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Sophomore Transfers: Who Are They and What Support Do They Need?

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

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June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Two-year College Division: Authors Address Transfer Matters-Part II

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Two Year College Division

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26.1384.1 - 26.1384.14



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Mary R. Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University

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Mary Anderson-Rowland, Arizona State University
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 an Academic Success and Professional Development program, with an emphasis on 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 Schools of Engineering at ASU from 1993-2004. Anderson-Rowland was named a top 5% teacher in the Fulton Schools of Engineering for 2009-2010. She received the WEPAN President’s Award 2014, WEPAN’s 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. She has over 200 publications primarily in the areas of recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented minority engineering and computer science students. 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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Armando A. Rodriguez Arizona State University

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Prior to joining the ASU Electrical Engineering faculty in 1990, Dr. Armando A. Rodriguez worked at MIT, IBM, AT&T Bell Laboratories and Raytheon Missile Systems. He has also consulted for Eglin Air Force Base, Boeing Defense and Space Systems, Honeywell and NASA. He has published over 200 technical papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings – over 60 with students. He has authored three engineering texts on classical controls, linear systems, and multivariable control. Dr. Rodriguez has given over 70 invited presentations - 13 plenary - at international and national forums, conferences and corporations. Since 1994, he has directed an extensive engineering mentoring-research academic success and professional development (ASAP) program that has served over 500 students. These efforts have been supported by NSF STEP, S-STEM, and CSEM grants as well as industry. Dr. Rodriguez' research interests include: control of nonlinear distributed parameter, and sampled-data systems; modeling, simulation, animation, and real-time control (MoSART) of Flexible Autonomous Machines operating in an uncertain Environment (FAME); design and control of micro-air vehicles (MAVs), control of bio-economic systems, renewable resources, and sustainable development; control of semiconductor, (hypersonic) aerospace, robotic, and low power electronic systems. Recently, he has worked closely with NASA researchers on the design of scramjet-powered hypersonic vehicles. Dr. Rodriguez’ honors include: AT&T Bell Laboratories Fellowship; Boeing A.D. Welliver Fellowship; ASU Engineering Teaching Excellence Award; IEEE International Outstanding Advisor Award; White House Presidential Excellence Award for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; Ralf Yorque Memorial Best Paper Prize. Dr. Rodriguez has also served on various national technical committees and panels. He is currently serving on the following National Academies panels: Survivability and Lethality Analysis, Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Autonomous Systems. Dr. Rodriguez received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1990. Personal Web site:

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Sophomore Transfers: Who Are They and What Support Do They Need?AbstractDue to the increasing need for more engineers in the United States and given that less than 50%of the students who start out in an engineering degree actually complete it, retention has recentlydrawn a lot of attention and study. Over the past 10-20 years, an increased emphasis has beenplaced on supportive freshman programs as an answer to “weed-out courses”. As freshmanretention has increased, attention has turned to the next highest dropout point for engineering:from sophomore to junior. Sophomore retention programs are becoming popular. As the need formore engineers continues, another area which has received increased attention during this timeperiod is the strong recruitment of engineering students from community colleges. Althoughsome upper division transfer students are able to graduate in two years, many take three years ormore. Although classified as juniors, the students who need at least three more years are really“sophomore transfers”. Very little research has been done on sophomore transfers in engineering.Beginning in fall 2013, Arizona State University recognized this group of students and placed acohort of them in our lower division Academic Success and Professional Development class.This paper will discuss who “sophomore transfer” students are and explore the type of supportthat they need.I. IntroductionEngineering is famous for having freshman “weed out courses” where the professor tells thestudents at the beginning of the semester: “Look to the left of you. Look to the right of you. Onlyone of the three of you will survive this course.” A beginning freshman engineering student istoo valuable to lose as easily as this. Recent increased calls for more engineers by PresidentO’Bama1 have again fueled discussion and action for increasing the number of engineers. Duringthe past 10-20 years, there