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Liberty University “You’re a First-Time College Student”

I write a LOT about the classification of students.  For financial aid and college applications, your teen is either a first-time freshman applicant or a transfer student.  It’s important that parents understand which type their teen is, but recently in another group a question was raised about how Liberty University handles admissions.

The rumor/question/concern posted in one of our HS4CC groups argued that Liberty did not follow the traditional method of classifying college credit earned during high school differently than college credit earned after high school.

The traditional method followed by regionally accredited colleges that participate in FAFSA to classify credit this way:

So far, I’ve never heard of a college stepping away from that protocol but never say never.  If *anyone* is going to do their own thing, it’s a private university (Liberty is a private university) but consider Liberty to be one of the “best 12” colleges to use for Homeschooling for College Credit, and I am really familiar with their practices, so I had to be sure.

Thankfully, I can report that Liberty University is 100% following traditional credit classification policy, and HS4CC parents have nothing to worry about!  If you’d like to follow up with Liberty, I’ve copied the email they sent me:

Registrar (
To: Jennifer Cook DeRosa
Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your email! Students who earned dual enrollment credit to fulfill their high school requirements are still considered first-time college students at Liberty. However, students who earned college credit after graduating from high are considered college transfer students. While both types of students transfer college credits, the difference is when they earned their credits (during or after graduating from high school).
Let us know if you have additional questions!
Student Service Center Counselor
Student Service Center(434) 592-5100




  1. Always seek to understand policies. College policies can be tricky, but they are learnable!  In this case, the family decided to attend a different college BECAUSE of the way this policy was explained to them or the way they understood it.
  2. See it in writing.  Colleges have layers upon layers of very heavily followed policies, so when you talk with someone, ask them to help you locate that policy or information in the college’s current catalog.
  3. Ask the right person.  Unfortunately, most of your questions will get routed to an admissions representative.  They work really hard to answer a lot of questions every day, so by default, 99% of the “wrong” information told to parents will inevitably come from an admissions representative!  If your question is nuanced in any way (which is often the case for HS4CC families) you’ll likely need to ask someone other than an admissions representative.
  4. Advocate for your student.  No one else will.  Colleges have only one goal, and that is to enroll every available slot for that year.  How it lands on paper (cost and credit transfer) is up to you to scrutinize.  Evaluate every single credit yourself, evaluate every single dollar charged.  I have never heard of a student whose credit evaluation or account was 100% accurate 100% of the time.  Errors should be expected, and if you can be there to help catch them, it makes a huge difference.


Keep reading about this topic…

Earlier this year I wrote a comprehensive post explaining the differences between a freshman applicant and a transfer applicant.  Furthermore, it helps you decide which one is the best type for your student’s situation.

College Freshman or a Transfer Student?

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