Transfer students : actions for success and perceptions of university support

For many students, transfer from a community college is an important step in the journey to earning a bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, research on the experiences of transfer students in their four-year institutions is limited. The purpose of this study is to explore community college transfer student experiences and to provide actionable research based knowledge that institutional leaders can use to improve academic outcomes. Primarily using the lens of engagement and paying special attention to both ethnicity and parental education, this study examined transfer student actions to be academically successful and perceptions of how the institution supports their success. The study utilized an online survey of transfer students who had completed their first year in a four-year institution. Statistical findings suggested that of particular importance to student success were their participation in class discussions which contributed to improved grade point averages, and experiences with on-campus activities which were associated with an increase in the number of units planned for the first semester of the second year. Narrative data revealed the importance of peer support in the transfer student experience. Further, data revealed that at the research institution, the process of course registration is problematic and needs to be revamped. This study supports and expands upon existing literature while highlighting the need for institutions to conduct their own studies to better understand their transfer student population.