Credit Banks: What They Are, and How They Can Help You
Credit banks are programs that compile all your past college and other courses, scores of any professional or educational tests you’ve taken, and your employment record, and assemble them into a single, organized transcript. This transcript is useful in applying for college—and can be much more effective than contacting numerous different schools and asking for individual transcripts.
This service is especially useful for nontraditional students. It provides a clear, at-a-glance description of the student’s existing college achievements and career expertise that’s easy for admissions officers and hiring managers to read and understand.
Ideal candidates for credit banks also include those who have earned numerous credits through specific tests such as the AP or CLEP test, those who have extensive learning or professional experience outside of academia, members of the military, or those who have attended multiple colleges without yet earning a degree.
In addition, credit bank transcripts are important for those who need to easily document their credits for professional reasons—such as teachers, who must maintain a certain number of continuing education credits per year. These transcripts give people an easy way to assemble and offer their credits, experiences, exams, and certifications in a single, easy-to-digest format.
Different credit banks have different rules about what exactly constitutes a “credit”—and, since many credit banks are sponsored by colleges, this policy often follows the individual school’s standards. Some credit banks will only give legitimacy to credits from regionally accredited schools, and many banks tend to be conservative in keeping with the requirements of their sponsor schools. However, other banks are more relaxed when it comes to defining credits.
Depending on the credit bank, it is possible to earn credit for certifications and licenses, specialized training for a certain field, hands-on learning or training, professional or relevant examinations, and work experience. Some credit banks will display certain qualifications and experience in a non-credit section on the transcript even if they will not display them as earned credit.
Most credit banks are sponsored by schools, and can be found by discussing it with an academic advisor at your school. You do not have to be enrolled in a specific school to use its credit bank, but it is a good idea to make sure the bank is sponsored by a legitimate university or college.
Some colleges charge a fee for people who want to use their credit bank services; others offer the service free of charge, particularly to existing students. Some colleges will allow you to apply the amount you were charged for the credit bank transcript toward your tuition at the school.
Is a credit bank right for you? It depends on what you plan to do with it. Most colleges do not ask for credit bank transcripts as part of their admissions process; check with individual schools if you’re planning to use yours in your admissions packet to find out if it will be accepted.
Other scenarios in which a credit bank transcript might be useful include job applications, those interested in earning certifications for professional advancement, foreign students who need to get an education, certification, or employment in the United States, and those interested in justifying a request for a promotion, among other ideas.
A credit bank can be particularly useful for those who have a professional or academic history that is not readily understood by employers or academic advisors—such as foreign students and members of the military. The credit bank can help you provide a clear picture of your skills, background, qualifications, and credits from a traditional or accredited online college-without numerous transcripts or complex documentation.
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