has been an increased emphasis on freshman engineering programs,since it was not uncommon in the past for 30-40% of engineering freshman students to notcontinue in engineering to their sophomore year. The American Society for EngineeringEducation (ASEE) has an entire division devoted to first-year programs. In the 2013 ASEEConference, there were at least 32 papers presented, with two workshops and one panel, inaddition to 11 poster session entries, all focused on freshman engineering programs. The topicsincluded retention, teamwork, design projects, putting fun in programming fundamentals, largeclasses, engineering math, and research.2 As a result of these programs, retention to thesophomore year has increased.Some engineering programs have a common curriculum for all freshmen and sophomore studentsand then have students choose their major beginning their junior year. Since engineering studentsmay not have identified with a particular engineering major or engineering field of interestduring the first two years, they may become interested in other fields and leave engineering bytheir junior year.This paper is focused on students who are both transfer students and sophomores, even thoughthey may be classified as upper division students. During the 2012-2013 academic year, 581students transferred into engineering and computer science in the Ira A. Fulton Schools ofEngineering at Arizona State University (ASU). Of this total, 458 were classified as upperdivision and 123 as lower division students. The numbers of new transfer students in fall 2013are shown in Table 1. Lower Division Upper Division Total Fall 2013 Female 22 51 73 (15.7%) New Engineering & CS Male Transfers 102 291 393 (84.3%) Totals 124 (26.6%) 342 (73.4%) 466 (100%)Table 1. Fall 2013 New Engineering and Computer Science Transfers by Division and Gender. 3We note that approximately one-fourth of the new transfer students are lower division students.For fall 2013 this means that these 124 students, in general, did not fit the classification offreshman or upper division. However, many of the students classified as upper division will needthree years or more to complete a Bachelor’s degree in engineering and so are reallysophomores.A very disturbing number is that only 15.7% of the new transfer students were female, which islower than the percentage of females (18%) in the college. One recent study found that femalesare retained in engineering as well as males.4 The primary reason there are so few women inengineering is that so few even start engineering. This study also found that engineering studentsdo not drop out at rates higher than other disciplines. The basic problems remain: betterrecruitment and retention are needed for the United States to have more engineers. We now lookat characteristics of sophomores, transfers, and then sophomore transfer students.II. The Sophomore SlumpThe second largest drop in the retention of engineering students typically occurs between thesophomore and junior years. Therefore it is not surprising that in recent years some attention hasturned to sophomore retention programs. “In response to the growing call to increase collegecompletion rates, many campus officials has turned their attention to the ‘sophomore slump’—aterm that broadly defines the somewhat-common and lackluster performance of a substantialportion of second-year college students.”5 As a consequence, Noel-Levitz produced a researchreport in 2013 based on a student survey given to 3,870 second-year college students at 28colleges and universities nationwide in 2012. A majority of the 66.5% response rate studentswere female. Although this survey was not focused on only engineering students, the generalfindings may give us some insight to students classified as sophomores. The primary findingsare: • Only three-quarters of the second-year student respondents from four-year private and public institutions were able to affirm that they “felt energized” by the ideas they were learning in most of their courses; • Only two-thirds of the respondents from two-year public institutions were able to affirm the statement, “I have many friends and feel at home here”; • Respondents across institution types reported relatively low satisfaction in areas such as their frequency of communication with academic advisor and the availability of work experiences associated with students’ career interests; • Only a slight majority (more males than females) of respondents across institution types indicated they had the financial resources they needed to finish college. Yet, on the upside, similar percentages of students indicated they were receptive to financial guidance.5Interestingly, 73% of the surveyed students agreed that they needed to study more than they didlast year. The study suggests that sophomores should not be assumed to have “successfullytransitioned” to college: as a cohort and as individuals they have distinctive needs andexperiences.3 In general, students also realized that they needed to seek tutoring and completetheir education programs. However, only 56% of the students in two-year institutions planned totransfer to another institution or were undecided. In particular the sophomores said that theyneeded more help with “financial assistance, interaction with academic advisors, and with theavailability of relevant service learning/internship opportunities”.5 The report notes thatcampuses are putting programs for second-year students into their strategic plans and laud theseefforts. However, another of their recent reports notes that “Programs designed specifically forsecond-year students” is one of the top two least used strategy