June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Two Year College Division
15.553.1 - 15.553.17
Experiences of Engineering Transfer Students: From Community College to University
Research on students who transfer from community colleges into engineering majors is limited. The National Science Foundation funds millions of dollars to community colleges to build inter- institutional linkages to create seamless transition for women and minorities to pursue STEM majors. The purpose of this mixed-method study is to understand students’ community college academic preparation and their subsequent academic experiences as transfer students in engineering majors at a research university in the Midwest. Using data collected from the Transfer Students’ Questionnaire (TSQ), this study links survey data to students’ academic transcripts from the Office of the Registrar. The TSQ instrument measures student demographic characteristics, community college experiences, and four-year experiences. The community college variables include engagement with coursework, faculty interaction, and skill development. The four-year component measures academic and social engagement, adjustment issues, and level of satisfaction.
In addition to the quantitative data, a qualitative component will provide rich, in-depth descriptions of student experiences. Specifically, this component of the analysis will illuminate the experiences of students; how they describe the role of community colleges in preparing them for the academic rigor and transferring into an engineering major. Findings will also address how students describe the factors that facilitate their success as engineering students. The goal of the study is to contribute to the research literature about the relationship between students’ community college academic preparation and their subsequent experiences at the four-year university. The authors discuss implications for practice, policy and research.
Introduction and background
American community colleges enroll nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates and half of all first-time freshmen each fall.6 As part of their comprehensive mission, these two-year institutions play an important role in providing the academic preparation necessary for students who aspire to transfer to a four-year college or university. Arguable, the “transfer function” serves as a critical point of entry toward the baccalaureate for a growing number of students.9 Findings from a recent study of the transfer behavior of community college students in Cornwull indicated that among students who were awarded their associate in arts (AA) degree in fiscal year (FY) 2002, 67 percent had transferred to a four-year institution within three years.9 Cornwull’s Regent Universities enrolled one-half to nearly three-fifths (50%-60%) of these 2002 AA awarded recipients. Of particular interest in fall 2006, Cornwull University enrolled more Cornwull community college transfer students than any other four-year institution in Cornwull.3
Community college students who transfer to four-year colleges and universities tend to be faced with a plethora of new changes. Early studies of students identified the phenomenon of “transfer shock” as one of such challenges.4 Transfer shock was defined and measured by the drop in
Laanan, F. S., & Jackson, D., & Darrow, M. (2010, June), Experiences Of Engineering Transfer Students: From Community College To University Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16282
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