.
Luckily, this time the credits were added, and I finally had all my 22 credits. While relieved, I began wondering how many other people had “fallen through the cracks” and may not even know. I vented to my roommate about it, who then proceeded to check her transcript only to discover that she too had not earned her credit for an AP class. Currently, she is going through the same process as I did.
This is a problem that seems to be swept under the carpet and not given as much attention as it deserves. The credits I fought for helped fulfill some of my general education requirements, which gives me more flexibility when choosing classes. No one is telling us to check our transcripts, because it is assumed that the school is taking care of it. Who knows how many credits are just never counted; hours of studying and hard work gone unrewarded. Just between my roommate and I, there was almost a semester’s worth. That’s not a crack, that’s a gaping hole.
I’ve mentioned the problem to several people, all of whom agreed it needed to be addressed, but seemed unmotivated to actually do anything. I even spoke to someone who tried to add their credits, but had so much trouble that she gave up. This should not be a problem that freshmen or any incoming students should face. However, if the administration really cannot account for all credits, advisors should encourage everyone to check for themselves, because the only problem bigger than lost credit is that students do not even know it is happening.
Marisa Nobs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org