and tactic.6 Noel-Levitzencourages such strategic plans to include all of the services available campus-wide to assistsophomores.5III. Transfer Students and SuccessSince more U.S. engineers are needed, additional attention has also recently been focused on thecommunity college (CC) and transfer students as a rich, largely untapped source for moreengineers.5 Since a high percentage of women and underrepresented minority students attendcommunity colleges, transfer students are also an excellent source for diversity in engineering.Although one might assume that transfer students already understand the academic system anddo not require special help, Noel-Levitz8 found that transfer students exhibit similar levels ofacademic confidence as second-year students. In addition, transfer students may suffer from“transfer shock”, a period of adjustment which results in a decrease in their GPA from a half to awhole grade point.8,9Less than 50-55% of all students who begin a major in engineering, graduate in engineering.10This percentage is not unlike other majors, but is especially important to note for engineeringsince the nation and our economy need more engineers. This graduation rate generally refers tothe retention of first-time, full-time freshman students to graduation. Typically, about 30% ofengineering students drop out after their first year and an additional 20% drop out after theirsophomore year. In addition, a recent study by Noel-Levitz showed that 70% of upper divisiontransfer students in all majors actually earn a Bachelor’s degree after transfer.8 The percentage ofupper division transfer students in engineering is suspected to be somewhat lower. At ASU thegraduation rate for upper division transfer students in engineering and computer science is 70%for males and 64% for females.3 Henceforth in this paper, the term “engineering” shall includeboth engineering and computer science if it relates to ASU.A recent book, “Completing College: Rethinking Institutional Action” by Vincent Tinto,11 detailsthe four conditions within college and universities that promote retention and graduation: 1. Expectations 2. Support (academic, social, and financial) 3. Assessment and feedback 4. InvolvementStudent retention is greatly influenced by clear expectations. Tinto points out that students needto know what to do and what level and quality of effort is expected to be successful. Theinstitution needs to have consistent and clear expectations for behavior and degree completion.Good advising and roadmaps (programs of study) and necessary. Students also need to knowwhat is expected of them in the classroom.11 The students then, of course, need to adopt theseexpectations as their own.Support always includes academic and social support and, sometimes, financial support. Mosttransfer students need financial support. At ASU, over 90% of transfer students need financialsupport. A major reason that most of the community college (CC) transfer students chose a CC isthe lower tuition and the proximity to home which saves on room and board. The CCs in Arizonacharge a tuition approximately 25% that of the state universities. Tinto lists the usual academicsupport that is important for students: basic skills, developmental, or remedial courses (usuallyfound at the CC); tutoring; study groups; supplemental instruction; and summer bridgeprograms.11 Support programs help students succeed, enhance self-efficacy, reduce stress, andincrease future success.11 Social support is also important, especially “those that influencestudents’ sense of belonging and membership in the social communities of the institution”.11 Peermentoring is an additional is a good social support.Assessment and feedback retention category. Assessment at entry, classroom assessment, andearly warning systems are effective with feedback to the student.11 Either academic or socialinvolvement can help a student to have a sense of belonging. In addition to student organizations,the classroom can be used to engage students, as well as learning communities and servicelearning.11Since 2002, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of engineering has had special scholarships and a successclass for upper division transfer students which closely follow the four requirements for retentionas listed by Tinto.12-15 Scholarships are the key to the success for the transfer students program.From 2002-2014, we have had National Science Foundation (NSF) CSEMS or S-STEM grants,the latest of which was award # 072869. A major purpose of the CSEMS and S-STEM grants isto provide scholarships to STEM students (in our case, engineering and computer sciencestudents). The minimum criteria for a scholarship is: US citizenship, permanent residency, orrefugee status; full-time student of at least junior status; minimum 3.0 GPA; and unmet financialneed as determined by FAFSA. Students are now awarded scholarships at the rate of $2K persemester ($3,250 per academic year which almost matched tuition in 2002) which covers about40% of full-time tuition. A condition of the program is that a scholarship student must attend theacademic success class each semester of the scholarship. The academic success class was at firsta seminar, but it was difficult to maintain good attendance and to have a good effort onassignments. We changed the seminar to a one-credit class and then changed it to a two-creditclass with buy-in from the students. The two-credit class does not count on a Program of Study,but the assigned grade does count in the student GPA.The Academic Success and Professional Development (ASAP) class assignments are alldesigned to have the student know and do