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Wednesday, June 17 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
POSTER.13 - Easing the shock: Improving first generation transfer student success in their transition to a 4-year institution

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Community college transfer students are a rapidly growing subset of the student population at research institutions. In spite of their growing numbers, strategies to support their adjustment at the university level have largely been neglected. Difficulty with academic, social and psychological adjustment (Laanan, 2004) to the university take a toll on transfer students’ academic performance resulting in a GPA drop in the first year (termed “transfer shock”;Hills, 1965). This phenomenon is exacerbated for students in STEM majors, traditionally underrepresented minorities (URM) and first generation students. Transfer shock puts transfer students at a disadvantage in their future academic endeavors because their resulting graduation GPA may not be highly competitive. Most studies on the community college post-transfer experience have concentrated on understanding and measuring students' difficulty at the new institution, but little is known about the systematic implementation of interventions to facilitate the adjustment process and reduce the transfer shock.

We will present the preliminary results of a longitudinal randomized control study, which examines the effect of an intervention designed to reduce transfer shock for 67 URM and/or first generation STEM transfer students at a large four-year university. The intervention implemented a model that combines a two-week research intensive, seminars, and peer mentoring. The program is designed to improve academic motivation and identity, resulting in improvements in students’ academic achievement. We will present the findings on the impact of the program on students’ first and second quarter GPA, as well as academic/psychological adjustment measures.

Laanan, F. S. (2004). Studying transfer students: Part I: Instrument design and implications. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 28(4), 331-351.

Hills, John R. "Transfer shock: The academic performance of the junior college transfer." The Journal of Experimental Educational (1965): 201-215.

Wednesday June 17, 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm PDT
Bayshore Foyer

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