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Title:Timing is Everything: A Comparative Study of the Adjustment Process of Fall and Mid-Year Community College Transfer Students at a Public Four-Year University
Author(s):Peska, Scott F.
Director of Research:Bragg, Debra D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bragg, Debra D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Loeb, Jane; Watkins, Ruth V.; Cain, Timothy R.; Richie, Deborah
Department / Program:Ed Organization and Leadership
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Transfer student
Transfer student adjustment
community college transfer student
mid-year transfer
spring transfer
mixed-method study of transfer student adjustment
Abstract:Many four-year institutions accept community college transfer students at mid-year (i.e., second semester) to recuperate declines in fall semester enrollments (Britt & Hirt, 1999). Students entering mid-year may face unique challenges adjusting and find that the institutional support to assist in their adjustment that is available to students entering in the fall is missing in the spring. This comparative study aimed to explore and explain adjustment of community college transfer students who began in the fall and mid-year terms at a large, public, Midwestern, four-year university. Similar to others, this university admits nearly one in four of its community college transfer students in the spring semester (institutional data, 2006). Tinto (1993) regards the adjustment process as the first step of students becoming integrated in the university community and integration is known as a predictor positively associated with student persistence. Prior research indicates that students experience difficulty adjusting after transferring, which can influence their persistence and success (Laanan, 2001). Responses from 373 community college transfer students indicated that the adjustment to the research site produced several significant relationships between adjustment and the term transferred. Of most interest, mid-year students were less aware of institutional resources to aid in the transition and experienced a more difficult social adjustment, particularly because they did not attend or find campus activities they attended as helpful. To gain further insight additional data were collected from small group interviews and open-ended responses on the survey, which produced 569 statements that were cluster coded (Miles & Huberman, 1994) into 32 clusters of the three primary categories of adjustment (social, academic, and personal).. These data suggested there were distinct differences largely in the social and personal adjustment categories between fall and mid-year transfer students. A cluster that emerged was term of entry, indicating mid-year transfer students did perceive their adjustment as harder than experienced by students who started in the fall. This study contributes to the literature on community college transfer student adjustment and increases awareness about how time of transfer influences that adjustment process.
Issue Date:2010-01-06
Rights Information:Copyright 2009 Scott F. Peska
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-01-06
Date Deposited:2009-12

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