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Community College Transfer Students: Does Gender Make A Difference?

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session


Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.305.1 - 13.305.15



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Paper Authors

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Mary Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Community College Transfer Engineering Students: Does Gender Make a Difference?


In many universities, little attention is paid to transfer students, especially community college transfer students. Although some students choose to go to a community college because they are not academically qualified to go to a four year college or university, many choose a community college because of the lower tuition, the proximity to their home, the uncertainty of major, or other reasons. Some students only decide on engineering as a major after they have attended a community college.

This study looks at gender and transfer students who transferred into engineering at a large university. Is there a difference by gender in the reasons decisions are made by students to go to a two-year school after high school, to choose a major in engineering or computer science, to choose to attend graduate school, and ultimately to choose a career? This study, conducted by survey, also examines the encouragers and discouragers felt by the transfer students by gender when they first transferred. Other aspects examined relative to gender are the number of hours worked while at the community college, how many hours per week worked now, student age, and family responsibilities.

The college students in this study are all in an academic scholarship program designed for transfer students. The paper reports which aspects of the transfer program the students identified as the most helpful for their academic success. In addition, this study looks at the gender differences in the students’ evaluations of the academic scholarship program.

I. Background

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), with over 200,000 students and comprised of ten independent colleges, is one of the largest community college systems in the United States. For many years, each fall some 300 or more of these students transfer to Arizona State University (ASU) to major in engineering or computer science. In Fall 2003, an academic scholarship program for transfer students was begun in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU called the Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research Community/Maricopa Engineering Transition Scholars (CIRC/METS) Program. Sponsored by a National Science Foundation (NSF) CSEMS Grant # 0324212, this program for transfer students expanded a program begun the year before by a general CSEMS NSF grant #0123146. At the same time, meetings were held between School of Engineering representatives and representatives from five of the MCCCD colleges to begin a dialogue on how to better work together to nurture transfer students in engineering and computer science, especially women and underrepresented minority students. This nurturing included encouraging students while still at the community college, assisting and supporting students during the transfer process, and supporting and encouraging transfer students after their transfer to ASU. Before Fall 2003, no special programs had existed for transfer students in engineering and computer science at ASU. Funding was obtained from NSF Grant # 0315817 to begin a Maricopa Engineering Transition Scholars (METS) Program and space was

Anderson-Rowland, M. (2008, June), Community College Transfer Students: Does Gender Make A Difference? Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4386

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