the things that they need to do to be a successfulstudent including: a detailed time management schedule, the Guarantee 4.0 Plan,16 visits to theprofessors of their classes, a resume, an interest/research paper, a career planning paper including10 years past the Bachelor’s degree, and a portfolio. Class topics include how to interview andwork a career fair, understanding the different structures of companies, research, internships, andwhat graduate school is all about. The students are also given success tips and constantlyencouraged to do well and to aim for graduate school. If the students turn in satisfactoryassignments on time, they can earn an A+ in the course. Ten volunteer hours are also required.Hours for being either a mentor or a mentee count toward the 10 hours, as well as hostingpotential students who visit the Motivated Engineering Transfer Students (METS) Center, whichis the hub of the program. The transfer students who work in the Center act as informalconsultants to especially assist new transfer students. This center is visited by 300-400 studentsper semester, 70% of which are transfer students. Although many of our program graduates go toother graduate schools on scholarships or fellowships, a good number also continue at ASU andtake advantage of these two programs.Since 2009, we have had a second NSF funded program for transfer students that includesscholarships. The METSTEP program (award # 0856834) targets five non-metropolitancommunity colleges (CCs): Arizona Western, Central Arizona, Eastern Arizona, Cochise, andMohave. This program provides about 20 $4K scholarships per year for students from the fivetargeted CCs with the same minimum requirements as the scholarships previously described.ASU is in the center of a large local high tech environment with a large demand for engineerswith a graduate degree. One large local company expects that 50% of their hires will have agraduate degree. In order to meet this demand, both locally and nationally, and because webelieve the engineer with a graduate degree has a much larger opportunity to work in aninteresting area for which they have a passion, we encourage our transfer students from the timewe talk to them in their CC classroom to their graduation to consider going directly to graduateschool. The scholarship students continually hear about graduate school, must research whichgraduate schools would be best for them, and each year hear a panel of graduate students tellthem “what graduate school is really like”. Two programs also encourage our scholarshipstudents to pursue graduate school immediately. Our college has a “4 + 1” program for betterstudents which allows students to double-count two or three courses for their Bachelor’s andtheir Master’s degree, enabling students (with careful planning) to obtain a Master’s degree oneyear after receiving their Bachelor’s degree. We have also been fortunate to have in place from2002-2015, an NSF CSEMS or S-STEM grant (most recent award #1060226) which provides$2K scholarships for graduate school for four semesters to students who have graduated throughour undergraduate program.The METS transfer program has proved to be very successful. The transfer scholarship studentsare graduating at a 95% rate (compared with a 70% national rate of all majors and a 70% malerate and 64% female rate for upper division engineering transfer graduation rate at ASU). Inaddition, 50% of these scholarship transfer students go directly to graduate school aftergraduation. This rate is amazing when you realize that all of these students have unmet financialneed. In addition, the national rate for engineering graduates going directly to graduate school isestimated at about 20%. At ASU, about 11% of the graduated transfer students go right on tograduate school. From the feedback that we receive from students, a major reason fewer studentsgo to graduate school is that they have no idea how it can really help them in their career. Sincemore than 90% of CC transfer students have unmet financial need, it follows that most of themwant to get a good paying job as soon as possible. In addition, although a few transfer studentswho join our scholarship program know that they want to go to graduate school, most do not.Our research has shown us that 70% of the scholarship students who started the program with nointention to go to graduate school and who later went right to graduate school, did so due to theinfluence of the scholarship program.The required attendance in the ASAP class due to the scholarships is at the heart of this program.Noel-Levitz’s Report on college transfer students7 stated that the key to retain transfer students isthe same as that for native students: student success programs “based on the unique needs ofindividual transfer students and their unique cohorts”. The study goes on to say that “programsthat are required, rather than optional, are likely to benefit more students.” 