Expanded equivalency request process gives students more options

University of Wisconsin–Madison students now have more flexibility when reviewing how courses at other institutions may transfer to the University.

At the beginning of March, the Office of the Registrar’s Credit Evaluation Services team rolled out a new process for current students seeking pre-evaluations for courses they plan to take at other U.S. institutions. Instead of being limited to receiving equivalents for summer and winter term courses only – as was the case with the since-retired Course Equivalency Service – students can now have these courses reviewed year-round and for all terms.

The redesign was needed for multiple reasons. Students needed to be able to request new equivalents for more than just three months out of the year, especially given a policy update in the College of Letters & Science that lets UW–Madison students concurrently enroll in classes at other institutions without special permission. The removal of that barrier at the beginning of 2023 made it even more important for a student to be able to request an equivalent review regardless of when they intend to take a course.

Meanwhile, the CES team has experienced a nearly 50% increase in requests for each service period over the past couple of years, making it difficult to keep up with the volume of communications the previous process required.

After gathering data on the previous service and feedback from campus partners, the CES team paused the Course Equivalency Service and took the winter of 2023 to think about how best to redesign the process to better meet the needs of the campus community. What launched in March is the first phase of the revision; in the near future, the CES team will be working in partnership with the RO’s Application Development and Technical Services team to redesign the way requests come in and are routed.

Ultimately, the goal of the next phase is to land on a process that will allow for a more streamlined submission of the form and internal workflow. It will also create an internal dashboard allowing the CES team to more easily capture data on the number and types of requests they are receiving than what was possible with the retired Course Equivalency Service.

Although internal revisions are ongoing, the student experience will remain largely the same. Students will continue to use the public transfer credit database Transferology to search for course equivalents. If a course shows up as a “maybe” – meaning the CES team and the applicable UW–Madison department(s) have not evaluated it – the student can request the curriculum be reviewed to determine if and how it will transfer. Once a determination has been made, the equivalent will appear in Transferology for the student who submitted the request and others who want to take the same course. For courses that already have matches on Transferology, the intention for current students is to honor the equivalent that was visible when the student enrolled for that course.

A new page on the RO’s website explains the changes in further detail.