Representing a larger percentage of the undergraduate population on campus across the U.S, coupled with a predicted decline in the "typical" college-going population of 18-year-olds, transfer students will play an increasingly critical role in the national completion agenda. This study examines the complexity of the transfer student experience as it relates to their transition to a small, private four-year institution and persistence to bachelor's degree completion. Specifically, the goal of the study is to discover factors that facilitate success from transfer students' arrival to graduation and determine the applicability of several prominent models of student success and persistence to transfer students' experiences (Bean, 1980; Braxton, Hirschy, & McClendon, 2004; Tinto, 1975, 1987). 48 transfer students were interviewed shortly after their arrival or after several semesters of enrollment at one four-year university. Using grounded theory for data collection and analysis, the findings suggest that the most salient factors for successful transfer student transition are early and effective preparation, and strong self-advocacy and utilization of faculty and staff resources to help them navigate their new university environment. The findings also suggest that transfer students' personal motivation and prioritization of education and learning over other obligations foster persistence to degree completion. This study provides a better understanding of the lived experiences of transfer students and evidence that existing models of student success and persistence require revision to consider this prominent undergraduate student population.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2014. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Karen Seashore. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 191 pages, appendices A-M.
Gray, Monita Mohammadian.
Paving the path to graduation: salient factors for successful transition and persistence of transfer students at a four-year institution.
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