7 To encouragetransfer students in addition to those awarded the $2K scholarships, we have provisions throughour S-STEM awards to give $300 scholarships (for a maximum of two semesters) to studentswho enroll in and earn an A in the Academic Success class. Although students declare that ifthey had known how much the course would help them, they would have taken it for free, somestudents admit that they only took the course initially because it offered the small scholarship.Some students without scholarships attend the course semester after semester because it helps toencourage them to do well in their studies.IV. Sophomore TransfersSome CC transfer students are upper division engineering students: they need only two moreyears to complete the work for a Bachelor’s degree. We have a considerable number of studentswho come as “sophomore transfers” into engineering. This can occur because enough credithours transfer to classify the student as a junior, but not all of these transfer hours count in anengineering Program of Study. Therefore in terms of an engineering Bachelor’s degree, thetransfer student is really a sophomore. Beginning in fall 2013, we recognized this group ofstudents and placed a group of them in our lower division ASAP class. In the past, these studentswere placed in an Academic Success class that included upper division native and transferstudents, as well as graduate students.In our work with community colleges over the last 11 years,12-15 we have always stressed that theCC student should stay at the CC as long as they can make progress in their engineering orcomputer science program. The reality is that in spite of this encouragement, some studentstransfer to a university and are really engineering sophomores with at least three years ofundergraduate engineering left to complete, even though the university may classify the studentas a junior. This is a matter of concern when the minimum qualification for a scholarship is thatthe student be qualified as an upper classman as an engineering major. An upper divisionengineering student should only take 2 to 2.5 years to graduate, however, “sophomore transfers”take three or more years. We have had a few of these students apply and be accepted into ourupper division scholarship programs in the past. However, recently we are encountering quite afew of these students. There are several problems with this situation. One problem is that insteadof committing a scholarship for two or two and a half years, the student may take three to fouryears to graduate. If that student then goes on to graduate school after earning the Bachelor’sdegree, the student may be in the program receiving scholarships for six years. Attending thesame type of class for that many years is not good for the student and is a challenge to theinstructor to continually change the program.How do these “sophomore transfers” develop? There are several paths. • The student may have earned an Associates Degree at a CC and therefore conclude that it is time to go to a university. This Associate Degree may be an Associate Arts degree and include very few of the lower division engineering courses required in a university. Even an Associate Degree in Science or Engineering may not include the complete lower division Program of Study required for a Bachelor’s degree at a university. • A student who wants to earn an Associate Degree at a CC may to take several general education credits that do not count toward an engineering program. • Many CCs do not offer all of the courses required in a lower division engineering program, so the transferring student necessarily has some courses to complete before they can be considered a junior. • Many CC students are not sure of their major at first, so are not necessarily taking only the courses that will count toward an engineering major. • This same pattern of taking courses that may not count in a Bachelor’s degree engineering program can also happen to students who transfer from another college or university.These students then include those who attended CCs or other colleges and universities that didnot have complete lower division engineering programs, but also student who may have earnedan Associate degree which did not include all of the lower division engineering courses. Thismay be due to the classes not being available at the CC or that the student decided rather late intheir time at the CC that they wanted to major in engineering. Through our research we havelearned that at least a third of the engineering CC transfers only decided on engineering as theirmajor after they were at the CC. This means that they may have been behind in theirmathematics and physics when they came to the CC.Because they are new transfers to the university, the sophomore transfers would normally haveapproximately the same “transfer characteristics” as an upper division transfer student. In a studydone in Fall 2012,120 of 133 transfer students in an ASAP class completed an on-line survey.15The students were asked what their expectations were before transferring to ASU and what weretheir realities. The top 10 realities for females were the same as for males except that males werenot “overwhelmed with classes/logistics” in their top 10.The females top 10 realities were:higher tuition, expensive parking, some very large classes, the university is large, the TransferCenter helped, a long commute, overwhelmed with classes/logistics, difficulty parking, pace ofclasses is much faster, and classes have more assigned homework. These 10 realities were eachselected by 50% or more of the 24 female respondents. Additional realities included: classes areharder than expected, hard to get into study groups, lonely (don’t know anyone in class), toomany credit hours/too much work, easy classes taken (upper division classes are harder), did notspend much time on campus, had a friend/mentor, transfer GPA may drop, all easy classes taken,hard to get to know professors, feel like a freshman, don’t know where the resources are, feellost, and worked too much to do well academically. In addition, there were five categories thatwere statistically more of a reality for females than for males: higher tuition, upper divisionclasses are harder, took too many credit hours to do well or due to work, all of the easynonengineering classes have already been taken, and being overwhelmed