Transfer shock: A study of community college transfer students during their first semester of transfer to a private four -year university

2001 2001

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Abstract (summary)

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how community college transfer students experience both the transfer process and what has come to be known as the phenomenon of transfer shock, or the drop in grade point average from community college to the completion of the first semester of transfer to a four-year college. In order to examine this process, including the underlying cause of the grade point drop, seven participants were followed as they were experiencing their first semester at a private four-year university, prior to the possible occurrence of a grade point drop.

This study was conducted using qualitative research methods, including documentary data collection, face-to-face interviews, telephone and group interviews, questionnaires, and computer-mediated communication, i.e., e-mail and chat room. Although not required for participation in the study, the participants were given the opportunity to communicate with the researcher via e-mail, as well as face-to-face interviews. Unexpectedly, computer-mediated communication emerged as an important qualitative research tool and is discussed and analyzed in the results. However, an on-campus chat room, also set up for the participants, met with little success.

Data analysis revealed that while the majority of participants had positive experiences at their community colleges, transfer and adjustment to the private four-year university culture was not as smooth. The most significant difficulties were social and classroom cliques and unfamiliarity or inability to understand the university policies and procedures. Two major themes emerged in the pre- and post-transfer lives of these students. The first theme, The Student Body, represented the physical (re)location, physical appearance, and planned and unplanned physical alteration issues that emerged during the transfer experience. The second theme, Breaking the Codes, described the difficulty in gaining entry to social and classroom cliques, as well as understanding the new university's academic requirements, faculty requirements, registration, advisement and financial aid policies and procedures.

Recommendations for facilitating the transfer experience are proposed for community college transfer students, high school teachers, and administrators, faculty and staff at community colleges and four-year institutions.

Indexing (details)

Higher education;
Community colleges;
Educational software
0745: Higher education
0275: Community colleges
0710: Educational software
Identifier / keyword
Education; Community college; Four-year university; Private education; Transfer students
Transfer shock: A study of community college transfer students during their first semester of transfer to a private four -year university
Green, Patricia Evelyn
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 62/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780493182001, 0493182004
Brieschke, Patricia
Hofstra University
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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