Under recent changes to McGill’s “Advanced Standing Transfer Credits” policy, students with qualifying AP and IB test scores will now have the option to complete their degree with more than 120 credits. Previously, any transfer credits were required to count toward students’ degrees.
This change was pushed forth by Max Blumberg, U2 Science, who felt that the former policy punished incoming students for having taken advanced courses in high school.
The policy will be in effect beginning next semester, giving incoming and current students more freedom to plan their degree, according to Kathleen Massey, university registrar and executive director of enrolment services.
“[Students have] different reasons for wanting to stay longer—having the time to participate in an international exchange, completing specific courses at university necessary for admission to professional programs, and having time to explore their academic program options at McGill,” she said. “A compelling case was made and was supported by research about practices of some other universities.”
According to André Costopoulos, Dean of Students, financial reasons did not factor into the decision.
“More crowded classes [would occur, but] not necessarily more classes,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a huge factor, but it won’t reduce the problem nonetheless. Nobody knows how many more students will choose to stay.”
He also noted that the effects of the change would be minimal.
“I doubt there will be much of an impact because I think most people that wanted to stay before did so anyway and just accepted the consequences of the limit,” Costopoulos said.
Other options considered included raising the credit limit to 150 credits, and allowing students to receive exemptions for previous coursework without credit.
Blumberg objected both options due to the logistical difficulties behind them.
“Raising the limit to 150 allows students without advanced credits to stay for five years, [for] which McGill doesn’t have the physical capacity,” he said. “For the other option, the problem was professional schools typically only accept [advanced] credit towards fulfilling prerequisites if a student’s undergraduate school gave credit for those classes.”
While all student affairs and advising offices are aware of the revised policy, a public official notification for the change has not been issued. According to Costopoulos, the policy change is not expected to greatly impact the decision for prospective students, who normally choose to receive credits for previous coursework.
“The possibility to get the credits acts as a recruitment tool,” he said. “It makes McGill more attractive to incoming students. It’s later on [in their degree] that they realize they don’t want them. I’m not too sure if advertising this [policy change] to incoming students would make a difference.”