with classes andlogistics.10 These results indicate that female transfer students may have a more difficult timeadjusting to the transfer.There were also statistically significant differences between what the students expected and whatthey actually encountered in their transfer. For females, they overestimated that they would haveno friends and be all alone and underestimated that they would have more assigned homework.On the other hand they overestimated that their GPA would drop and that the pace of the classeswould be much faster. At the same time, the males also underestimated that they would findfriends. Other factors that they underestimated were more assigned homework, that theuniversity is large, and that the pace of classes is much faster. In these realities we clearly see theneed for academic and social support.V. How Can “Sophomore Transfers” Best Be Retained? Our experience with this program for over 8 years We will now analyze how well our upper division program (which includes graduate students) matches Tinto’s11 four points for good retention for sophomore transfer students.An area of our Academic Success program for upper division students that is equally appropriateis sophomore transfers is having high expectations and strong encouragement for the students.Since transfer students have a level of academic confidence similar to a native sophomore,7 1. The scholarship helps with the higher tuition cost and expensive parking. 2. The smaller meetings of the Academic Success class help to mitigate the large classes that the students may face. 3. As a part of the ASAP class assignments at both levels, the students must go and introduce themselves to their professor and make regular visits to make asking for help easier and as a way of learning about the professor’s research. The transfer center provides a “home away from home”, a place with familiar faces in the middle of a large campus. The students are encouraged to use the center for studying, study groups, networking, relaxing, and getting information from the students and Director who work in the center. 4. The transfer center provides a “home away from home”, a place with familiar faces in the middle of a large campus. The students are encouraged to use the center for studying, study groups, networking, relaxing, and getting information from the students and Director who work in the center. Since we have already tested this program for students from freshman through graduate students, we know that this program is necessary for good retention for sophomore transfer students. The academic stresses are assisted by the “Guaranteed 4.0 Plan” which is taught to the students since it is both time management and learning how to learn. 5. They are also warned that they cannot work as much and carry as many hours as they could at the CC. The students are encouraged to spread their class load over the week and to spend as much time on campus as possible.5. The students are encouraged to ask for help when they need it. If possible, take only onelab per semester, but certainly not more than two A question that remains is if transfers have theacademic confidence of a second-year student, do they also have other characteristics of the“slumping sophomore” that need to be addressed?Next we will interview and survey the “sophomore transfers” to learn more about their firstsemester experience and how their transfer expectations and realities compare with upperdivision transfers. From the feedback that we receive from students, a major reason fewerstudents go to graduate school is that they have no idea how it can really help them in theircareer. Since more than 90% of CC transfer students have unmet financial need, it follows thatmost of them want to get a good paying job as soon as possible.From the feedback that we receive from students, a major reason fewer students go to graduateschool is that they have no idea how it can really help them in their career. Since more than 90%of CC transfer students have unmet financial need, it follows that most of them want to get agood paying job as soon as possible.From the feedback that we receive from students, a major reason fewer students go to graduateschool is that they have no idea how it can really help them in their career. Since more than 90%of CC transfer students have unmet financial need, it follows that most of them want to get agood paying job as soon as possible.From the feedback that we receive from students, a major reason fewer students go to graduateschool is that they have no idea how it can really help them in their career. Since more than 90%of CC transfer students have unmet financial need, it follows that most of them want to get agood paying job as soon as possible.From the feedback that we receive from students, a major reason fewer students go to graduateschool is that they have no idea how it can really help them in their career. Since more than 90%of CC transfer students have unmet financial need, it follows that most of them want to get agood paying job as soon as possible.From the feedback that we receive from students, a major reason fewer students go to graduateschool is that they have no idea how it can really help them in their career. Since more than 90%of CC transfer students have unmet financial need, it follows that most of them want to get agood paying job as soon as possible.Since “sophomore transfer” students still have three or more years at a university, how can theybest be retained to graduation? We have run programs for upper division transfer students forover 10 years: do these programs work as well for “sophomore transfers”? What