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Reducing GPA shock for Engineering and Computer Science Community College Transfer Students

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Two Year-to-Four Year Transfer Topics Part II

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1228.1 - 22.1228.12



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Paper Authors


Mary R. Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University

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Mary R. Anderson-Rowland is the PI of an NSF STEP grant to work with five non-metropolitan community colleges to produce more engineers, especially female and underrepresented minority engineers. She also directs three academic scholarship programs, including one for transfer students. An Associate Professor in Computing, Informatics, and Systems Design Engineering, she was the Associate Dean of Student affairs in the Ira a. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU from 1993 - 2004. She was named a top 5% engineering teacher for 2009 - 2010. She received the WEPAN Engineering Educator Award 2009, ASEE Minorities Award 2006, the SHPE Educator of the Year 2005, and the National Engineering Award in 2003, the highest honor given by AAES. In 2002, she was named the Distinguished Engineering Educator by the Society of Women Engineers. Her awards are based on her mentoring of students, especially women and underrepresented minority students, and her research in the areas of recruitment and retention. A SWE and ASEE Fellow, she is a frequent speaker on career opportunities and diversity in engineering.

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Reducing GPA Shock For Engineering and Computer Science Community College Transfer StudentsDue to tougher economic times, more students are choosing the community college as astart for their college career. This also means that more community college students arebeing encouraged to transfer to four-year institutions in engineering and computerscience to help meet the critical shortage of engineers in the United States. While thereare many adjustments the new transfer student must face, one of the more difficult ones is“GPA shock”. While a community college student may have developed a very solidGPA, when the student transfers to a four-year institution, the GPA starts all over at 0.0.While this phenomenon is disappointing in itself, other factors come to play which maymake the transfer student suffer severe “GPA shock”. The new transfer student facesmany new obstacles and situations that can contribute to a poor academic performance,especially the first semester or year, and a shockingly lower, perhaps a whole grade pointlower, GPA than that accumulated at the community college.This paper will detail these obstacles which may include tougher course work, longerhomework assignments, longer driving times to attend school, less contact withprofessors, large classes, and a lack of knowledge of resources (including free tutoring,information on Blackboard, or tutorials that are readily available). An academicscholarship program success workshop solution to reduce this possible GPA shock willbe presented. A key component of this workshop is the Guaranteed 4.0 Learning Systemdeveloped by Donna O. Johnson. Along with this system, the students learn tips andhelps from other students for making the system work. A comparison of the GPA shockfor new engineering and computer science transfer students in this academic scholarshipprogram will be made with new transfer students not in the program by comparing theircommunity college GPA with their first semester four-year institution GPA.

Anderson-Rowland, M. R. (2011, June), Reducing GPA shock for Engineering and Computer Science Community College Transfer Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18946

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