encouragementand support is the same as that needed for upper division students and what needs to be different?We will now analyze how well our upper division program (which includes graduate students)matches Tinto’s11 four points for good retention for sophomore transfer students.Expectations: An area of our Academic Success program for upper division students that isequally appropriate for sophomore transfers is having high expectations and strongencouragement for the students.Support: Tinto classified support in three categories: academic, social, and financial. By supportin these areas, we will include tools, skill building, and advice.In our Academic Success Program, the key to success is providing some financial supportthrough scholarships to the students. The scholarship helps with the higher tuition cost andexpensive parking. More importantly, as a part of the scholarship, the students must register foran Academic Success and Professional Development Program.Our program for upper division transfer students includes academic support primarily throughthe Guaranteed 4.0 Plan16 which includes detailed time management and a system to learn how tolearn. The plan is difficult to follow since it includes the requirement of 8 hours of sleep pernight, but the closer students follow the plan, the better they can do academically. The studentsare encouraged to get in a study group for each of their classes. This not only helps themacademically, but helps them get involved and provides social support. They are also warned thatthey cannot work as much and carry as many hours as they could at the CC. The students areencouraged to spread their class load over the week and to spend as much time on campus aspossible to avoid being a PCP (parking lot to class to parking lot) student. PCP students areusually very lonely. Students are advised that if possible, take only one lab per semester, butcertainly not more than two. Students are also warned about transfer shock and told experiencehas shown that the closer they can follow the 4.0 Plan, the less transfer shock they are likely toexperience.Social support is provided through the ASAP class and the METS Center. The AcademicSuccess class with over 100 students, meets at five different times for each program. In this wayeach meeting has only16-25 students in attendance, which allows for networking and discussionswith and between the students. The smaller meetings of the Academic Success class help tomitigate the large classes that the students may face. Not only are the students given advice, butquestions are answered, and students receive social support when they learn from their peers thatthey are not the only one with challenges in one or two classes. A discussion about the “impostersyndrome” is also very reassuring to students who thought that they really were not as “smart” asthe other students and that soon someone would discover this. The METS Center is run by aDirector, who is also an engineer and counselor, and successful transfer students who are alwaysavailable to help students and who provide strong social support. The transfer center provides a“home away from home”, a place with familiar faces in the middle of the largest single campusin the nation. The students are encouraged to use the center for studying, study groups,networking, relaxing, eating lunch, and getting information from the students and Director whowork in the center. The program PI and co-PI are also available to help students with problemsand questions they may encounter in their classes or outside of their classes. The students areencouraged to ask for help when they need it.Assessment and Feedback: Early assessment is made on the students when they apply for thescholarship and program. The students are given feedback on a tendency for new transferstudents to enroll for too many credits while working too many hours. The students are givenfeedback on their time management plans and all assignments designed to help them becomebetter students.Involvement: Since the ASAP class meetings are small, networking is encouraged throughintroductions and answering a question of the day. The students are further urged to becomeinvolved in two student organizations: one in their major and one such as the Society of HispanicEngineers (open to all students), the Society of Women Engineers, or an engineering fraternity.All students in their first or second semester at ASU are required as a part of the ASAP class tohave a more senior mentor from the class. This mentoring relationship must have a minimum ofthree meetings per semester, with at least one meeting face-to-face. The mentee is required tohave at least 3 questions prepared for each meeting. The time spent in this mentoring by both thementor and the mentee counts toward the 10 hours of volunteer time required by the ASAP class.As a part of the ASAP class assignments, the students must go and introduce themselves to theirprofessor and make regular visits to make asking for help easier and as a way of learning aboutthe professor’s research.Our experience with the 4.0 Plan for over eight years tells us that this program works equallywell for freshman through graduate students. Since we have already tested this program forstudents from freshman through graduate students, we know that the 4.0 Plan is necessary forgood retention for sophomore transfer students. However, the question remains, are sophomoretransfer students best served by being in a class with upper division students?For the Fall 2013 semester, we placed 12 “sophomore transfer” scholarship students in the lowerdivision ASAP class. The class of 25 also included freshmen and sophomore native students andmet a little more often. This class addressed the same main topics that the upper division ASAPclass did, but the upper division class was composed only of upper division undergraduates andgraduate students. Therefore the emphasis in this second class is more on graduate school andpreparing for after graduation. The topics of the lower division ASAP class include ways to helpstudents with the transfer realities.Since transfer students have the academic confidence of a second-year students, perhaps byplacing them with native sophomore students, they will feel more “normal”. It may also be thatbecause the sophomore transfer student is not as far into their engineering program, there may bemore doubt if engineering is the right major. We have found in our research that at least 30% ofthe transfer students only decided on engineering while at the CC. Therefore, sophomore transferstudents may need more of an emphasis on what engineers do and more of an effort to get thestudents to discover a “passion” for some area related to engineering.VI. Results and Future WorkWe know that the basic topics that we cover in both the lower division and the upper divisionASAP classes are very helpful to the students and follow Tinto’s four basic factors for retention.Over the past 10 years we have noted that now upper division transfer scholarship students aregraduating at a rate of 95%. In general, only 70% of upper division transfer students inengineering graduate, with a rate of 64% for females. In addition, close to 50% of them are goingon to graduate school. In general, about 11% of upper division transfer students go on tograduate school. Less than 25% of all engineering graduates are estimated to go right on tograduate school nationally.With one exception the twelve “sophomore transfers” cohort did well their first semester with anaverage GPA of 3.47, ranging from 2.86 to 3.90. Only two of the 11 students had a semesterGPA of less than 3.00. One student did not complete any assignments in the course, which isvery unusual. The average GPA of the11 new transfer students in the upper division ASAP classwas 3.54 with individual GPAs ranging from 2.06 to 4.00. Again, only two of the students had aGPA of less than 3.0. The other 9 students all had a GPA of 3.5 or better. Therefore,academically the two groups performed about the same.We believe that we are on the right track to separate the “sophomore transfers” from the upperdivision transfers in our ASAP class. A question that remains is if transfers in general have theacademic confidence of a second-year student, do they also have other characteristics of the“slumping sophomore” that need to be addressed? Next we will interview and survey the“sophomore transfers” to learn more about their first semester experience, how their transferexpectations and realities compare with upper division transfers, and to determine how closelythey behave like native sophomores.References 1. “Obama: ‘We don’t have enough engineers’”, , Downloaded 12/31/2012. 2. 3. Office of Institutional Studies, Arizona State University, obtained 01/06/14. 4. Venere, E., “Research Findings Contradict Myth of High Engineering Dropout Rate,” The Purdue News, August 4, 2009. 5. Noel-Levitz Research Report (2013). The Attitudes of Second-Year College Students, Noel-Levitz, LLC. 6. Noel-Levitz (2013). 2013 student retention and college completion practices report for four-year and twoyear institutions. Coralville, Iowa: Noel-Levitz, Retrieved from 7. Noel-Levitz Research Report (2013). The Attitudes and Motivations of College Transfer Student, NoelLevitz, LLC. Presentation at National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, 2/6/2014. 8. Keeley, E. & House, J. (1993). Transfer shock revisited: A longitudinal study of transfer academic performance. Northern Illinois University. 9. Anderson-Rowland, M.R. (2011). “Reducing GPA Shock for Engineering and Computer Science Community College Transfer Students,” 2011 American Society for Engineering and Education Proceedings, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 11 pages. 10. “50% of US Engineering Students Dropout – Why?” Don Dodge on the Next Big Thing –Thoughts on Business and Technology, Nov. 10, 2008. 11. Tinto, V. (2012), Completing college: rethinking institutional action. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London. 12. Anderson-Rowland, M.R., Banks, D.L., Zerby, D.L., and Chain, E.I. (2005). “METS Center: A Place Where Community College Transfer Students Encourage Each Other in Obtaining an Engineering Degree.” Proceedings of the 2005WEPAN/NAMEPA Joint Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, 11 pages. 13. Anderson-Rowland, M.R. (2008). “Community College Transfer Engineering Students: Does Gender Make a Difference?” Proceedings of the 2008 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, PA, 13 pages. 14. Anderson-Rowland, M.R. and Rodriguez, A.A. (2010). “Motivated Engineering Transfers – STEM Talent Expansion Program (METSTEP),” Proceedings of the 2010 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, KY, 12 pages. 15. Anderson-Rowland, M.R. (2013). “Expectations and Realities for Community College Engineering Transfers at a Large University,” 43rd ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Oklahoma City, OK, 7 pages. 16. Johnson, D.O. & Chen, Y.C. (2004). Guaranteed 4.0 Plan. DJYC Studio.

Anderson-Rowland, M. R., & Rodriguez, A. A. (2015, June), Sophomore Transfers: Who Are They and What Support Do They Need? Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24721

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